Best Toys for Older, Senior Cats
One of the toys I highly recommend is the Turbo Scratcher. This is a ball and tract toy that has a cardboard scratcher in the center. The scratcher is surrounded by an open channel containing a ping pong ball. The open channel is appealing because cats can touch, feel and knock the ping pong ball around. An especially industrious cat can fling it out with a little bit of effort. The Turbo Scratcher can also double as a place to hide treats for the cat. I like dual purpose toys.
The Yeoww Banana is a yellow canvas banana filled with catnip. Cats who are partial to catnip enjoy chewing, sliming and mauling it. I find that many cats who are not affected by catnip also enjoy playing with the Yeoww Banana. The cat-appeal may be the texture and shape of the toy. The toy is perfect for carrying, tossing and mauling.
Ping pong balls double as great cat toys and they are inexpensive. Place the ping pong ball in a large shallow bowl, with or without water or roll it on the floor for the cat to bat around. Dipping the ping pong ball in a spice/sodium-free meat broth can inspire indifferent cats into action and play.
As cats age, mental and physical stimulation can help prevent cognitive decline. Puzzle toys stimulate cats to devise ways to find treats that are hidden in the toys. There are quite a few puzzle feeders on the market. One of my favorites is the Nina Ottosson Dog Tornado. The Dog Tornado was developed originally for dogs, but cats love it too. Three plastic dog bones, each containing areas to hide healthy treats or dry food in sit on top of each other, secured with a pin in the center so that each bone spins independently. In order for the cat to reach the hidden treats she has to spin the bones. A couple of other favorite puzzle toys developed by Nina Ottosson are the Plastic Dog Brick and the Dog Spinney.
The Peek-a-Prize Toy Box is another puzzle box older cats often spend hours enjoying. This is a square, wooden box with different shaped holes on the top and sides. Healthy treats, dry food and toys are placed inside the box for the cats to poke and prod and finally catch.
There are many appealing cat toys commercially available. You can also make your own. The priority when choosing or making cat toys is safety. Search for cat toys that can’t be swallowed and do not have pieces that can be bitten off and ingested, nor should they have sharp edges that can cut. Although safety is important, find toys that are both mentally and physically stimulating to your senior cat.