It takes more than just food, water and a home to keep your cat healthy and happy. It also requires exercise and mental stimulation. From the time they are kittens to the time they are considered senior felines, cats need toys! Especially now that it is wise to keep your cats indoors, play and interaction with people have become far more important.

KEEP THEM MOVING! With pet obesity at an all time high, active play is crucial. Keeping them active will help prevent health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And like people, cats that have adequate mental stimulation throughout their lives, have a better chance of avoiding the onset of cognitive dysfunction disorder, i.e., dementia. Toys that encourage your cat to run and jump are appropriate for active play. This type of toy helps release a cat’s natural aggression and can provide an outlet for their instinctive prey-chasing behavior. Two favorites in my household are the Neko Flies wand toy and the Catbox. The wand is very different than the many others I've purchased. The bug attachments look very life like, come in several varities of bug and can help your indoor kitty feel like they are outside. The CatBox  allows them to use their natural hunting instincts to dig for their hidden toys. You may even be left a "gift" just like they would do if they were outside cats.

Cats can tire of the same toys so its a good idea to have several different toys on hand that you can rotate out. This way they will always have "new" toys to play with.

Trying to find time in your hectic schedule for two 15-minute play sessions a day may be tough but once you integrate them in, it will just become part of your day.  Playtime will not only help ward off health issues down the line, its a nice time for you to bond with your pet. 

SAFETY IS ALWAYS A FIRST CONCERN, any item that can be ingested must be avoided, such as: string, ribbon, yarn, rubber bands, plastic milk jug rings, paper clips, pins, needles and dental floss. Even feathers on store bought cat items are undesirable, unless used with supervision. Basic rule of thumb – if you wouldn’t give it to a child three years of age or younger, then don’t give it to your cat.

**Excerpts from this article are taken from an article originally published on by Cindy Thibault**