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Keep Cat Toys Special

Your cat may have dozens of toys strewn all around the house or maybe they're piled high in a toy basket in the corner. Even though you may want your cat to have loads of toys available, you don't need to break the bank into order to be well-stocked, in fact, you can get by with just a few toys if you know how to strategically optimize them. Sound complicated? Don't worry, it's very easy.

Two Types of Toys

There are interactive toys and solo toys. The interactive toys are typically based on a fishing pole design or they may have a wand with a long piece of fabric on the end. These toys require the owner's participation to provide movement. Solo toys are the typical fuzzy mice, squeaky balls, puzzle feeders, milk jug rings and other small play objects that the cat usually bats around on her own.

Keep Interactive Toys Special

First of all, for safety reasons, the fishing pole toys should never be left out because the cat could chew on the strings or get tangled up in them. In addition to the safety factor, you also want to keep them put away in-between play sessions in order to maximize their appeal. If the cat knows her time with them is limited, they will be much more enticing. When an interactive toy is special to the cat, it gives you the added opportunity to use that play session for not only fun, but for behavior modification as well. Through an interactive play session you can help diffuse tension in a multicat home, redirect a cat away from an unwanted behavior, ease boredom, provide much needed environmental stimulation and so much more.

Keep Solo Toys Special

Instead of having 50 toys scattered around the house or stacked up in a basket, rotate a few toys on a regular basis. Put out about six or seven toys for a week and then alternate a few of them with other toys from your cat's collection. Toy rotation can make them appear "new" again to kitty.

Placement is also important in keeping toys special. Instead of tossing a few toys out into the center of the room, strategically place them where they will spark your cat's play drive. Place a fuzzy mouse on the edge of a cat perch with its tail dangling over the side. Put a crinkly ball inside an open paper bag or in an empty tissue box. Put a straw on the kitchen floor where it'll be easy to bat around whenever the cat comes in to get a drink from his water bowl. Fill some puzzle feeders and place them around your cat's play area.

Timing Matters

For interactive toys, try to do a play session with your cat at least once a day. If you can squeeze in two play sessions a day, your cat will love it! Your cat will benefit from the consistency and she'll look forward to these opportunities for stimulation, exploration and reward. For solo toys, rotate on a weekly basis but be sure to move the ones that are currently out on a daily basis to main the fun factor.

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About Pam Johnson-Bennett

Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and best-selling author of seven books on cat behavior and training. Pam is one of the most well-known experts on cats and a pioneer in the field of behavior consulting. Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, LLC, a veterinarian-referred behavior practice in Nashville, TN. Her website is www.catbehaviorassociates.com.

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