Cats that live indoor lifestyles can benefit from the growing variety of interactive cat toys designed to keep them engaged and boost both their mental and physical activity. Many are designed to keep pet owners engaged with their cats, too.
Consequently, pet specialty retailers have lots to choose from to keep consumers coming back for more.
Ellen Tsuyuki is the owner of Nekochan and the product designer of the Nekoflies cat wand toys, which offer seven interchangeable bug toys.
“Cat owners often buy more than one toy to keep their cats engaged,” Tsuyuki said. “They are all popular; we don’t have a runaway favorite. I think giving [cats] a choice to hunt critters and bugs that are crawling or flying gives their owners more options for their cat’s play enrichment.”
According to Maureen Avant, manager of Kriser’s downtown Denver location, the Nekoflies wands and accessories are perennially popular with her cat-owning customers.
“My customers love that they are brightly colored, have different textures and shapes, and are interchangeable,” Avant said. “I’ve had customers tell me these toys allow them to play with their cat while doing other activities such as reading a book. Also, they have the option to place the wand at a slightly elevated position so the cat can play alone. One customer says their cat drags the wand around all day. She prefers one particular attachment to the rest and actually sleeps with the toy.”
Electronic and Programmable
PetSafe recently added three new electronic toys to its popular Frolicat toy line that can be programed for play throughout the day and keep cats busy, especially when they are home alone.
Added to the lineup are the FroliCat Fox Den, the FroliCat Rolorat and the FroliCat Multi Laser, featuring two lasers for cats to chase. All have a variety of play modes to keep the action going throughout the day.
“They have been specifically designed for cats that spend long hours home alone,” said Toni Mark, training and behavior education specialist for the company. “Anyone who has ever seen a
cat on duty outside a hole in a skirting board into which a mouse has scurried will understand that the Fox Den replicates a cat’s modus operandi waiting to pounce when the fury tail in the toy suddenly appears in random movements.”
The Fox Den has several play modes that can be pre-set to play for 10 minutes and then turn off. During play all day mode, the toy will play every two hours, three times, for 10 minutes each. In between automatic play sessions, when the toy is resting, the motion sensor detects nearby motion within several feet and turns on automatically. If no motion is detected, the toy will rest until the next automatic play session or motion is detected again.
The third new toy, the RoloRat, has crazy red eyes and a long tail that whips around while making fun sounds to let cats know it’s on the move.
The Mix & Scratch from Petstages are corrugated play stations in different shapes offering cats different activities. They clip together to create a fun interactive play board.
“The corrugated areas have been catnip-infused and are designed to work with small balls and other toys that can be fitted into the cut-out sections and groves,” explained Michael Parness, chief marketing officer for Outward Hound, which now owns the brand. “Rearranging the squares of individual games will keep cats intrigued and engaged.”
Robots and Mice
Hexbugs, manufactured by Innovation First International, are nano robotic cat toys that can navigate around objects, get out of tight corners and flip over from its back to its feet in an attempt to escape a feline captor.
The toys are popular children’s toys and recently crossed over into the pet space. They are available in a variety of bright colors and designs for cats to enjoy on their own or together with children in the household.
Hexbugs caught the attention of America’s Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker at the recent Global Pet Expo. Becker named it a product he deemed suitable to engage cats when visiting the vet’s office in an attempt to make the visit “fear free.” Because of their size, the Hexbugs are ideal to place near the register and sell as an impulse buy.
Another product that attracted Dr. Becker’s attention for interactive feline play was the Mouse in Pouch toy from OurPets that has patented RealMouse sound that mimics a wild mouse.
“The unpredictable pattern the mouse scurries inside the pouch is designed to stimulate a cat’s hunting instincts,” explained Rachelle Rabasi, director of marketing for the company. “Cats can also play with the mouse outside of the pouch.”
The company has also added a variety of other new electronic interactive cat toys to its product line. Apart from the Mouse in Pouch, the Bird In The Cage, which features the realistic movements and chirping sound of a small bird, is also destined to be popular with felines.