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Toys That Engage, Inspire, Comfort

Stacy Mantle//January 8, 2014//

Toys That Engage, Inspire, Comfort

Stacy Mantle //January 8, 2014//

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Whether they’re stalking, pouncing, chasing or climbing, playtime is very important to the physical, mental and emotional development of cats.

But not all cats respond to the same stimuli and most cats require a variety of toys to keep them fully engaged. This need for variety makes cat toys a great investment for a retail store.

Catit has built a reputation on designing fun, exciting toys that keep cats engaged. By utilizing all five senses, a cat can fully explore their potential. 

“The Catit Design Senses Speed Circuit and Treat Maze are a complete interactive experience, designed to stimulate a cat’s senses and encourage exercise and play,” Damian Hall, senior marketing manager for Rolf C. Hagen, said. “The Speed Circuit helps kitty beat boredom, imitates the natural instinct to stalk prey, and introduces exercise as the feline follows an illuminated ball around a track. The Treat Maze helps manage food intake, helping to maintain a healthy weight while stimulating the cat’s sense of touch, smell and coordination as they use their paw to push treats down the maze for the ultimate reward.”

The FroliCat line of products utilizes automated laser-based toys for their BOLT, DART and DART DUO.

“Pets need mental and physical stimulation to keep them healthy,” Mandie Sweetnam, product manager of toys and behavior at Radio Systems Corporation, said. “FroliCat toys provide pets and their caretakers with a solution for bored or out-of-shape pets. Our automated enrichment toys are designed to keep pets engaged during playtime, and then automatically shut off after a defined period. Multiple settings for speed and time keeps the pet’s interest and provides a new challenge.”

Kong recently released their new Glide ‘n Seek, which is a battery-operated cat toy that uses magnetic levitation technology to move feather toys unpredictably. This is a fun way to invite cats to chase and capture the toys through the many openings on the top of the toy.

“Feather toys glide, bump, and hop quickly around the circular toy,” Robert Cohrs, marketing director for Kong cat products, said. “The interactive Glide ‘n Seek helps cats release energy by providing an outlet for their natural hunting instincts.”

Engaging Instincts

One reason that behavior problems are so prevalent is because cats become bored. To effectively tire a cat out, it’s important to physically engage them in rousing games, like that of catch and release.

Popular wand toys include Neko Flies, which can be “baited” with realistic lures ranging from a fancy fur mouse to lifelike insects. These interactive toys are a perfect selection for high energy cats or low-energy cats that need to be inspired to exercise.

Milia Bell, founder of Tipsy Nip FPV, developed an almost cult-like following for her Tickle Pickle, originally a fun hand-knit toy that is stuffed with 100 percent organic catnip. That has since morphed into a line of Feline Precision Vision cat toys, which includes the Tickle Tassel and the Tickle Tassel Ball.

By using colors that provide a wide range of contrast, Tipsy Nip FPV toys help cats see motion clearly and quickly, making it easier for them to catch their “prey” and keeping them entertained for longer periods of time.

“All of our toys are manufactured in North Carolina and finished in Vermont using organic catnip,” Bell said. “We are very proud to offer the new Purple Haze toy, which is a Tickle Pickle that includes valerian.  About half of cats that don’t respond to catnip will respond to valerian.”

Puzzle toys, such as the Cat Treat Maze from Nina Ottosson, or the The Aikiou Feeding Station from Stimulo, encourage cats to “hunt” for their dinner, which engages their hunting instincts. Cats must solve a puzzle or identify, and then reach into, tube-like holes to retrieve their kibble.

Stimulate Their Senses

Catnip relies on a genetic response, which many breeds do not have in their genetic makeup. In fact, fewer than 70 percent of cats have the “catnip gene.” If they do have the gene, they are responding to nepetalactone, which closely resembles MMB, a compound found in female cat urine.

“While catnip appears to drive cats crazy, it is actually a great way to stimulate their senses,” Rob Morgan, chief operating officer for Worldwise, said. “They react to it with a burst of energy that is usually followed by a period of relaxation. It is this type of stimulation that is an essential part of their overall well being.”

Recently, Quaker Pet Group announced they will be expanding their durable plush toys into miniature versions for the cat world.

The SuperCat Plush includes a two-pack of best-selling and very colorful characters from Gatorz and Dinos and Yetis and Birds, and includes a sample bottle of SuperCat Catnip Spray.

Made with Nano-Burst Technology, this clear, non-staining and non-toxic spray is ideal for keeping toys fresh with pungent catnip scent. Encapsulated catnip scent bursts each time it is rubbed, scratched, or buffed, helping the scent stay fresh for up to six weeks.

“SuperCat is capitalizing on a category that has lacked innovation for many years,” Cristen Underwood, director of marketing for Quaker Pet Group, said. “Cats are naturally playful companions, so we are excited to continue exploring new ways to engage and enrich the lives of felines.”