Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Does your cat really need another store-bought toy?

Popoki the cat with her toys

Like most house cats, Popoki has plenty of cat toys. She has crinkle bat toys, soft stuffed toys, dangly wand toys and ball-based chase toys. If she's in the mood to play, there's something in the toy basket made just for her.

But like a lot of exotic shorthair cats, Popoki doesn't have a ton of play energy. She will play independently for a very short period of time, and even then, she doesn't play at a very vigorous level. Were she a human, I'd say she was walking rather than running. And I'd like her to do a little more running, so she can keep her slim figure intact.

Buying her more toys doesn't always work. She is finicky about her play, and new toys don't always please her.

Unless they're innovative toys.

Consider this act of play.

Popoki the cat at play

Her eyes are wide open, her whiskers are forward and she has one foot off the ground. This is a very engaged level of play from an otherwise hard-to-engage little kitty. She's certainly burning some calories here. And this particular play session went on for 15 minutes, which is a long little session for this girl.

So what was the toy?

Popoki the cat with a seed pod

A seed pod from a tree in the back yard. (When I was a kid, I called these "helicopters," because they whirl around on their path from the tree to the ground.)This particular pod made it into the catio somehow, and Popoki found it mesmerizing. She'd chase it in my hand, and she'd pounce on it if I flung it into the air and let it come down. The possibilities were endless.

Popoki the cat standing up to play

There are all sorts of common household and yard-based things the average cat would love to play with. Seeds, leaves, bits of paper, empty boxes, paper bags, bottle caps.... These are just some of the things I've used with my kids.

This approach is inexpensive, and it also gives cats something new to play with every day, so they never deal with toy fatigue. Everyone really wins here.

Do you use innovative toys with your cats? Leave me a note and let me know! And be sure to visit the other blogs in the BlogPaws hop this week. Lots of good stuff to check out!


  1. Oh, yes. Our cats have store-bought and homemade toys. They also love to improvise like with Popoki's seed pod. They're never bored!

  2. When Bear gets bored, things start breaking and disappearing around here. I started making cheap and easy homemade toys for him ... and that seems to help a little. Here's the link with my ideas:

  3. When our angel cats were young they had a lot of toys. Somewhere in their mid-teens they stopped playing so we didn't have any after that.

  4. Isn't it cute the things they gravitate towards? Mudpie is obsessed with rolled up candy wrappers flicked across the room!

  5. Popoki is such a cutie. Cats seem to like free stuff better than store bought. :)

  6. That's a fun toy, and we're glad Popoki had such a great time with it! Gracie's favorite toys are the collar stays from my dress shirts. :)

  7. Popoki is absolutely gorgeous. That face is perfection. ♥

  8. It's like women and jewelry - it's never a need, just a want LOL

  9. Mario is very hard to please when it comes to play time. About the only thing he likes is his Neko Fly. It is seldom I can toss a toy to him and he'll actually play with it. He's a wonderful kitty, but just a little on the lazy side!

  10. Our Snoodles is getting older. She doesn't play much, and the dogs usually end up enjoying her toys. Popoki is precious :)

  11. Flutterbies are the bestest toys. Popoki has such beautiful eyes.

  12. My cats were always fans of the ring from the gallon of milk!