Cats need fun engagements to stay active, learn, and avoid boredom, and toys are important tools to add to their playtime. When cats get to play, it reinforces good behaviors in them and helps them socialize with people and other animals.
Unfortunately, not all pet toys are created equal – some are safer and more fun than others. Some pet toys can cause dangerous situations for cats.
That’s why you need to be guided when shopping for toys for your feline friends. Continue reading to learn what you should watch out for to provide safe toys for your cat.
Common hazards to avoid when purchasing toys for your cat
The safest toy for your cat isn’t the newest or fanciest item you find at the pet store. Sometimes, the toy your cat is most attracted to can be the most dangerous. Check out the most common potential hazards to be aware of when choosing safe toys for your cat:
Strings, ribbons, and yarns
Watch out for the leftover ball of yarn on toys as it can be dangerous. Also, strings and yarns can cause a strangulation hazard for your cat. It can even result in intestinal blockage if swallowed.
You need to avoid toys that carry strong chemical smells or bright fabrics made with toxic dyes. Also, options that contain toxic levels of phthalates, lead, and other harmful chemicals should be strictly avoided. So ensure you research brands thoroughly before purchasing their toys.
Animals are generally sensitive to many plants and herbs, so avoid toys that include herbal remedies and aromatherapy as they can be deadly to your furry friends.
Cat toys with decorative eyes, as well as those ribbons and loose strings mentioned above, can choke your cats or cause digestive hazards. Other common decorations used on many toys include feathers and bells, but these materials can be easily removed by your cat. So avoid it!
Rawhide dog toys can cause choking and digestive issues. So talk to your vet before giving your cat any rawhide chews. It is advisable, however, to choose safer options.
Toys that have gaps or small openings like those balls with bells in the middle can present danger to cats. Another thing is that your cat could get its paws stuck.
Avoid pets containing a squeaker as your cat can tear them up and swallow the squeaker capsules. If you have to buy a toy containing squeakers, ensure it is very tough and watch your pet closely to ensure they do not tear it open.
Toys made with wood or hard plastic can splinter easily. These materials can get stuck in between your cat’s teeth, under their tongue, or even penetrate through their gums. If swallowed mistakenly, it could perforate your cat’s intestine and that can be deadly.
Tips to choose safe toys for your cats
Just because you see a toy in a pet store doesn’t mean that it’s a safe choice for your cat. You should check for the hazards mentioned above, ask other trusted pet owners, or get good advice from your veterinarian.
It is always advisable to research company materials, practices, ingredients, and their reviews before purchasing their products.
Always inspect toys for their durability and safety before purchasing them. If you can’t avoid ribbons, strings, and features, remove them before allowing your cat to play with them.
If you’re choosing a cat post, ensure it is stable enough and secure it to a wall.
Another important factor to keep in mind when choosing toys for your cat is the size of your cat. Avoid buying toys that are small enough to fit into your cat’s mouth. These toys could pose a choking hazard as they could be swallowed by cats, especially kittens.
You can get a toy that is big enough for a cat to hold with its mouth without swallowing. The best option, however, is to opt for larger toys to reduce the risk of choking. Cats use things like larger plush mice safely as they are big enough to play with.
Several cat toys are impregnated with catnip which makes them very attractive. Although some cats do experience hallucinations, most catnips are safe for most cats. This chemical is not addictive and does not cause any health problems. You can invest in these toys laced with catnip but note that some cats may not be interested.
Also, watch out for sharp edges when buying something like a plastic toy or puzzle toy. Try to run your fingers along the edges and make sure you do not notice any sharp part that hurts or prick your fingers.
Besides, cats handle toys by battling, chewing, or kicking. If you give them toys with sharp edges, your feline friend could cut its skin or mouth while playing. The ball toys are safe as they do not have sharp edges. You can also try soft catnip mice over rigid toys.
Again, plush toys are generally safe options to give your cats as they are soft and easy to carry. However, some of these toys are filled with beans, polystyrene beads, or nutshells and should be avoided.
Another important safety tip is to choose toys that have non-detachable parts. Avoid toys that have things like string, buttons, and feathers that your cat could easily detach. You can look for toys with ears and eyes embroidered or stitched on instead of going for toys with sewn-on ears or eyes.
If you find some high-quality toys with detachable parts, you can decide to buy and cut off the small parts. Most of these small parts are there for aesthetic reasons and taking them out would not mean so much to a cat.
Some electronic toys can be fun for cats, but you need to be sure the batteries are secure. Cats may swallow batteries, especially if they are small and secured loosely. So you need to be careful and watch your cat closely even if a toy’s battery is secured.
Again, do not expose your cat to small household items. You may be tempted to allow your feline friend to play with small objects they pick an interest in. But these items may be swallowed and cause great risk. In fact, your cat may be choked to death. Some items you should not let your cat play with include pipe cleaners, small caps, rubber bands or hair ties, batteries, sewing supplies, and buttons, and paper clips.
One more thing, learn to keep fishing pole toys away from cats, especially when not in use. Although these fishing pole toys are very interactive, they should be used when a person is present.
You can drag a fishing pole on the floor or dangle it in the air for your cat to chase. But leaving these toys with your cat can be hazardous as they can swallow the strings from the toy. Apart from the strings, your feline friends may also swallow embellishments like feathers if they are present on the fishing pole.
Cats are fun to be with as they love to play and stay active. These four-legged companions love to play with toys but unfortunately, not all toys are safe for cats. That’s why it is important to consider the hazards listed above when shopping for cat toys. Also, keep the tips for choosing safe toys in mind to get the best option for your feline friends.
If you’re not sure of the safest toys to get for your cat, you can ask your veterinarian to help you select the most appropriate options for your cat.