Friday, April 30, 2010

Feline Foraging Toys - Easy, Fun And Effective!

You don't have to make your own foraging toy like the article here describes - they sell variations on this at major pet stores.


What's important to remember is that all cats, including the Domestic Shorthair have their own specific needs and motives behind their behavior. A key part of that, is keeping in mind that cats need stimulation to satisfy their minds, and their prey drive. You won't find too many folks talking about that. By contrast, the prey drive of a dog is a topic of higher precedence in my experience. Is it because dogs are larger, more likely to inflict damage or to kill because of their size... or that they spend more time out with us in a social setting? Perhaps.


Are there things that we can do to help cats live to their full potential? Yes! Stimulating experiences are important. An environment that is engaging - fun cat toys, cubbys to play in, interaction from their people - and foraging toys. You see, cats are wired to hunt for their food - their prey drive. They like to do it. Most toys have only half of the equation right for keeping felines happy as far as the need to hunt - but there is nothing to show for their work. They need to get the food in the end.

I have a fun and easy solution: Foraging toys. (Ever see a dog with a Kong? Same principle.) These unique tools help cats to utilize their instinctive skills. Foraging toys are easy enough to make at home, for free... and you can recycle at the same time! I made a new one today out of a recycled sports drink bottle and filled it with a ration of cat food, treats and maybe a little catnip to spark interest. Just set it on the floor, get their attention and there you go. Simple enough, right?

You can use empty, clean water bottles, and even plastic pop bottles with secure lids are good choices - having a variety of toys to rotate each week is helpful. Simply ream out holes big enough for food and treats to trickle out as your kitty bats the toy around. Initially, choose clear vessels so that they can see the goodies inside and have a chance to get accustomed to how it works.


Maybe I should try this on my own cats. I just gave Boochi a crumpled foil ball, which used to be one of his favorite toys when he lived at the clinic. He looked at me like I was crazy and walked away. Sigh.

Click on the link to read the whole article.