So, what’s your cat getting for Christmas this year? If you’re like most cat people, you’re looking for toys, and you’re buying them online.
The most reviewed cat toy on Amazon: The Catit Design Senses Play Circuit, a long “peek-boo-track” with a colorful ball inside.
Going To The Dogs
Amazon’s Top Ten
- Fashion’s Talk Cat Toys Variety Pack: A collection of catnip toys, balls and a wand toy.
- SmartyKat Skitter Critters Catnip Mice: Three mice come in one package.
- KONG Naturals Crinkle Cat Toy: Two fish make a crinkly sound and have long feather tails.
- Cat Charmer: A long piece of fabric for kitty to chase is attached to the wand of this popular toy.
- KONG Cat Cozie Kickeroo: This is an 8.5″ long catnip kicker made from plush fabric.
- Catit Designs Play Circuit: The Play Circuit has almost 4,000 reviews on Amazon!
- SmartyKat Feather Whirl: This electronic toy looks like fun if your cat likes feathers.
- PETFAVORITES Original Mylar Crinkle Balls: Most cats love Mylar crinkle balls, but these may not be the best choice. Read the reviews before you buy.
Tip For Christmas Shopping For Cats
- Make sure the toys are big enough for adult cats. Many toys, especially the bat and swat toys that you put on the floor for the cats to play with themselves, are designed for kittens, not adults.
- Cats don’t care whether their play mice have eyes and bells, and sewn-on eyes and bells can be a choking hazard.
- Look for toys that are durable and well-made. There’s nothing more frustrating than catching a “mouse” and having it fall apart at the seams.
- Avoid toys that are filled with nutshells, beans or polystyrene beads. These, too, could be a choking hazard if the toy falls apart.
|A “skin” holds the NoBowl cat
So you’re thinking your cat’s sort of fat and lazy. Here’s something that might get him up off the couch and slim him down.
The NoBowl Feeding System provides portion-controlled dry food meals in little plastic containers that fit inside “skins.” The skins look and sort of feel like mice.
The idea is to hide the “mice” around the house, so your cat has to hunt for his food.
How Cats Like To Eat
Instinct tells cats to eat several small meals a day. Outside, they might hunt and eat what they catch as many as 20 times in a 24-hour period. And Mother Nature doesn’t present their food in plastic bowls or on cute ceramic dishes.
Their mealtime ritual is to watch, pounce, shred their prey with their teeth and then eat it off the ground. No dinnerware needed.
Veterinarian Susan Bales, who developed the NoBowl system, says “food is only half of the mealtime equation.” Hunting, she says is just as important. And when we deliver our cats’ food to them in bowls, we’re “denying them the ability to fulfill this instinct.”
Looks Like A Mouse, Feels Like A Mouse… Sort Of
Sounds Great, But…
The question is, will cats hunt for dry food? If they can’t smell it from a few feet away, will they even bother looking for it? If the “mouse” doesn’t move and squeak like a real one does, is the thrill of the hunt missing from the equation?
And cats love routine and predictability almost as much as they love catching things. Cats who live outside and spend their days hunting still appreciate finding a bowl of food delivered to the same place at the same time every day, although they’d probably be just as happy with only the food and no bowl.
I envision very hungry, grouchy house cats if they have to spend their days tracking down motionless, almost-odorless bits of cereal, which is what dry food really is.
My cats don’t eat dry food because it’s so bad for them in so many ways. And we don’t have plastic dishes. But if we did this, I think I’d use the mice to replace the bottomless bowl of dry food and leave them in places that were easy to find. Then, the cats would have the fun and stimulation of “killing” their food, even if they didn’t have to hunt for it. They’d still get their wet food in bowls, in the same place, twice a day.
If you want to try the NoBowl Feeding system, you can buy it online on Bales’s website. And if you do try it, I’d love to know what your cats think. You can tell us in the comments section below.
Open Farm, a Canadian pet food company, recently introduced its Certified Humane dry cat food in the US market.
To be certified humane, food must come from farms where animals can express such natural behaviors as flapping wings and moving around freely in their environments.
They must also live free of cages and gestation crates and be raised without antibiotics, growth hormones and animal by-products.