Interactive Playing with Wand Toys

Wand toys have unique features that can increase the fun and exercise value of interactive play sessions with your cat.

cat_wand_playingWand-ering Faux-Critters Bring Genuine Excitement to Kitty’s Playtime

With wand toys, you can make the “prey” crawl, climb, or fly through the air, to your kitty’s delight—and the manipulator of the prey’s action (you) is far enough away so that the prey’s movements seem autonomous. In fact, since the toy bug, bird, or burrower is attached to a string and is usually light enough to be affected by air currents and tiny obstructions on the ground, there is a degree of randomness to its actions.

Although our cats are too smart to mistake a toy moth or mouse for the real thing, the life-like actions of the toy prey, which you indirectly control through the wand, stimulate their hunting instincts and inspire them to put on their thinking caps. Fake prey generates real play!

Another advantage to wand toys is that since you’re at one end of the toy and your feline counterpart is at the other end, she can claw and bite with abandon, with no danger to your hands.

General Tips for Getting the Most Out of Wand Toys

Here are some things to keep in mind when using wand toys during your cat's play time:

Mix it Up with Props for Your Cat

Incorporating furniture, paper bags, boxes, and other items around the house into the play arena—as long as they’re safe—adds new dimensions to the wand toy play experience. Here are a few ideas—but you can go way beyond this; be as imaginative as you want to be:

The possibilities for using props and wand toy manipulations to create play time scenarios in which you are the director and your kitty is the star are unlimited.

Bonus tip: Supercharge the game by dipping the “dangling creature” part of the toy in catnip, or spritzing it with honeysuckle spray.

What About Cats That Are Reluctant to Play?

There are several reasons why a cat may not appear eager to play, or doesn’t seem to be a natural at playing:

Wand toys can be very helpful in these situations because you can be at a distance from the kitty and still gently encourage playing, which can increase confidence and contentment. With a cat that is skittish or perhaps is feeling vulnerable and remaining in hiding, give her plenty of space. Every now and then, have the toy slowly creep along the floor; it should be within swatting distance to the cat but no closer.

Be patient, and respect the cat’s need for privacy. Proceed at a cautious pace, and before you know it, your timid tabby may be transformed into a playful pouncer.

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