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Cat Toys: A Wholly Incomplete and Humorous Guide

Cat toys come in multiple shapes and sizes. Maybe they shouldn't? Our guide seems to think they shouldn't.

Michael Leaverton  |  Jul 10th 2012

The kind of cat toy you buy says volumes about how much money you have to throw around like a crazy person. Here’s some popular categories of toys and some wholly irresponsible thoughts about them. Is there a kernel of truth in every joke? Nah.

1. Simple Toys

Fluff balls, plastic balls, crinkle balls, sponge balls, lattice balls, sisal balls, assorted balls, feather ticklers, feather teasers, feather wands — will they ever stop making this stuff? Stop buying this stuff! My cat actually gets angry when I find an old plastic ball I’ve stored in a drawer like an idiot and throw it to him. What am I doing? I get a couple of swats and the cat looks at me like I’ve psychologically harmed him. You get a couple of years’ free rein to buy this stuff, and then you have to cool it. Christmas stockings, birthdays — okay, you get a furlough (and I’m guilty as anyone here). Other than that, make your own.

2. Nearly Human Toys

Fair warning: If you buy something that looks like an activity center for a baby, watch out, because someone is going to come to your house and say, “Oh, how old is your baby?” And if you don’t have a baby, you’re going to have to stand there and say, “I don’t have a baby. This is for my cat.” And here you will gesture down at the activity center you bought for your cat, and the both of you will stare at it for a long, uncomfortable moment, looking for a conversational exit.

But if you do have kids, knock yourself out. A gift that does double duty for the kid and the cat is the holy grail in toy manufacturing [Editor’s note: No, it’s not] and you just might have found it in the ToyShoppe Playables Kitty Rocking Roller Cat Toy (hell of a name, that). Just let the baby have the first go-around.

3. Bigger and Better Toys

Sure, I had some great times watching my cat never get the damn ball out of the circle version of this toy, but what is this? The Bergen Turbo Track? You are projecting. You never got the racetrack you wanted as a preteen, right? What’s a cat going to do with “turbo”? What is a cat going to do with a racetrack, with you dressed up as Mario Andretti calling the race? The cat just wants to bat a ping-pong ball around a circle for 45 seconds and take a nap.

Wait, here’s a video. You’ll see what I mean.

Oh. Forget everything I said.

4. Electronic Toys

Do you need batteries for your cat toys? Are you plugging them in? Guess what: You’re doing it wrong. You get one electronic toy, per cat, one impulse buy at Radio Shack on Christmas Eve. Myself, I would go with a laser light, and not this Sky Mall-looking bug-zapper (Ware’s Flying Fun Interactive Cat Toy, available in your hardware aisle).

But, you have to be careful with the laser light, because most cats just utterly buy into laser lights, and even the best of us find ourselves with less-than-honorable notions, like, “Can I get the cat to do a back flip? Will he actually crash into the wall if I do this? How about … this? I feel like a God!”

5. What-the-Fluff? Toys

No, this is not a dish-drying rack. No, really, it’s a cat toy. I swear — it’s called Trixie’s 5-in-1 Activity Center. Yes, for cats. Listen to me: This is not a dish-drying rack. I’ll show you the receipt. Those globes? You put treats in there. No, the treats don’t get wet, because this is not a dish-drying rack. Well, I suppose you could put dishes in here and they would get dry, but why would you do that? This is not a dish-drying rack. It’s a cat toy. This is a cat toy.

6. Le Grande Cat Toys

Ah, and we’ve come to the end. I don’t know quite what to say, but I think … I think I want this. I don’t even know what this is, but I think my cat needs this. Behold: a play circuit, a speed circuit, a massage center, a food maze, a scratch pad, and a grass garden, all in one, all in the Catit Design Senses Bundle. What does it cost? I DON’T CARE WHAT IT COSTS. And yet, there’s still the problem with cats. From the reviews on Amazon: “Cute product but my cats were more interested in the box.”

Ah, cats.