Worried that your cat is bored when you're away? Can't keep up with your super playful kitten? Automated cat toys may be the answer - but which one to choose?
Let us try and help.
Cats - particularly those who live indoors only - need a stimulating environment. Automated cat toys offer owners a new way to offer Kitty mental and physical stimulation by encouraging natural feline hunting behaviors.
Today we want to share with you eight of these systems that can provide cats with hours of safe and positive entertainment.
Why should you offer your cat toys?
Before we start looking at these electronic gadgets, let's consider what makes these systems so effective.
Cats evolved to hunt small critters on the ground and in the air. Each one of our sweet kitties is in fact a talented predator whose mind and body are made to locate, stalk and chase small animals. In fact, hunting instincts are so strong in the cat that many cats will hunt down prey even if they are not hungry.
That does not mean you should allow your pet cat to hunt. On the contrary. Hunting puts your cat at risk and can harm the environment. Read more here about why you should never let your cat hunt. All we're saying is that you should be aware of your cat's needs and fulfill them in a safe and healthy way through appropriate playtime.
Here's how automated cat toys help fight boredom
Playtime affords cats with a hunting simulation that's safe and rewarding. Unfortunately, regular cat toys are passive and immobile. In other words, they don't do a very good job pretending to be live prey. You can overcome this by operating cat toys in various forms of interactive playtime. If you choose to do that make sure you read our guide: Playing with Your Cat: 10 Things You Need To Know.
Automated cat toys provide you with a hands-off way to mimic prey behavior. These systems intrigue cats with simulations of mice and birds, getting them to exercise their natural repertoire of hunting skills. What's more, some of these automated cat toys can be programmed to operate at set times, helping you make sure your cat isn't bored while you're away.
With that in mind, here are eight gadgets that keep cats fit and alert!
Electronic Hide and Seek Mouse Cat Toy
What's more fun than trying to hunt down a mouse that's hiding in a maze of tunnels? This mouse pops out and then hides again - just like a real mouse does. Lightweight and portable, the Hide & Seek toy by Penn Plax is easy to move around the home, so you can always entice your cat to play next to you.
PetSafe Frolicat Flik Pet Toy
Who says Kitty needs an entire mouse to chase? Nothing wrong with chasing just a tail. The Petsafe Flik toy simulates a flicking tail that cats find irresistible. The string that goes in and out of the toy is thin enough that cats won't find it threatening. Supervise your cat to make sure he or she doesn't end up chewing off the string.
Our member hbunny loved this toy saying "If it can hold the attention of my old guy, it is a TEN STAR purchase in my eyes. He hasn't played like this in years!"
SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Concealed Motion Toy
Has your cat ever try to chase the mice that live under your blanket, i.e. your covered feet? If so, he or she will probably love this toy. This automated cat toy offers Kitty a lot of spy-style action: under cover!
Interactive and Automated WANTi Cat Toy
For a more comprehensive - and more expensive - play/hunt experience you may want to invest in the WantI system. It offers six modes of play, simulating mice, birds, worms and fish, and you can even run it on "random" mode, challenging your cat with the kind of variety a real hunting experience would provide. You can also choose between operating the toy with a remote, or setting a timer for a hands-off yet paws-on experience.
PetSafe Cheese Pet Toy
There's a little mouse living in this wedge of cheese, and you just never know which side it's going to pop out of. Place this toy so Kitty has a good view of both sides and let the fun begin! You can even set it to work while you're away, and the little mouse will put on a peep show once every two hours.
Hexbug Mouse Robotic Cat Toy
Forget about the elusive mice that hide in mazes, under covers or in fake cheese. This toy has the rodent out in the open! Fully visible, this hexbug mouse moves around on its own, simulating natural walking patterns, stopping occasionally to change its direction. And don't worry - if Kitty manages to topple over this critter, the mouse knows how to flip over from its back to its feet!
Tumbler Laser Interactive Cat Toy
This Tumbler interactive toy offers your cat not only constant stimulation, but also some reward. Just fill the inner compartment with kibble or cat treats, and the ball will gradually dispense a few pieces at a time as it wobbles around.
Even without the food, this automated cat toy is a huge hit as it offers a unique combination of bird-like movement and a laser show. No wonder reviewers love this one!
PetSafe Dart Automatic Laser Cat Toy
Speaking of laser... if your cat loves chasing that elusive red dot, you definitely should try the DART. This pet-safe laser toy offers 4 speeds and 4 time settings, which along with the random patterns create endless combinations for play sessions that are pure fun!
Have you tried any automated cat toys? Let us know in a comment how your cat reacted and share your insights. You can also review any of the products featured in this list by clicking the link under the listing.