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Cat Toys

Do cats need toys? What toys are best for cats?

In the 1960s, scientists conducted tests on animals to see the effect of the environment on their brains. No, I'm not endorsing animal testing, but this testing has given us some good info. Granted, these tests were primarily on rats, but the results led to further conclusions and testing that were eventually applied to humans; therefore, assuming similar results for cats is certainly logical. What did all of this testing teach us about the environment of an animal? We have learned that when animals have other animals, people, and toys with which to interact, they become smarter. Brain cells have little branches on them called dendrites. When an animal needs to "figure something out" or solve some sort of problem, new connections are formed. The more often this same problem is solved, the stronger the connection. Think about it, when you were first learning how to read, you needed to sound out every word; now, when you are reading this blog, you may not even be consciously saying these words in your head (well...until I pointed it out lol). Yet, you are able to take in and comprehend the information. Now, don't get too excited, even the incredibly intelligent Egyptian Mau cats will probably not learn to read, but they are very capable of forming new connections in their brains, and one of the key ways they can learn is by using "toys."

When purchasing or creating toys for your beautiful feline friend's brainy improvement, you should take into consideration two things: safety and problem-solving skills.

Safety

Any toy can be dangerous for your Egyptian Mau cat. When purchasing, look for any parts that might detach and/or be inadvertently eaten when enthusiastically nibbled on by a kitten cutting teeth, or with large items, like a scratching post, be on the lookout for stability issues or sections that are top-heavy. Once you get your baby's new plaything home, supervise the fun (how could you not!!!) to make sure there is no danger. Then, periodically check favorite toys to ensure they are still fully appropriate. Egyptian Maus are not overly rough and destructive like some exotics, but they are active, and may wear out toys a bit faster than other breeds -- especially while they are still kittens.

Problem-Solving Skills

Not every toy needs to be building brain-muscle (well, actually synaptic connections if we want to be all technical about it) for your cat, but a healthy kitten needs to have some play time specifically engineered to teach to help him or her be the best companion possible. The sparkly puffy balls that can be batted across the floor are great fun, but if you throw a handful into a laundry basket, you Egyptian Mau can build problem-solving skills by learning how to reach in and pull them out. In cat shows, felines complete timed obstacle courses. You can create one at home with cardboard boxes, pillows, etc. and guide your baby through it with a dangly stick toy or laser light. See how quickly he or she can complete it, but after 2-3 "runs" reward with faviorite toy play time. Alternatively, hide a cat treat or favorite toy under a towel or cardboard box and guide your pet to it several times until he/she can do it himself/herself (just don't overdo the treats). If cost isn't a factor, there are lots of fun teaching toys that you can purchase online or in pet stores. I, personally, have not been overly impressed with the treat-dispensing items sold by pet-food/treat manufacturers. My cats need more "productive struggle" before being rewarded with food than these items provide. I would also caution against purchasing educational kitten toys online unless it is from a place with easy returns or from a manufacturer you trust because one item I ordered was so poorly made that it broke before the box was opened!

I haven't tried the toys on the following websites, but they look interesting! Facebook message me if you have any toys that you adore for your purrfect friend! https//www.facebook.com/egyptianmaus.TN.GA.NC.SC.KY/