Pet owners spend a small fortune on toys for their pets each year, buying manufactured playthings that are surrounded in packaging and often shipped overseas, contributing to global warming and other environmental problems.
A more environmentally friendly option is to give discarded household objects a second life as cat toys.
The Humane Society of the United States recommends the following items as safe and fun for cats: plastic shower curtain rings, ping pong balls, plastic practice golf balls (the kind with holes), paper bags (without handles), empty cardboard toilet paper or paper towel tubes, and cardboard boxes with doors and windows cut from their sides.
Those who have a talent for crafts can make simple cat toys such as catnip pillows or tubes using fabric scraps, old socks, or other discarded clothing or towels.
Cats like these just as much as mouse-shaped toys, but they’re safer because there are no little eyes, noses, whiskers, or tails to chew off and swallow.
Unfortunately, cats also love many dangerous household objects.
Pins, needles, and thumbtacks are particularly bad, though cats will also swallow paper clips, ribbon, dental floss, string, and rubber bands, all of which can cause serious medical problems.
Wool is risky as well, because it can get caught on the barbs of a cat’s tongue, forcing the cat to swallow more and more of it. Plastic bags are also a bad idea, particularly drycleaner bags, which create a risk of suffocation. Handles on bags also present a choking hazard.
The best cat toys are objects that are too large to swallow and have no little pieces that can be chewed off, or items made from harmless materials.
When it comes to cat toys, simple is best and there is no need to spend any money – some cats will play for hours with a crumpled piece of scrap paper.
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