Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Cats > How to Make Your Cat Love His New Toy: 4 Expert Tips

How to Make Your Cat Love His New Toy: 4 Expert Tips

cat lying on the sofa playing with green ball

Cat toys are a form of enrichment in their daily lives. It is always nice to have a variety of things to keep them busy, whether they’re engaging in solo play, same-species play, or human play.

Toys are a way to enhance your cat’s living space, promoting healthy exercise, brain activity, and socialization skills. If you have recently bought a new toy for your cat and you want to address it to them adequately, here are a few tips to get you started.

It shouldn’t take much coaxing. Your cat should warm it up with a bit of motivation.

divider-cat

The 4 Tips on How to Get Your Cat to Love His New Toy

Some felines can be stubborn about accepting unfamiliar things—even if they would be entertaining to play with. Some cats are scared, others skeptical—and some don’t trust change.

But here are a few ways to pique some interest.

1. Play with Them!

If their human is interested in something, they’re more likely to give it a go. When introducing the new toy to your cat, spend several minutes playing with them so they learn it’s all fun and games.

Exercise is super important for your feline, even though they don’t require much. But more so than exercise, the time you spend playing with your cat creates a bonding experience and level of companionship. There’s not a much better way to connect with your kitty than to engage in predatory play fights.


2. Lure Your Cat with Catnip

Most cats can’t refuse the alluring power of catnip. If you rub a little catnip on the toy’s exterior, permitting it didn’t already come with some inside, it can be extra motivation for your cat to take an interest.

a Siamese lynx point cat lies down on the floor sprinkled with catnip and lick her paw
Image By: Pixel Cat Photo, Shutterstock

3. Let them Sniff Around

Sometimes it’s best to let your feline investigate. Set a new toy or toy down on the floor where they can really get up in the nooks and crannies. They will want to sniff around and might be hesitant at first. But the more they inspect, the more curious they will become.


4. Don’t Push It

If your cat takes little interest at first, don’t try to force it. They will warm up when they’re ready. You can try again about once a day. Some cats may only warm up to a specific kind of toy. It simply doesn’t appeal to their play style.

If it is a failed toy, you’ll know better next time. You won’t have to waste your money buying anything that doesn’t trigger your feline’s play response.

black and brown cat playing with ball toy on the floor
Image Credit: Bruce Kee, Unsplash

divider-cat

Types of Toys to Try

There are tons of toys on the market to keep most domestic house cats busy.

cat playing with toys
Image Credit: winni-design, Shutterstock

Self-Play Entertainment

Self-play toys are ones your cat can bat around and operate independently. They don’t need any additional cats, pets, or people to help them out.

These toys include:

  • Mice
  • Catnip stuffed toys
  • Scratching posts
  • Balls on a track
  • Puzzles
  • Exercise wheels
  • Treat dispensing toys
Image Credit: Agata Kowalczyk, Shutterstock

Cat-to-Cat Play

Cats can share lots of toys, even ones that provide solo play. But here are a few fun activities they can engage in together.

  • Cat trees
  • Exercise areas
  • Cat rooms
  • Tunnels
  • Hanging teasers

Human-Feline Play

There are tons of toys you can enjoy alongside your feline buddy. But be careful! If you’re playing with just any old toy, you can get scratched or bitten quite easily. It’s good to put some distance between you and those ferocious claws!

  • Teasers
  • Wands
  • Handheld lasers
cat playing with owner
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

DIY Cat Toys

There are tons of cat toys you can make for little to no cost to you. Once you know what kind of toys your cat prefers, you can create them at home using a DIY tutorial. Plus, it’s something fun to pass the time or even an exciting project for your children.

This is an inexpensive way to really see what works for your cat, too. That way, you are spending something other than a bunch of hard-earned cash on expensive gambles that your cat will never touch. Don’t worry—you don’t have to get creative. That’s what Pinterest creators are for!

Generally, you can find DIYs to match any experience level.

divider-cat

Importance of Interactive Play

Interactive play is extremely good for your cat. Much more social than their wild cousins, domestic cats enjoy having other creatures, big and small, around to socialize with.

This promotes healthy mental stimulation and physical activity.

Some cats really do prefer to spend their time by themselves. Granted, that’s only true in some cases. But if you can, getting them to engage will give the old grump a refresher they didn’t know they needed.

kittens playing with cat toy
Image By: Michelle Maria, Pixabay

divider-cat

Catnip Considerations

Catnip is definitely a cat favorite. It is marketed all over and has various species-specific products, but it can be a good thing. Some catnip can be harmful to cats—and some cats are totally immune to the mind-altering effects of this frenzied feline herb.

Toxic Elements

Sometimes certain pesticides and other chemicals that are sprayed onto catnip can cause allergic reactions and other health concerns in cats.

It’s always best to buy organic catnip that contains traceable ingredients when you can. Most companies advertise whether their catnip is organic and may also include where it is sourced—so pay attention to labels and fine print!

No Effect

Catnip affects roughly 80% of cats, but definitely not all of them. Certain cats are immune to the alluring aspects of this magical plant. If your cat is among them, any toy that contains catnip will not be any more motivating.

If you have a cat that is immune to catnip, you can offer other greens—like cat grass. Your cat can munch away on their own patch in a warm window. Your houseplants are safe, and your cat is getting a little roughage in its diet. Why not?

divider-catFinal Thoughts

Most cats won’t have trouble breaking in a new toy—especially if you have a crazed feline ready to shred anything that comes their way. But sometimes, your kitty can need some convincing, and you can help soften their judgment.

Remember, you don’t always have to spend money on new toys. Check out Pinterest and other places on the web for DIY tutorials on all sorts of exercises, puzzles, and toy inventions for your cats. Who doesn’t want to craft on a rainy day? Plus, it’s usually free!


Featured Image Credit: Natalya On, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets