Bonding Tip of The Week: Toy Box

3 min read

Molly DeVoss

Cat Behavior Solutions

Hey everybody! It’s Molly again from Cat Behavior Solutions, here with your Bonding Tip of the Week. This week’s bonding tip is: make toy boxes for your cats.

Toys are an important part of your cat’s wellbeing. I’ve talked extensively about prey play, which involves using a toy to simulate a cat’s natural hunting cycle. Prey play connects cats to their wild roots and stimulates their brains, keeping them healthier throughout their lives. I’ve also mentioned how beneficial it is to give kitty some cat snacks after prey play, which completes the hunting cycle and releases a nice burst of serotonin in their brain, which contributes to holistic cat health.

In sum, I’ve said lots about what interactive cat toys can do for bonding. But I haven’t said anything about where to keep the toys!

Instead of just having the cat toys spread out all over the house, keep them in a box. Now, it could be something as simple as a wicker or even cardboard box. But keeping the toys in a centralized boxes serves two purposes. First, it gets you in the habit every night of picking up your cat’s toys before you go to bed, keeping your house more organized to the benefit of both you and your cat. And second, the cat toys seem like they’re new—just because they’re in a different place than they were before! As a result, the toys seem more exciting.

While cats do understand object permanence—they need to be able to find their prey when they duck in and out of the forest brush, after all—they don’t have the longest memory for it. A cat’s working memory isn’t great, and if you keep an object moved away from them for long enough, your cat will think they haven’t seen it before.

Who doesn’t love an endless supply of new toys?

Here’s what we do in my home: we keep one of Pico’s toy boxes on the bed, because sometimes he wants to play at night, so I toss the toys off the bed so he can go chase them. He has two more toy boxes for the living room. One is a big wicker basket; I’ll toss moving toys in there, like floppy fish cat toy or a ball, and Pico just dives in it. And because it’s wicker, he likes to scratch on it as well, just like a cat scratching post. Every day he scatters all his toys, as he rummages through his boxes to find things he hasn’t seen in a while. Every night, I pick them up so we can start all over again.

So make a toy box for your cat. Not only does it encourage you to keep your house tidy and clean (which cats like, by the way), but it also resets the cat chew toys so that they’re more interested in them. Any time you’re responsible for something your cat enjoys, they take notice, and appreciation from them leads to more bonding with you.

Have a great time playing with your cat this week, and until next time, keep calm and purr on.

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