Enrichment toys for cats

trixie cat activity board - screenshotIn recently years, there’s been a huge increase in interactive toys and food puzzle toys for dogs. While there are some of these types of toys for cats, I think there is a lot larger selection of fun interactive dog toys. This is unfortunate, as many cats are quite active and playful and would enjoy interactive toys that help relieve boredom. Additionally, food puzzle toys are a great way to keep an animal active and make dinnertime last a lot longer.

I’ve been corresponding some with Birgit Laser, a dog and cat trainer from Germany. She’s written books and produced a DVD about clicker training for cats. Birgit also sent me Helena Dbaly’s website. Helena does clicker training with her cats and also designs cat enrichment toys and games, several of which have been produced by Trixie (a German manufacturer of pet products).

I have been watching the videos on Helena’s webiste and I really like the design of some of these enrichment toys! For example, the activity board in the video below includes five games that involve different types of paw movements. I sometimes see videos of cats playing with dog puzzle toys and, while these can work, they aren’t really designed with cats in mind. The activity board and Helena’s other toys, however, are obviously designed to take advantage of the types of paw movements a cat would do naturally. I think most kitties would find these toys a lot of fun!

Watch on YouTube: Cat activity fun board

The activity board in the video above is available on Amazon as the Trixie Cat Activity Center.

This next one might be one of my favorites. I love the simplicity of the design of this puzzle toy. It’s just a stack of tubes with holes in them. I think something like this could be easily built out of cardboard tubing or even PVC pipe. The spacing of the holes and the diameter of the tubes could be varied to make harder or easier puzzles.

Watch on YouTube: Cat enrichment pyramid toy

You can check out more videos of fun cat toys on this page of Helena’s website. The site is in German, however, I was able to get a lot of ideas from the pictures and videos on the site. As well, several of the videos feature handmade toys and I think many of these toys could be recreated with simple materials.

For those of you who have cats, do you think your cat would enjoy playing with some of these interactive puzzle toys?

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  • I like the first enrichment toy for cat. It will really help relieve the boredom of the cats especially that it involves different types of paw movements. Thanks for sharing this with us. I will definitely check Helena’s website.

  • jenny

    I really enjoyed this! I have 6 cats and it’s hard to keep them all entertained. I think this would be perfect! They can use a lot of their senses finding and getting the treats/food. It’s also healthier for cats to eat slow to. I am putting this on the cat’s Christmas list!

    • Hi Jenny,

      Sounds like your cats would love one of these!

      And great point about it being healthier for them to eat slower. I think this is one of the big advantages of puzzle toys and interactive food toys.
      cheers,

      Mary

      ————————
      Mary Hunter, M.S.
      Dog Trainer and Behaviorist
      Serving Dallas-Ft. Worth
      http://www.TexasAnimalTraining.com

  • Sam

    Interesting. I am a dog person but I imagine a lot of cats would benefit from this kind of toy, they are such intelligent creatures.

    • Hi Jenny,

      Sounds like your cats would love one of these!

      And great point about it being healthier for them to eat slower. I think this is one of the big advantages of puzzle toys and interactive food toys.
      cheers,

      Mary

      ————————
      Mary Hunter, M.S.
      Dog Trainer and Behaviorist
      Serving Dallas-Ft. Worth
      http://www.TexasAnimalTraining.com

  • Sharon Rowe

    We used to make toys for cats because they would get bored and start being naughty, i love the simplicity of the cardboard tube idea.

  • Katie Dettra

    I don’t have a cat but I like the toilet paper tube idea. Always looking for uses for those tubes! I will recommend it to my friends with cats.
    Katie

  • Bronwen

    That’s very interesting and not something I’ve ever given much thought to, not really being a ‘cat’ person! My aunt is however, and I think I might have a go at making the second one for her cats for Christmas – she would love that !

  • Neither my husband nor I are huge animal people, so when our kiddos starting begging for pets, we went with chickens. They’re cute, sort of practical, and are happy in their coop. Chickens may not be as smart as cats, but even for them, serving their food in a more interactive way might help keep them even happier. They sure gobble up food at an incredible rate!

  • Katty k

    I do this for my bunnies