Cats are playful animals that like to be mentally and physically stimulated, and playing with fellow cats or toys is part of their daily routine. Playing also keeps them healthy and helps them maintain a healthy weight. Most cats love nothing better than small spaces where they can play hide-and-seek. They have a penchant for cardboard boxes, dark nooks and under beds and furniture, and you may want to consider some cat tunnels for added excitement.
Why do cats like tunnels?
Cats like tunnels because they provide a hiding place that makes them feel safe and secure. They feel protected and warm inside these tunnels, as they do in sinks, drawers, boxes and under the bed. They can also curl up in these small spaces which allow them to conserve body heat while hiding from potential and perceived threats. Despite being domesticated, cats still retain these instincts passed down from their wild ancestors.
Aside from making them feel secure, warm and protected, cat tunnels are also great toys for cats. They are safe, and the holding structure is covered with high-quality, soft material. There are no sharp edges that could hurt your cat and there is nothing that your cat could chew and choke on. The iron frame wire is made of a material similar to that of bra wires.
Cat tunnels make great hiding places because they have dark interiors that give cats the feeling of a night hunt. They are one of the most preferred and inexpensive toys for cats. They also make the perfect, most private sleeping place for your cat, apart from being a playground.
Playing keeps your cat healthy, builds muscle tone, improves blood circulation and relieves stress. It is stimulating, combats boredom, allows your cat to release aggression, and prevents or reduces behavioral problems.
How to choose the right cat tunnel for your cat
- Opt for a cat tunnel that blends in with your home decor.
- Make sure it is spacious enough that your cat can easily enter and exit the tunnel. Check the dimensions before you buy it.
- Ensure that the cat tunnel is the right length to fit into your chosen area at home. You may also need to move it around the house if your cat is fussy and does not like its initial placement.
- See to it that the materials are of good quality and the covering is a soft fabric, so that your cat will be comfortable in it.
- Check the weight of the tunnel, as heavy ones are quite difficult to move around.
- You can also opt for extra features like windows and attached toys, although your cat will always have the final say.
Other safe toys for cats
1. Ripple rug
This cat activity center is made from recycled bottles and is dye- and chemical-free. Your cat can rest, hunt, play, scratch, and hide here. It is also waterproof, so you can easily clean off any stains.
2. Minky wand
This is attractive to cats since it mimics the tail movements of other cats. It is made from wood and mink fabric, and is plastic-free and washable.
3. Wool chase balls
These toys are made from organic cotton and wool and are perfect toys for playing and chasing.
4. Rabbit fur balls
These toys are made with deerskin leather and real rabbit fur. They also nurture the cat’s predatory instinct, because rabbits are their natural prey.
5. Felt crinkle balls
These balls create crinkly sounds that make cats curious. They are handmade with felt and come in various colors. Most cats tend to play for longer if their toys make sounds.
6. Matatabi chew sticks
These toys are all-natural and made for chewing. They are made of natural silvervine root and are ideal for your cat’s dental health.
7. Catnip toys
These toys are safe and use all-organic catnip. They are perfect for bringing out your cat’s playful side.
8. Mice jingle toys
These are crocheted with yarn and play a jingle, keeping cats amused for longer. They are also infused with catnip.
Play is important for cats because it is reminiscent of stalking and hunting prey. When it comes to toys, cat tunnels are a favorite for many cats, because they feel safe and protected inside them. They are great hiding places because they are dark inside; they are also comfortable and a safe spot for cats to take a nap.
Image: istockphoto.com / Svetlana Sultanaeva