When you have an indoor kitten, you know toys aren't just for fun. They're 100% necessary for both your kitten's development and the safety of your couch cushions.
But how can you ensure that your reckless little furball doesn't find a way to turn that mouse toy into a choking hazard? And how can you find a toy that's both safe for your teething kitten and as enticing as the cord on your lamp? They're out there, I promise.
Here's what to look for.
Opt for non-toxic materials
Don't get me wrong, I still own toys made of plastic. But if I'm in the market for new toys, I love that there are toys out there (and other eco-friendly pet supplies) made with less toxic materials. We'll get into some of those below.
Avoid toys with small or detachable parts
Even toys made from non-toxic materials can be unsafe!
First, you'll need to make sure the toy you're buying is developmentally appropriate for your kitten. Notice I didn't say age-appropriate, as not all kittens develop at the same rate.
Secondly, you'll need to keep an eye out for potential choking hazards. Even if a toy looks or claims to be totally safe for your kitten's age and stage, you know your kitten best.
Generally, you'll want to keep an eye on your kitten whenever you give them a new toy. (Some kittens are scarily adept at turning harmless toys into deadly weapons.)
DIY kitten toys? Proceed with caution
Your kitten's probably already DIYing toys around your house on their own. Some of these could be relatively safe under the right circumstances and supervision:
Cardboard boxes (thank you, consistent online orders)
Large balls of compacted foil
Plain paper (so crinkly!)
Wool dryer balls
Here are some potentially dangerous things your kitten probably loves playing with:
Hair ties (why do they love these so much?)
Electrical cords (lamps, decor, hair dryers, etc.)
House plants (sooo many toxic plants)
Fragile decor items (hide your heirlooms)
I won't make recommendations about the DIY toys to use because, honestly, it's just too risky to say. Kitten-proofing your home is a whole other topic and well worth researching before you get your kitten.
And as always, consult with your vet if you have any questions about whether your kitten's toys are safe, especially if you make them yourself.
5 great kitten toys
The best toys for kittens stimulate natural behaviors like chasing and pouncing. The very best kitten toys also look cute in your home.
Whether you've got a pouncer, a tunnel-lover, or a catnip afficionado, these toys are awesome picks, and your kitten would probably add them to their wish list if they had one.
Note: These are just toys that are cute, fun, and appear to be comparatively safe options. We don't get anything if you click on the links, and we can't vouch for the actual safety or construction of these kitten toys. Talk to your vet before you buy, and use your best judgment. Every kitten is different!
Who hasn't seen this classic banana toy? It's in every store for good reason. Made in the USA with organic catnip and durable cotton twill.
Hilarious messages. Perfect sizes. Filled with organic catnip Check, check, check.
I would buy all of these if I currently owned a cat (and I might buy them anyway, in case a cat visits).
These fishies are made from a blend of New Zealand and Himalayan wool, and they're super fun for an engaging playtime.
This is one of those toys that you'll want to put away when your kitten's not being supervised. (12-inch string doesn't mix well with crazy kittens.)
I've yet to meet a kitten that doesn't enjoy hide-and-seek. Or just plain hiding.
This crinkly tunnel's designed and handmade by US veterinarians, which kind of automatically makes me feel like it's safer than other toys.
But keep an eye on your kitten with this toy anyway, especially if they like to shred and eat paper.
It's so exciting to find a wooden ball track toy for cats that's not entirely made of super-bright, primary-colored plastic! This toy would look chic in any home, as it's made of a nice neutral wood. Your kitten will (hopefully) spend more than a few minutes with this toy.
One final point: the best kitten toys are fun, developmentally appropriate, and aren't likely to land your kitten in the emergency room.
But sometimes, despite your best efforts, your kitten gets into an accident or develops an illness.