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Survey Says: The Best Toys for CH Cats

December 2, 2011

Photo courtesy jharuska

A few months ago I wrote a post similar to this for the CH Kitty Club Newsletter, but I wanted to update it and share it here, since some of you may consider these toys for your CH cats’ Christmas stockings!

While some may scoff at cat toys (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say their cats have too many toys), they really do play an important part in your cat’s life. Even if your cat won’t play with them unless you initiate playtime and help move the toys around, they’re important tools that simulate your cat’s mind and keep your cat moving.

Just as with any cat, playtime is an excellent opportunity for your cat to get some exercise, form a deeper bond with you, and if your cat has cerebellar hypoplasia, help build muscle and work on coordination. There’s even some scientific proof that your cat’s brain may learn to re-wire itself, so to speak, so your cat’s CH very well may improve over time if your cat stays active.

Cats, like people, have different preferences, so finding a toy that interests your cat may be a bit difficult. However, it’s not impossible. When shopping for cat toys, look for a number that will stimulate your cat in different ways (sight: laser pointers, sound: paper bags, smell: catnip, etc.). Some toy brands now explain the toy’s purpose and how it will stimulate your cat on the toy’s packaging. You can always buy a few of the cheaper toys, they usually come individually in bins, to see which type your cat likes best. 

After reaching out to the CH Kitty Club community for input, here are a few favorite toys and activities that may help improve your CH cat’s coordination and mobility over time.

Photo courtesy Mr. Ducke

Cat trees and condos: Give your CH cat the benefit of the doubt and let her try climbing a sturdy cat tree. Find one that’s not too tall (you can find a number that are 2-3 feet tall, CG has this one), and will remain upright as your cat climbs it. This will help them build muscle, like John’s Princess, and will give them a sense of satisfaction. You can even place cat trees strategically near windows — so your cat can climb up and look out whenever she’d like.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is how capable your cat is to get down. Many may just jump down/flop to the floor. If this is a case, consider placing a small area rug underneath for extra padding and grip.


Wand toys: Ribbons on a stick and feather toys can be enticing toys for your cat. Since you’re in control of where and how quickly the toy moves, you become a vital role in playtime. You can determine how much running around or batting at the toy your cat will do. Toys that cats have to bat at are great because they help work on balance and coordination. If your cat has trouble batting a toy mid-air, simply scoot the toy along the floor.

These toys easily keep a cat’s attention, but may intimidate/scare others. Always remember to put away ribbon toys after playing as your cat could accidentally strangle himself.

Laser pointers: These mesmerize kitties like Elise’s Hippa and Nanako, and can be purchased for about $5 at a pet store. Let your cat run around after the light, and give them a chance to focus on and pounce on the light. If your cat isn’t too coordinated, try playing on carpet so they have something to grip on to while playing.

If your cat loves the laser pointer but you’re not always around to play, consider an automatic laser toy. Simply set the timer and the device will shine the laser around your room for your cat’s enjoyment.

Stuffed toys: Bean bag toys and small stuffed animals may become a favorite of your cat, like Kristie’s Riley Dean. If they’re large enough, your cat may bite and kick at them, which will help with coordination.

Catnip: Since catnip impacts cats in different ways (it calms some and stimulates others), you’ll know best if this is a good option for you. It may be a good option if your kitty isn’t too active, and if a little catnip gets them on their feet and moving around!


Other toys: Lizzie’s Tardy and Ziggy enjoy the ball-in-a-circle tube toy. This helps with coordination as they have to put their paws in the tube to move the ball. It also allows you to play with them, which is always fun.

Ball toys and plastic milk-cap rings may also be a good option as your cat is likely to bat at and chase after them. Even smartphones and tablet devices have games for cats now that can help them work on coordination.

You don’t need to spend tons of money on toys either. Christy’s Flip loves paper balls and the cords on a sweatshirt. Janice’s Jewel loves playing with “palms” from church and her crinkle sack (if you don’t have one, try a paper bag!).

While you may not see an immediate difference in your cat’s coordination and mobility, be patient and continue with playtime throughout his lifetime. The exercise alone is good for him, and stronger muscles will lead to additional confidence and possibly more!

What is your cat’s favorite toy? Which ones do you think help build your cat’s strength and coordination? Please share!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2011 6:34 am

    Elf enjoys string & wand toys when I play with her. Catnip bubbles (we haven’t tried plain ones) are a big hit, especially if we have a fan on or ot’s a breezy day, so the bubbles roll along the rug. When I began worrying at how sedentary she was, I bought a laser toy and it’s definitely her favorite…and has helped her lose a few ounces and build a little back leg strength. Solo, she loves balls, especially feathered jingle bells.

  2. Catherine Paciotti permalink
    December 3, 2011 7:58 am

    My Dotty loves playing with pens. A friend of mine even brought me over a bunch with the ink part removed. She spins and rolls them around, and picks them up in her mouth and trots around the house with them, and invariably, loses them. I find them under throw rugs, when I open closet doors, and underneath furniture.

  3. Tammy permalink
    December 3, 2011 10:37 pm

    My CH kitty Boo Boo, loves for me to wad up the stiff paper that goes around skeins of yarn into a ball. He can chase them and then bring them back to me with his mouth so I can throw them again. He’s learned to bring them back to me when I tell him to plus, he looks so cute toting around the paper ball in his mouth. My other CH Kitty Faith loves her little cat tree. It’s only about 3 feet tall but it has the saddle perch so that she can lounge without fear of rolling off the side. Beneath the saddle is a large round tunnel which she can step down on to help her get off the perch

  4. JacquieB permalink
    December 4, 2011 1:02 am

    Percy enjoys playing with those krinkly plastic grocery store bags. He is not ambulatory (he flops) and the bags stimulate his playfulness because they do not roll or move away from him and they fluff up and make krinkly noises as he ‘attacks’ them. He easily tears them up when he gets feisty.

    • Catherine Paciotti permalink
      December 5, 2011 10:20 am

      Dotty loves the grocery bags too. When I come home from the store and she sees me bringing in the bags, she gets excited (and it makes the chore so much more fun for me), because as I empty each one, I drop it onto her, and she skids across the floor on top of it. Pretty soon there’s a pile of plastic bags with Dotty in the middle of them just having a ball. It’s the cutest thing ever!

  5. January 21, 2012 11:01 am

    Our CH cat loves this cat tunnel we bought her. She barrels through and the sides give her extra support. We bought ours at Jysk, but I have also seen a similar tunnel at IKEA.

    She also loves the ‘ball in a tube’. We have one that is wider in diameter than the one above and she lies down in the middle of it and bats the ball around.

  6. Dan permalink
    February 22, 2021 5:38 pm

    My Sophonesba has a very mild case of CH. it mostly makes her clumsy. I would like to build her a night tall play tree but only if I can figure out a way that she can get down without jumping. She uses stairs to get up on the bed but INSISTS on jumping down. She’s a very obstinate and I’ll-tempered little cat (but adorable and much loved).

    Has anyone come up with a compact solution for climbing up and down? I would much rather that she had a good play tree to climb up instead of my upholstered furniture.

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