If you need to spruce up your home with some cat essentials, you are in the right place. I recently adopted a kitten and have already gone through a number of toys, furniture, and treats that I hoped would appeal to her interests. The products reviewed below are not a complete list of what a cat needs to live. Rather, it is a list of eight products I've deemed a success (yay!) with respect to my cat's happiness. I would recommend giving any of them a shot. Luckily, every single one of these products can be purchased online, and most can be returned should they not work out.
Let us begin!
# 1: The Turbo Scratcher
The Turbo Scratcher is a two-in-one device: part scratcher part toy. It's truly a great deal. Now, I purchased the Turbo Scratcher as a third attempt to get my cat to use a scratching post (they can be picky, those felines). Despite my best efforts, she still refuses the scratcher, but the toy component is awesome. It's a ball spinning in a circular track, ideal for some contained kitty soccer. The scratcher is about 16 inches in diameter, and comes with catnip (always a plus).
#2: Pet Taxi (Carrier)
What cat companion doesn't want their kitty to ride around in (affordable) style? This carrier is fashionable (it comes in 3 great colors), affordable (only $18), and durable. It's equipped with eyelets for shoulder straps, making it ideal for smaller animals. My cat seems to love it too, probably because of the ample (all sides) ventilation. It's either that or the claustrophila!
#3: Toy Mouse
I would vouch for this toy to my grave. Yes, it sounds simple: a stuffed mouse. I've at this point tried several stuffed-something toys, ranging from fruit (apples and bananas) to fish. My cat will sniff and paw at those for a couple of seconds, but quickly gets bored. The mouse works without fail. Possibly because cats are natural hunters, and mice are their worst frenemies.
#4: Feather On A String Toy
Another toy I would vouch for to my grave. Seriously, I have not seen a cat not go nuts over some good ole feather-on-a-string. Technically, the toy has feathers attached to a string, attached to a pole. This configuration makes it easy to use, but also, easy to destroy. My cat demolished hers in two weeks. Now all that is left are three mangled feathers attached to a ball. Luckily these toys are inexpensive and replaceable.
#5: Cat Condo
A cat condo is a necessity in any cat household. Cats love to be perched up on something when napping or grooming themselves. I decided to get two cylindrical cubby-like condo pieces and stack them below the window (good placement for an indoor-only cat). My cat can be found relaxing on it at least a few hours each day. A cat condo is permanent cat territory, and it's an especially great investment for those who wish to minimize the amount of time their cat spends on human furniture.
#6: Boxes And Such
Need I say more? This might be a gimme to some, but anytime you've got some cardboard boxes around, consider it free cat entertainment. The nice thing is: it doesn't matter what condition the box is in! You could be packing something inside, opening an existing package, or simply moving one around. I purposely leave boxes lying around for a couple of extra days because my cat gets a kick out of it.
#7: Liv-A-Little Treats
This is kitty-crack, I swear. These treats are high in protein and contain no chemicals, preservatives, or animal by-products. Halo makes fantastic, all natural pet food products, and my cat simply adores these treats. They are 100% chicken (or salmon) bits that have been freeze-dried. Apart from being great treats, Liv-A-Littles can work as meal enhancements. Just crumble a little bit on top of your kitty's food. It may just do the trick.
# 8: Balls (With Bells!)
Balls are great for free-range kitty soccer. But balls with bells?? You're cat will be ready for the World Cup in no time. Just like the feather-on-a-string toy, balls with bells are inexpensive must-haves, particularly for kittens. Hopefully you won't mind fishing after them when they get caught under beds and couches, otherwise they are definitely worth it.
Tara Yates on September 30, 2014:
I love how each cat has its own unique personality. My two cats for example don't care one bit for any stuffed animal, including mice. They also don't care for catnip, doesn't work on them. They must be the only cats in the universe who don't like catnip? One of my cats however goes absolutely BALLISTIC if I take out a variant on your #4, a sort of fishing rod with feathers. The other couldn't care less...
I am definitely going to give #1 on your list a shot though, looks interesting! Always great to read articles about cats ;)
Marina (author) from San Francisco, CA on May 02, 2012:
Rusti Mccollum: The toy mouse is simple, yet amazing. My cat (Pinky) is not that fond of cat nip, which I am still in disbelief about. Glad that you enjoyed the Hub, and thanks for commenting!
Ruth McCollum from Lake Oswego, Oregon on May 01, 2012:
I LOVED this,at one time I had rescued 11 cats. I gave all of them a great home, until they passed. I too, swear by the toy mouse! Also all but maybe one of them loved cat nip! I still have one named Casper from those I rescued and he hears the cat nip bag and here he is! lol great Hub thanks from one cat lover to another. "trouble" aptly named, is my newest rescue .We only have 4 cats left counting trouble.She's mama's baby. Give her a cat nip mouse and she's double trouble.
Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on April 30, 2012:
This is very useful! Great idea for a hub!