Apr 23 2020

Choosing Toys for Your Cat

When your cat isn’t napping, eating, or grooming, odds are that they are playing.  Playtime for kitties is important for several reasons.  Cats in the wild get their exercise by hunting prey.  Your kitty at home has the same instincts to stalk, pounce, and swipe at critters.  Play helps keep your cat healthy, happy, and calm.

Play is an important part of building a bond between you and your feline friend.  “A lot of times people assume they are just being a ‘cat’ and don’t want to be affectionate,” says Jess Miller, Animal Care Manager at Wayside. “But just like dogs, you need to work on your bond with the animal and doing this through play is a great way to do it.“

Every cat is different and is attracted to different types of toys.  Some are attracted to sounds like jingle bells or crinkly material.  Others are more interested in different textures of fabric or material.  Experiment with a variety of toys with your furry friend to learn which types they respond to the most.  Jess recommends persistence when trying out new cat toys.  “Often times people will try to play with a toy for a minute and if the cat doesn’t show interest right away they stop and assume they don’t like it.  Cats are individuals and it can take them time to engage with a certain toy.  Even if the cat is just watching the toy it’s beneficial to them and stimulating.” 

Wand Toys

Wands with colorful fabric strips are a favorite among cats.  The movement of the ribbon mimics the movements of insects and other small critters.  Wand toys are especially handy for kitties who still have their claws intact by keeping your hands a good distance away from your cat’s sharp bits.  Be sure that all parts of your wand toy are firmly connected as kitties can pull strongly once they get a good grip.


Kitties love ball toys because their movements resemble the movements of mice and other small prey across the floor.  Ball toys can take many forms – ping pong balls, plastic cage jingle bell balls, even a ball of crinkled up paper.  However, don’t be surprised if you often have to retrieve your cat’s favorite ball toy from under the living room couch.

Catnip Toys

Catnip stuffed toys can bring the wild animal out of your sleepy house cat.  Catnip is a perennial herb in the mint family.  Most cats have a strong playful reaction when they sniff catnip.  Often they will roll, flip, and be hyperactive for about 10 minutes or so.  After the effect wears off expect your kitty to be fatigued and ready for some rest time.

Be aware that catnip can over-stimulate some kitties.  Your cat may also build a tolerance to catnip with frequent exposure.  We recommend using catnip sparingly, no more than a couple times a month.

Laser Pointers

Laser pointer cat toys are popular.  Kitties like laser dots because they are bright and move quickly like small prey.  Laser pointers make it easy for humans to encourage their cat to run, jump, and pounce wherever the little dot goes, giving your feline friend an intense workout with very little effort.  Even if your kitty is more interested in watching the laser dot than chasing it, they’re getting rich mental stimulation.

However, laser toys can have some drawbacks.  Be aware of how to use this toy properly for a safe and fun play experience:

  • Never shine the laser directly in the eyes (kitty, human, or otherwise)
  • Keep laser play limited to avoid overstimulation
  • Rotate laser play with other types of toys to provide a good variety of enrichment activities

DIY Cat Toys

You can save money and reuse household materials by crafting feline enrichment activities and toys. Our team created these handy tutorials to build your own Cat Puzzle Box, Cat Pom Pom Toys, and Cat Ring Toys.   For full tutorial instructions and other pins check out our Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/waysidewaifs/.

What to Avoid

  • Some cats may hold down toys and gnaw on them, so be sure to choose toys without small pieces of plastic, fabric, or other material that may come loose and be accidentally ingested.
  • Hair ties cats may ingest.

Don’t Forget to Put Your Toys Away

It’s a good idea to stow away your cat’s toys after playtime.  Each time you pull their toy back out to play it’s new and interesting.  This also allows you to closely monitor their interaction with the toy to prevent injury or ingestion of toy parts.

Whiskers & Wags Retail Store, located in the Wayside Waifs Adoption Center, has a large selection of toys, treats, and other enrichment goods for your furry friends.  “Most cat toys are interchangeable for kittens,” says Wayside Adoptions Manager Carolyn Law. “Whiskers and Wags does offer a couple of soft toys specifically for kittens.” Your Whiskers & Wags purchases support Wayside Waifs and provides life-saving medical care, food, and safe shelter to 6,000 homeless pets per year.

Apr 16 2020

Choosing Toys for Your Dog

Playtime and enrichment are essential to keeping your dog happy and healthy by burning anxious energy, building muscles and stamina, and improving their motor and social skills.  The right toys make all the difference.  Here are a few tips and tricks for choosing the right toys for your canine companion.

Hard Toys

Toys such as Nylabone® and Kong® are good examples of hard rubber toys.  The durable rubber is perfect for chewing and tugging so you don’t have to worry about your furry pal ingesting pieces of the toy.  These toys often have interesting textures and nubs for your dog to explore.  Kong® and similarly shaped toys are handy for very active dogs.  They are designed to hold treats that will keep your dog entertained for hours.

Soft Toys

Some dogs prefer soft stuffed toys.  However, these types of toys aren’t right for all dogs.  Carolyn Law, Adoptions Manager at Wayside, warns “watching closely for any shredding, tearing, or ingesting of toy parts is vital.”  When introducing your dog to soft toys be sure to keep watch and remove the toy if your dog starts to tear it.  

Many dogs like to carry around their “stuffy” as a companion.  If your dog is this type, make sure their stuffed toy is small enough to grip with their mouths, but not small enough to ingest.  If you are crafty you can also repurpose old towels or cloth into toys.  Your dog may especially enjoy a toy made of an old shirt that smells like you.

DIY Toys

You can save money and reuse household materials by crafting toys for canine enrichment activities. Our team created these handy and fun DIY dog toy tutorials to build your own Dog Pull Puzzle, Dog Treat Search, and Dog Treat Dispenser toys.  For full tutorial instructions and other pins check out our Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/waysidewaifs/.

What to Avoid

  • Cooked natural bones – these can splinter and damage your dog’s digestive tract
  • Ribbons, strings, long fibers – these can get caught in your dog’s teeth
  • Anything with small or sharp parts, like springs or batteries
  • Large pieces of rawhide can cause intestinal obstructions

Whiskers & Wags Retail Store, located in the Wayside Waifs Adoption Center, has a large selection of toys, treats, and other enrichment goods for your furry friends.  Your Whiskers & Wags purchase support Wayside Waifs and provides life-saving medical care, food and safe shelter to 6,000 homeless pets.

As always, when in doubt, reach out to your veterinarian.

Apr 1 2020

Spring is here! Are your pets protected?

Spring has sprung and with the return of warm weather is the chance to enjoy the outdoors in all of its glory. There’s nothing like going on an adventure with your best friend by your side! It’s important to protect them from parasites and pests such as fleas and ticks that you can encounter along the way. Even if your best friend doesn’t go outside to explore (such as your house cat), keeping them on a preventive is the best way to ensure you or your other pets don’t bring in unwanted pests. 

There are many forms of prevention for fleas and ticks including topical medication, oral medication, and collars. Learn about the products we use at Wayside for dogs and cats and have no fear exploring outside this Spring with your best friend being protected with preventatives like these from Bayer! 

Seresto Collars 

This flea and tick collar lasts for 8 months! While many have experienced flea and tick collars before, this is unlike any you’ve ever tried because it is incredibly efficient. There is no residue, no odor, and there is no need to remove it during bathing or if your pet gets into water. Perhaps the best benefit is the convenience because unlike monthly preventions, once you put this on you are good to go for 8 months of protection. Checkout our Whiskers and Wags store to purchase and rebate options! 

Advantage Multi 

This is a monthly topical prevention that goes on the back of your pets neck / in between their shoulder blades. This product prevents heartworm disease, kills fleas, and treats and controls roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and sarcoptic mange in dogs. The benefit of this product is the range of prevention covered but it’s important to notice that tick prevention is not included within this product. So you would need to combine a tick prevention with this, such as the Seresto Collar. Topicals typically take up to 24 hours to dry and refraining from bathing your pet during this time is recommended. If you have little ones at home, be sure to monitor that they don’t come into contact with where this product was applied on your pet until it fully dries. 

K9 Advantix II

This monthly topical repels fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes through contact as well as kills lice and repels biting flies. Checkout our Whiskers and Wags store to purchase and rebate options! 

Advantage II

This monthly topical kills fleas, kills flea eggs and larvae as well as treats and controls lice infestations. Checkout our Whiskers and Wags store to purchase and rebate options! 

Always consult with your veterinarian to figure out the best preventative options for you and your pet. Please note: while some of these products are available for anyone to purchase from our Whiskers and Wags retail store at Wayside Waifs, some are not due to also containing heartworm prevention which we are unable to sell to the public unless they have adopted the animal from us within a year. Please talk to your vet about purchasing products with heartworm prevention as these are also very important to keep your pet current on.

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