A lifetime animal lover, Errin West shares her life, her home and her office with several complicated felines and one not-so-complicated dog.
Errin West
Cat Connection
14233 Inwood Road
Dallas, TX, 75244
(972) 386-6369
www.catconnection.netErrin West is the co-owner of the Cat Connection, Dallas-Fort Worth’s premier feline resource since 1985. Owned and operated by cat lovers, the Cat Connection offers the widest selection of premium and natural cat products, full service boarding and grooming facilities and community cat events, including the Dallas Cat Café, a pop-up adoption café featuring local cat rescues.

Safety FirstWhen it comes to your pets, safety should always be first over cuteness. Toys for other animals or people toys are not necessarily the best or safest toys for cats. They could have small parts or use materials that affect cats’ health, especially when it comes to cat towers. Cat towers must be stable and on even ground so as not to fall over and injure your pet. They should be strong enough to support the weight of a few pets, their movements and in good shape. Errin says,Regularly inspect toys for rips, tears or broken pieces that could injure your cat during play or if swallowed, and be sure to supervise your cat when playing with favorite toys, hiding them after the play session is finished so your cat cannot injure herself.”

Cat-Friendly MaterialsFeline toys, cat tunnels and towers should use the best materials available that are intended for pets. Good materials for cat accessories include cardboard, sisal rope and other natural materials. Some cats just paw at their toys, towers and tunnels; others scratch, bite and even eat them. For that reason, know your cat. If your cat does bite and eat her toys, the materials must be non-toxic and natural. Some good materials could include feathers, hide and fur. Errin advises pet owners to steer clear of plastic, wire and certain fabrics that could harm or choke your cat.

Get CreativeGetting appropriate, fun and eye-catching cat toys does not necessarily mean spending your whole paycheck, even on something as large as a cat tunnel or cat tower. Make sure what you purchase fits safely in your home and between your furniture to prevent accidents. In fact, Errin offers the idea that you can create a better environment for your cat by just making your home cat-friendly and cat-proofed. “Sometimes simply rearranging your own furniture to be more cat-friendly is enough. Shelves, bookcases and tables can be used to create a vertical world for your cat to play, and a well-placed bird feeder offers hours of entertainment for house cats.”

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Embrace The Natural CatDon’t let the sweet, purring pet in front of you fool you. Even darling domesticated friends still need to expend their natural energies and instincts. They need to chase and scratch and exercise regularly. Do not neglect to give your cat at least one scratching post to ensure they have a way to express those needs. In fact, Errin suggests,Multiple scratching posts are essential in any home, as they allow cats to mark their territory in an acceptable way, as well as relieve stress, anxiety and other negative emotions. For maximum engagement, toys should resemble natural prey, including birds, bugs and mice.”

Get To Know Your CatDon’t believe that every cat will enjoy the same toys and cat tunnels and towers. You know your cat and her personality, her likes and dislikes. You also know what fits best into your lifestyle with your cat. Carefully observe your cat’s behavior. What do they prefer to play with and do ,and when do they choose to do it? What do they seek out to do that is missing? Errin points out, “Some cats love to survey their territory from up high, while others prefer to watch the world from a hidden spot on the ground. Find what your cat loves and purchase items to help her be the best cat she can be.”

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Kena Sosa is a freelance writer in Dallas. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.