Why Play Is Essential
Play is an important way for cats and kittens to stay physically fit and mentally alert. When kittens play, they are also practising the hunting behaviour they would naturally use in the wild. Very young kittens spend the first few weeks of their lives wrestling with the other kittens in their litter, and learning basic eye-to-paw coordination.
Never use fingers or toes as toys, it can develop into a painful habit when your cat grows up
This social play peaks at around 12 to 14 weeks when it changes to prey-oriented play, so youll probably bring your kitten home just as she starts to identify objects to chase and pounce upon.
Games To Play With Your Cat
When we think of a playful, rambunctious pet, we often think of a dog. But cats love to play too! Like all other animals, each cat will have different personality traits, and they may not like all the same games another cat does.
The age of your cat matters too. If you adopt an older cat, they will already have many habits formed from previous life experiences and relationships. If you decide to get a kitten, they are more malleable and more likely to adapt to games that you teach them.
In either case, it doesnt hurt to try multiple toys, games, or activities with your cat to discover what they truly enjoy. These experiences can help bond your relationship together and keep your cat active.
Although cats love to play chase the laser or catch the feathers on the fishing rod, we arent going to include those in our list. Still, these are two classic cat favorites that you should still try if you havent yet!
Whichever game you choose to play with your cat, try to keep them active and engaged at least 10 minutes a day. Playing with them frequently throughout the day is ideal, but if youre short on time, even a quick play session is better than nothing.
Out of town for a few days and need someone to stop by and play with your kitty? We have the Pawfect pet sitters for that! Theyll give your fur baby all the love and attention they need while youre out of town.
When Should I Play With My Cat
You should always tailor play sessions to your cats personality, age and daily rhythm. For example, if your cat wakes you up at night, make time to play before you head to bed. Indoor cats build up energy, which has to be spent, so play for 15-20 minutes in the evening and youll both get better sleep.
If your cat runs to find the noisiest toys, the second your head hits the pillow, start playing with Fluffy before bed-time and dont stop actively engaging him until hes ready to settle down! Pelmear advises.
You could also try giving your pet a catnip toy at bedtime some cats love self-play before they settle in for the night. Other cats enjoy playing before eating. This copies the natural behavior of cats: the first hunt, then eat. However, if you notice that your cat gets energetic and bouncy after it eats, use this time for a game.
On the other hand, if your cat is most excited when you come home after work, use this period to bond and incorporate a 15-minute play session in your routine. You can make that a nice ritual that will strengthen your bond.
So try a different approach and see what works best for you and your furry playmate. Consider playing with your cat regularly and making it a ritual.
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What Do Cats Like To Play With
Cats like movement so the toy must be one that can move in rapid and unpredictable ways, just like a mouse or bird. Toys that reflect light or appear to change in some way are particularly attractive. Cats also like toys with different textures that are around the size of their natural prey . Many cats love squeaky toys but some cats are startled by them so introduce them carefully.
You can increase the interest your cat shows in a toy by rubbing the toy in catnip . About 50 per cent of cats will respond to the active but harmless chemical in this herb, by miaowing and rolling.
Cats can become bored with the same toys so be sure to swap the toys every few days to keep your cat interested.
Why Should I Play With My Cat
Playing with your cat is very important for several reasons. It not only helps your cat release built-up energy, but it also prevents undesirable habits, such as picking fights with other pets or scratching the sofa.
Moving also helps your cat maintain a healthy weight and keeps muscles and joints strong, which can help a cat live longer. On top of this, playing keeps the animals mind active and alert. Cats are intelligent creatures and need mental stimulation.
Games help lower stress levels, too for cats and humans. So while playing can help you recharge, it also helps stressed cats wind down. Dont forget that stressed cats often develop behavioral problems such as urine spraying.
Cats are more likely to exhibit unwanted behaviors when they arent exerting themselves during playtime, explains Jolene Pelmear, who’s helped make cats more adoptable at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
While health problems should always be ruled out by a vet, many of the common cat-owner complaints can be fixed by regular, active playtimes and an enriched environment, Pelmear points out.
Games can also help socialize kittens and shy cats. They build confidence in timid cats, so if you have a timid kitty, let it capture the toy often throughout your play sessions.
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Playing With Your Cat: Toys Games & How Often To Play
Playing with your cats is an important part of maintaining their health and your bond with them. Luckily, they love to play!
Providing opportunities for solo play is particularly important for indoor cats, especially if they spend much of the day alone. Kittens and adult cats are both stimulated by the same sort of games, though kittens don’t require a great deal of encouragement to get started. Cat play is almost entirely about simulating behavior associated with hunting.
The right toys. The first thing you’re going to want to find is a proper toy to play with your cat. If you’re trying to stimulate prey hunting behavior you don’t want to use your hands. Even if your cat is gentle, she might bite if she becomes too excited. You want your cat to associate your hands with petting and feeding, not hunting and killing.
Sound stimulation. Toys that have bells or ‘squeakers’ are especially good to give your cat if she is likely to be left on her own because the noise acts as an extra stimulus.
The important point to remember with all these toys is that you need to alternate them to prevent boredom. Don’t just throw all your cats toys on the floor and leave them. Cats are very smart and will tire of toys quickly. Instead, put out only one or two toys and change them regularly. This will be far more interesting for your cat.
Channel Your Inner Bird
Whether you want to call it a cat wand or feather teaser, a rod with a feather or toy on the end is loved by cats the world over, but only when youre on the other end.
When lying motionless on the floor, Ms Kitty will walk past the cat wand without giving it a second glance. So, when introducing this toy to your cats playtime, think about how they would stalk their prey and try to move accordingly. For example, glide the feather or toy slowly and enticingly along the ground, moving away from your cat to encourage her to follow.
Wait for her to watch, stalk, and wiggle her bottom, then just as she pounces, pull the toy up into the air, being as graceful as a bird taking flight. The more your movements mirror those of a prey animal, the more likely you are to get your cat to play, especially if theyre a bit of a couch potato and carrying a few extra pounds. And do let Ms Kitty catch the feather or toy now and then. You want a cat with a decent success rate and high self-esteem! Remember to always keep energetic games for just before mealtimes if possible to avoid lethargy and indigestion.
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Playing With Your Cat
We want our cats to be happy and healthy. Playing with your cat is an important step in achieving that. Even for cats, which are miss-characterized as aloof, antisocial animals.
The domestic cat benefits from regular play sessions. Ideally, 10-30 minute sessions every day. Not only does it create a healthy, socialized individual. It grows and reinforces the bond between you and your cat.
All of this is especially true for owners with only a single cat. Households with more than one cat often see those cats bond and interact with each other daily. That is, if the cats get along, which isnt always guaranteed.
A bored cat is one that will exhibit destructive behavior. Regular play sessions provide your cat with mental stimulation, giving it an outlet for its energy and instincts. Without this outlet, that energy becomes restless, and so too does the cat.
Animal Welfare describes destructive behavior in cats as any one or more of the following acts:
- Excessive vocalization
- Aggressive behavior towards other cats or owners
Socialization happens through play. Your cat learns many things from you during play, but it also builds trust and a bond. This is especially important when you bring a new cat into your home. That relationship needs to be built and reinforced. Play is a key way to achieve and maintain that.
Senior cats may struggle with the more active means of play, and this will mean adapting how play sessions unfold.
Try Out Popular Activities
Kittens love to hide, chase, pounce and climb, so any of these activities will keep your young cat entertained. Cardboard boxes, tunnels and empty paper bags are fun to hide in, while feather teasers and fishing rods are perfect for chasing and swiping. Try hiding a toy or a small treat inside an empty toilet roll, and use a torch or a laser beam to create a moving beam of light to chase. Dont forget to encourage mobility and balance with a climbing frame, and use a scratching post to direct unwanted scratching away from furniture.
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Games That Tap Into Their Inner Hunter
1. Bird Games
These games involve waving feather wand toys or other cat toys that require your cat to leap in the air and try to capture the flying object in her front paws. Select a safe, spacious area of your home so that your cat does not fly into any furniture.
2. Pounce Games
To play pounce properly, provide your cat with a way to be able to leap on an object moving on the ground. Create a target by moving your fingers under a bedspread or a throw blanket on the sofa. Many cats seem to appear whenever you try to put on fresh sheets on your bed you want to make the bed, but they see this as a great opportunity to play, says Miller.
3. Rabbit Games
These games bring out a cats natural instinct to pull a toy into her belly while on her back, kick with her back legs and shake and bite a toy prey. Catnip-filled toy mice and lightweight fur toys with feathers are popular choices. You toss the toy across the floor for your cat to grab and deliver a few punches with her back legs.
4. Hide-and-Seek Games
These exercises unleash the predatory nature in cats, many of whom delight in the ability to hide and wait for their prey. That explains why your cat may hide under a skirted table or under your bed, and then spring out and make a surprise attack on your feet. Ouch! Save your toes by flushing your cat from her hiding spot by tossing a paper wad or cat toy for her to attack.
How To Play With A Cat Fun Games To Play With Them
Whether your cat is a furry bundle of energy or more of a chilled out moggy, its important that they have the opportunity to show their playful side.
As well as being great for their physical health all that running, jumping and pouncing helps to prevent them from becoming a bit chunky play is also great for their mental wellbeing. Not only does it keep boredom at bay but playing games and catching objects also releases happy hormones in their brain, which is why they want to do it again and again… and again.
Setting aside some time to play with your cat is a great way to strengthen the bond between you. If your cat is quite shy, gently encouraging them to play cat games will help build their confidence and theyll learn to associate those happy hormones with spending time with you. If your cat is quite hyperactive already, then regular play sessions will hopefully wear them out a bit, so theyll be more relaxed later and might even give you a chance at a lie-in.
There are lots of different ways you can encourage your cat to play games, here are a few ideas
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When To Play With Your Kitten
Kittens are often most alert early in the morning and then in the evening, making these the prime times for play. Use a favourite toy and keep play sessions short: 10 to 15 minutes a couple of times each day will engage your kitten enough that theyll be content with solo exploring, playing or sleeping for the rest of the day.
What Is How To Rpg With Your Cat
We all know your cat is ready to play tabletop rpgs with you. they been letting you by jumping on map and batting dice minis around. How to RPG with your Cat is a Tabletop RPG where your cat, as a minion of chaos, acts as the dice. This game can either be played as a standalone RPG or integrated into other existing RPG.
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When And How Should I End A Play Session With My Cat
When you play with your cat, mimic hunting behavior and, in the end, let your pet make the kill. Simply slow down the action and let the prey get tired so that the cat can catch it. Then, leave your cat with its capture.
If your cat loses interest in the game before that, dont pressure it to continue however, keep in mind that cats often lose interest in a toy, so try a different one before giving up. Once the play session is over, put all toys away so your cat doesnt lose interest. When a toy disappears, it remains appealing.
As mentioned earlier, another reason to keep toys away is to avoid accidents. Make sure your cat doesnt have unsupervised access to strings, tinsel, plastic bags, rubber bands, milk jug rings, paper clips, and anything else that could be ingested and cause serious issues and even surgery.
White Rabbit Sack Race
Remember when the White Rabbit hopped its way through the forest and into the rabbit hole under the tree? Now itâs your time to hop your way across the room, through and around a DIY tree with a rabbit hole, and back to the starting line.
There can be two teams with equal numbers of players per team. A literal sack will be provided for each team and once the game master signals Go!, each player should make his or her way through the agreed course and then back to the starting line in order to pass the sack to the next player who will take his turn. The first team to finish wins.
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Combining Cat Food And Play
As well as movement, food also tends to be a good motivator for cats so try creating a game by combining playtime with dinnertime.
Puzzle feeders and other feeding enrichment toys encourage your cat to work a bit for their food, providing more physical and mental stimulation than simply using a food bowl.
There are lots of these toys you can buy in pet shops and online, but you can also easily make your own by recycling items youd usually throw away, such as toilet roll tubes and egg boxes. Watch our video on homemade cat feeding toys to find out how.
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Its not just dogs that can learn new tricks. Cats can be trained to do all sorts of things, from the basics like going through a cat flap to more ambitious feats like jumping over obstacles and even playing noughts and crosses!
As long as the training is done using positive reinforcement, such as offering a treat or fuss when they get it right, then it can be a great bonding experience thats fun for both of you. Just remember to be patient with your trainee and keep the sessions short to give them a break from these games every now and then.
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For lots of ideas for how you can train your cat, take a look at our blog series on cat training.
For lots more advice on how to play with your cat visit our Cats and play page.