How To Have Play Time for Cats
How To Have Play Time for Cats
Play is an essential part of a cat’s routine. It is a valuable source of exercise and great for when you want to bond with your cat. Most importantly, playtime allows your cat to practice its natural hunting skills. Further, it can help your cat release aggression and stress, boost its confidence and it is good for when a cat is transitioning into a new home. If you find that your cat is acting up or behaving badly, it usually means that you are not giving it enough play time.
When it comes to cat playtime, there are two different types of play that your cat can engage in—interactive and solo. Interactive play occurs when both you and your cat play together. For example, if you had a wand toy with a string and attached target and you used it to play with the cat, this would be interactive play. Solo play is when your cat plays with its toys by itself. Good ways to promote solo play are to place toys around the house where your cat might find them in its curiosity. Other cats are also great, as they can find great entertainment in playing with each other if they are around the same age.
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Make sure that you provide your cat some toys and a scratching post. Cat toys need not be expensive. In fact, you can find stuff around the house that your cat will enjoy playing with for hours on end. For example, you can just crumple some paper into a ball and give it to your cat, and he will find it endlessly fascinating. Other suggestions are using ping-pong balls (make sure they are not broken), open paper bags (without the handle), and balls of yarn.
My cat’s favorite toy is a piece of rope that I flick in and out of their reach, or make them jump high in the air to reach. I used to use string, but one of my cats got in the bad habit of eating the string, so I found a slightly thicker piece of rope works much better. Also, feathers at the end of a long plastic handle are a favorite as well. Rotate the toys so that your cat will not be bored. You can also visit a pet shop and inquire about available toys for cats.
A nice place for your cat to hang out and be entertained on his own is by a window overlooking the street or garden. Make this window perch accessible and your pet will appreciate it. I keep my windows open all the time, with the screen down of course, and my cats just love to sit there and see what is going on outside. I also will take a handful of birdseed and sunflower seeds and throw it outside the screen door, and my cats especially love watching all the birds and squirrels that come to eat it.
You can also buy a cat tree or kitty condo. This is a structure that your cat can climb and perch on. The trunk and branches of the cat tree are usually covered in carpet or a rough material called sisal that cats enjoy scratching.
One really fun game that you can play with your cat is to use a wand toy and let the cat go “hunting.” Get the cat’s attention by putting the end of the toy on the floor and stringing it along, varying your speed. When you see your cat crouch down and ready to pounce, that is a sign that he or she is exercising its hunting skills. You can pull the toy away from the cat’s reach a few times but always make sure that you let it win eventualluy. This helps build confidence.
Sometimes a cat doesn’t usually need much to be entertained. It also likes spending many hours alone doing nothing. But remember that you need to play with it too. It will appreciate your presence more than any toy you can provide. Playtime is the perfect time to bond with your pet and get to know one another. If you notice your cat is being especially bad, it is usually because you are not playing with it enough and tiring it out. Playtime is especially important if your cat doesn’t have any other cats around the same age to play with.
More Tips on Play Time With Your Cat
- Put the toys away after playing, otherwise your cat may lose interest in them
- Let your cat set the pace of playtime
- Don’t make the games too easy but always let the cat win
- Allow cats to play together if you have several of them
- Give out treats after a good, hard play session
- Stop playing for 10 to 15 minutes after your cat has won
- Stop playing if your cat is not into it after a few minutes
- Don’t use your hands as toys—that can encourage biting or scratching
- Don’t pin or wrestle your cat
- Don’t put toys in your cat’s face—let it hunt
- Don’t end playtime suddenly—have a cool down session
Fun Toys For Playing With Your Cat
Cat Dancer 301 – This is a fun toy for encouraging your cat to get some exercise by jumping around and chasing after the string on this toy. It is great for interactive play.
Smart Cat 3833 Peek-A-Prize Pet Toy Box – This really cool puzzle game is great for encouraging cats to play on their own. You can hide your cat’s favorite toys in this box and then let them try to get them out themselves. It’s really handy for keeping cats busy, especially when they’re the kind that likes to get into everything.
Play-N-Squeak MouseHunter – This is another great toy that can be used for solo play and it looks just like a real mouse so it is bound to keep your cat busy for a while. This toy can be useful for encouraging your cat to bring out its natural hunting instincts and it comes with catnip to keep him or her really entertained.
SmartyKat CrackleChute Collapsible Tunnel – This small tunnel makes a crackling sound with every step of your cat’s paw, which most cats really love. It’s a really good toy for when you have several cats, as they like to chase each other through it. Kittens also really seem to enjoy this toy.
Go Cat Catcher Teaser Wand With Mouse – This is another great interactive toy that cats love. You and your cat can have hours of fun with this toy as you drag the mouse along and watch your cat try to catch it.
Also be sure to check out the cat toys at your local pet store, as they may have a more unique selection.
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