In this article I’ll be sharing with fun ways on how to play with a cat. Whether you already have a cat or are adopting one I hope to inspire you.
Many people see cats as being aloof or sleeping all day. While it’s true that cat’s spend at least 16 hours a day asleep, most are certainly not aloof.
Although dogs can be noisy and boisterous, cats tend to be calmer and quiet natured. This often means they can be ignored.
While a dog is walked everyday by it’s owner, cats tend to do their own thing. You’d never take a cat for a walk over the park and throw sticks!
Most would look at you disdainfully as if you’d finally flipped! Not to mention passers by lol! Seriously though, cats need mental stimulation as well as exercise, and playing with your cat addresses both.
Before we jump into 7 fun ways to play with a cat, I wanted to share a few essential points about cats and play.
Why playing with your cat is important
Apart from mental stimulation and exercise, paying with your cat also helps bonding. Cats lose interest if you fail to interact with them. Rather than coming to you for cuddles you’ll simply be seen as the provider of food!
Playing with your cat also stops boredom and lowers the chances of obesity. Think about when you’re bored or stressed.
Chances are you reach for the biscuit tin or indulge in that last slice of cake. I know I do, and our pets are no different.
While you or I can relieve boredom by enjoying a pastime or hobby, your cat exhibits destructive behavior. In some cases a bored cat will claw furniture simply out of frustration.
Not only is playing with your cat good for the cat, but you as well. This is because cats are great stress busters.
In fact, stroking your cat can lower blood pressure, reducing risk of stroke or heart attack. This is something you should consider if you don’t think you have time to play with your cat!
Playing with a kitten
Young kittens are like babies and need gentle handling. Before you bring your kitten home she will have spent her first six to eight weeks with her littermates and mum.
She will have instinctively kept her sharp claws retracted during play. This ensures her siblings and mum don’t get hurt in the process!
However, by the time your kitty is 3 months old she’ll start using her claws during play sessions. This is because she’ll be focused on attacking objects rather than her brothers and sisters!
This means she’ll be practicing her hunting skills which is vital for a kitten’s development. What this means for you is you’ll need to keep your fingers out of the way lol!
Fishing rod toys such as feather wands direct focus away from your hand. Also throwing soft toys for her to pounce on is a good idea.
How to play with a cat that’s senior
As your cat ages she’ll be less inclined to play. As well as this she may spend more time sleeping. While this is perfectly normal it’s still a good idea to encourage your kitty to play a few low key games.
By this I mean ones that require less jumping and pouncing. This is more important if your cat has arthritis or painful joints.
Often cats get bored with the same toys, and older cat’s tastes can change. For example feather wands may be more appealing as they encourage gentle play.
Just like elderly humans, stamina can be on short supply. You can get round this by engaging your cat to play in shorter sessions.
Try buying a few catnip toys as they’ll attract your cat if she’s sensitive to the herb. Catnip is completely harmless and can boost your cat’s wellbeing.
Senior kitties need just as much play and social interaction as their younger felines. NEVER force your cat to play if she’s not willing.
You may end up scaring her as well as damage the bond between you both. Your intentions may be good, but always use gentle and encouraging methods.
Here are your 7 fun ways to play with a cat!
Why not try one of these fun games to help bond with your kitty!
1 Hide and seek.
Hide and seek is a fun game most young kids enjoy, and one that your cat can play. Get a small toy and attach to a piece of string, then place underneath a large cloth or blanket.
Then, simply wriggle the toy using quick movements and watch your kitty pounce. Be careful though, and mind your fingers!
2 Food puzzle games
Food puzzles are great as they make your cat work for her food. This can help tackle obesity as well as provide mental stimulation.
Although you can buy food puzzle toys, or you can also make your own. Simply get an empty cardboard box and cuts holes of varying sizes in the sides.
They must be big enough for your cat to get her paws through. Then, place a few treats as well as toys inside. Replace the lid and have fun watching your cat work out how to get the treats.
Cats are great problem solvers and your kitty will soon find a way of pulling the treats through the holes. Make sure you have enough holes though, so your cat is able to see the toys and treats.
3 Fun with empty boxes
Just as toddlers often prefer an empty box to the toy it came in, so cats have a similar fascination. Place a few toys inside a large empty box and your cat will be inside within minutes!
4 Hunt the treats
If you’ve ever played hunt the Easter egg with your kids this is very similar. Instead of eggs though, you’ll be using kitty treats!
Firstly, you’ll need to your cat used to the idea of scavenging for her food. Though it’s a natural instinct, most well fed cats don’t scavenge as they’re used to having bowls of food put in front of them.
Start by waiting until your cat is hungry, then place a few treats in easy to find places while she’s watching. Once your kitty gets the idea, place treats in harder to find places.
For example, on a cat tree, bookshelf, inside a toy, or even a inside a small empty box. Don’t think for a minute this game is too hard as your cat’s sense of smell is fourteen times greater than yours.
This game is excellent for honing your cat’s hunting skills and keeping her kitty mind sharp! Just don’t overdo the treats!
5 smartphone games for cats
Believe it or not, there are apps you can download on your smartphone or tablet designed for cats! Some like “Games For Cats” are similar to laser pointer games. You can also get “Mouse For Cats” and “Cat Fishing.”
If your kitty has artistic skills you can even get “Paint For Cats” on Ipad. At just $2, it can provide mental stimulation and fun for your cat. You never know, your cat may turn out to be the next Picasso!
6 Chasing bubbles
Blowing bubbles can provide a fun way to entertain your cat. You’ll enjoy watching her chase and pounce on them. Always use non-toxic products though to keep your cat safe.
You can even get catnip bubbles which are specially formulated for cats. This is great if your cat is sensitive to the herb, as you’ll have fun watching her chase and try to eat the bubbles.
While some cats seem to enjoy retrieving items naturally, most have be trained. Since retrieving is part of a cats hunting instinct it shouldn’t be to difficult to train your cat.
Always reward your cat and praise her. While dogs obey commands to please their owners, cats don’t.
Your cat will only play fetch if there’s something in it for her. She has no concept of the word “please”! Learning how to train your cat to fetch isn’t hard but does require a lot of patience.
Now you know how to play with a cat and why it’s so important, I hope you feel inspired. As you can see, with just a bit of imagination there are plenty of fun games.
Whether you have a young kitten or a golden oldie, play is an important part of a cat’s life. Not only is it good for your cat’s health and wellbeing but bonding as well.
You only need to spend about twenty minutes a day, but give your cat your full attention during that time. Whether your feline friend enjoys spending her time outdoors or not, play is essential.
It’s not all about exercise though that’s vital for your cat’s health. Mental stimulation and bonding are hugely important as well.
Just because a cats are quiet natured often means it’s easy to forget they’re around. Whereas a dog will bark and jump on you to get attention, cats are more subtle.
Always make sure you give your fur family members equal attention. Whether you have dogs and cats, or just cats, don’t show favor to one.
It can create jealousy and disharmony. Instead, try and spend equal time with each to ensure bonding and a happy home!
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Wishing you a purrfect day:)