Is your cat having fun? This question could be an important one. A playful cat is a healthy cat, so if his antics are causing you a bit of laughter, be assured that he is feeling well. Your cantankerous cat lady found an interesting article about cats and the importance of play. It was written by Pam Johnson-Bennett for catbehaviorassociates.com. She presents some valuable information.
HOW IMPORTANT IS PLAY FOR YOUR PET?
Playing is an important part of a cat’s life. It benefits them from kittenhood through their geriatric years. The favorite games may change as a cat ages, but if the cat is healthy, the desire to play should remain throughout life.
Playing teaches young cats to develop skills they will use later, such as stalking, chasing and pouncing. During play, kittens will learn body language and communication skills as well.
Though their play may be boisterous and a bit rough, that is normal, as a cat can get in a wrestling match that looks anything but gentle.
HOW TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN OPPONENTS AND PLAYMATES
If cats have a hostile relationship with each other, they tend to view each other as opponents, not playmates. They might become friends and then play, but if they are not friends to start with, they will be more likely to get in a genuine battle.
If they are just playing, they may exhibit the following signs:
- Claws are sheathed
- Ears are in a normal position, not pinned back
- Hair is not erect
- They are not growling or hissing at each other
- Biting is minimal, done without causing pain or injury
INTRODUCING A NEW CAT TO THE HOUSEHOLD
If you bring a new cat into your household, you need to introduce the newcomer gradually, so the two cats get accustomed to one another. Then they can form a positive relationship and have more of a chance to be friends. Keep them separated at first and let your cat and the newcomer get used to each other’s smell. Then try putting them in the same room. Gradual is the key.
If your cats are actually fighting, there are methods to use to stop them. Do not attempt to physically separate them, as you may become the injured party. A safer way to stop them is to startle them with a sudden loud noise. Bang pans together, or perhaps slam a door or drawer.
Separate them and put them where they can’t see each other. Keep them apart until their behavior returns to normal and they are again comfortable with you.
If their relationship with each other is not too comfortable, do some things to help modify their behavior. Don’t make them compete for food or for the litter box. Give them each their own food dish and separate kitty commodes. Provide elevated locations for each cat. Make sure they each have hiding places or safe retreats.
Establish regular play sessions each day. If they won’t interact when you play with them, spend some time with each one in individual sessions. Set up puzzle feeders and puzzle toys that they can enjoy when they are by themselves.
HAVE YOU EVER TRIED A PUZZLE FEEDER?
A puzzle feeder has food inside and the cat has to figure out how to get the food out. The animal can be entertained for some time, trying to remove that food from the feeder.
These feeders are especially good if your cat is overweight, because he has to work to get to the treat. Because of the time it takes to remove the food, he has to eat slower. Therefore, the food is dispensed in smaller quantities.
I looked around for a nice collection of puzzle feeders, and found what I wanted on Amazon. If you would like to get such a feeder for your cat, you are invited to choose from the ones shown below. Just click on the picture to go to Amazon to purchase. Should you elect to buy one of these feeders, since I am an Amazon affiliate, I will receive a small commission.
PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser
Enrichment: Watch your cat’s natural instincts come alive as she chases the SlimCat across the floor.
Exercise: Combines mealtime with exercise to improve weight loss and fight obesity.
Personalization: Convenient adjustable openings work for many kibble sizes and allow you to control how quickly your cat gets her food.
Improve Digestion: Great for eager eaters; SlimCat distributes meals into several smaller portions so dinner is easier on your cat’s stomach.
Versatility: Can be used for fun with treats or as a daily feeder.
Dishwasher Safe: Top rack only
List Price: $7.95
Catit Senses 2.0 Food Tree
Smart toy that stimulates cats to work for their food.
Made of BPA-Free Materials.
Provides 3 difficulty levels.
Easy to disassemble and clean
Amazon’s price: $19.99
Catit Design Senses Play Circuit, Value Bundle
Ultimate pampering and massage experience.
Adding catnip heightens sensory experience.
Targets your cat’s senses while providing entertainment.
Smart way to feed your cat and offer various levels of difficulty to challenge your cat’s abilities.
Side Cut-outs: Cat moves food through the maze by pawing at it through the side openings.
Cat Amazing — Best Cat Toy Ever! Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Feeder for Cats
Interactive cat toy: Award-winning game and puzzle box. Stimulates and occupies cats and kittens for hours; bonds cats and their owners through play.
Encourages natural instincts to explore, scratch, sniff, find and retrieve hidden rewards, with three difficulty levels to challenge clever cats as their skills improve.
Works with your cat’s favorite treats, catnip, crinkle balls, mice, cat wand toy or other favorites; works great as a dry cat food dispenser and puzzle feeder.
Veterinarian recommended for exercise, slower eating, weight loss and meal management.
Amazon’s Price: $15.94
Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder
Five interactive feeders that allow cats to naturally hunt for their food.
Durable plastic and tactile fabric skin appeals to cat’s senses of grabbing and clawing prey
Easy to use; scoop your cat’s favorite food into the five mice all at once and hide.
Easy to clean; BPA-free, top rack dishwasher safe plastic; machine washable fabric.
Price at Amazon: $29.99
If you order one of these puzzle feeders, or if you already have one, please comment on your results. I am sure other cat owners would like to know what your cat thinks of these feeders.
Some of the links within this post are affiliate links. For these, I receive a small compensation for sales of certain items.