Do you know the importance of establishing regular play-times with your kitty? You might believe your cat falls in the category of a low-maintenance animal, but you are missing something vital. You will enhance your cat’s mental and physical health by establishing regular play-times, especially for an indoor cat. Read on and learn about the vital need for keeping indoor cats entertained.
Benefits Of Play
You will find many benefits if you establish a play routine.
Did you realize that cats in the wild spend about six hours a day hunting? If you have an indoor cat, you need to enrich his life in ways that can replace that hunting activity. You can do so through cat play.
Prevent Boredom Through Scheduled Play Times
You don’t want your cat to become bored — give him some kind of challenge to stimulate that kitty mind. When the cat gets bored, it can lead to depression, lethargy, destructive actions, or stress and anxiety.
Stress and anxiety can lead to behavioral problems and illness. Many conditions, such as overgrooming or lack of it, excessive scratching, house soiling, or aggression could occur. You might also see urinary tract issues, respiratory or digestive problems and vomiting. Play gives kitty a way to get rid of stress or negative energy.
Through Play, Provide Exercise
Did you realize that obesity has become the number one health problem of cats? A recent survey shows that 55% of America’s cats weigh too much or are downright obese. Of course, too much weight can lead to serious health problems. Play-time will help keep off the excess weight.
Your indoor cat can stress for many reasons. Changes in his environment or schedule creates stress. He might pick up on your stress if something bothers you. Regular play-time results in helping to counteract this stress.
Build A Stronger Bond
You will find that playing regularly with kitty helps to increase the bond between you. The cat will associate his human with positive feelings because he enjoys your play-time together.
Channel That Hunting Urge
If you learn to play with the cat in a way that simulates hunting activities, you can successfully help reduce his need to kill birds or small animals. Many of you will be pleased to curb his desire to kill birds, so this one becomes a positive benefit.
Cure Phobias And Calm Anxious Cats
If you want to stop a cat from spraying, urinating, or defecating in an inappropriate spot, “play therapy” can help. Play with the cat on the spot where he has performed an inappropriate activity, and create a different association with that spot.
Playing regularly also helps cats who have generalized anxiety. By making sure that the cat gets some intense cardiovascular exercise, you can reduce his anxiety.
You also will find play therapy helpful if you have cats who have an uneasy relationship with each other. Parallel play (playing with two toys and playing with both cats simultaneously) can soothe the relationship. Play with the two of them in such a way that both have plenty of space. Try wands or ribbon toys for this dual activity.
Best Way To Play With Your Cat
When you and kitty play together, think of how their prey might behave. A mouse will run away and hide, so make your ground play toy mimic that action.
It does not add value to wave the interactive toy around frantically. You don’t need to give kitty an aerobic workout. Use the toy to play with the cat in a way that mimics hunting.
In the wild, a cat will stalk her prey, remaining as quiet and invisible as possible. Tempt her with the toy, so she inches closer and closer, and when near enough, she will pounce.
Don’t let kitty just chase until exhaustion sets in. That will not do her any good. Her lung capacity does not allow for marathon running.
Move the toy like prey, mixing fast and slow movements. Moving away from or across kitty’s visual field will trigger that prey drive. Don’t move the toy toward her or dangle it in front of her face.
Rotate Available Toys
Don’t leave the same toys out all the time, as the cat will undoubtedly get bored with them. Put some of them away for a week or two, and then when you bring them out again it will seem like a new toy. Do, however, keep her favorite toy available if she has one.
Create Surprising Toys From Objects At Home.
Think like a cat here. What common object around your house might make a good cat toy? Cat toys do not need to cost a lot, but can be created from things you already have. Tie something crinkly on a string, or open an enticing paper bag. Try blowing soap bubbles to see if your cat will chase them.
One warning: Never use hands or feet for toys, as you could create a habit of foot or hand pouncing that at times would be inappropriate or uncomfortable.
Don’t try to force your cat to play. If you offer the opportunity and the cat doesn’t respond, try some other time. When your cat walks away from you, she will not play any more at that time.
What About Laser Pointers As Toys?
Cats love playing with laser toys, and they certainly furnish a great way to get your cat to exercise. Chasing a laser light will definitely eliminate boredom.
The laser light can strengthen your bond with your cat. However, there is one thing to keep in mind. Though the cat can express predatory instincts to stalk and pounce, it can be frustrating to the cat because he doesn’t ever catch his “prey.”
You can remedy that problem by placing the laser beam on some object like a catnip mouse, so the cat can “catch” it and give it a good bite.
Do remember these things: First, don’t play overly long with the laser pointer as the cat could become exhausted — Not a good thing.
Also, be sure to choose a laser whose beam is not too strong, as a powerful beam could damage your pet’s eyes. Never shine the laser directly into the cat’s eyes.
Make sure that the laser has a red light, not a green one. The cat’s eyes can more easily absorb the green light, making it more dangerous.
The lasers are numbered by strength, with a higher number being the more powerful one, Your best choice is to pick a laser light made specifically for pets.
A Cat Tree Can Provide Hours Of Entertainment
Investing in or building a cat tree can have many advantages. For one thing, it might save your furniture, as it provides a surface or surfaces that your cat can scratch at and pull at as much as he wants.
The tree gives your cat a chance to survey the room from a high point where he feels safe and secure. He can play up there, observe his surroundings, or take a nap. For him, the tree becomes an interesting new environment.
Consider regular play-time with your kitty as his “play therapy” session. Know that you are filling a need that will give him exercise, create closer bonding, and contribute to his mental and physical health.
References I used for this post:
Here are some cat toys from Amazon to add to your collection. Click on image or blue-highlighted link to be taken to Amazon for your purchase. Please note: I will receive a small commission for your purchase.
Petstages Interactive Cat Puzzles, Slow Feeders,
and Treat Dispenser Toys
Twinkle Mouse Play Wand Cat Toy
by Our Pets
Assorted Colors; With Wand
Jute-covered scratching posts; hanging ball