If you have got a lil’ fluffy kitten jumping around your house, you sure know how difficult it is to contain that much energy.
Cats may seem inactive but they are not, especially when they’re kittens. They require regular play sessions. These work to engage them mentally, as well as provide much-needed exercise to their body. By creating the right outlet for your pet, you will be able to engage with your cat and learn more about them and their fancies. Playing with them will also enable the development of trust and the strengthening of the beautiful bond that you two share.
Additionally, in the event where you might have to be out of town for a couple of days, keeping your cat-sitter updated on your pet’s favorite games can help them while away the time. That is until you are back to resume the activities of engaging with your pet.
Why is Play Important
Research conducted revealed that at least one hour of play on a regular basis can increase the healthy lifespan of a cat by as much as four hours! Spending time stimulating and interacting with your pet can also improve their mental health and lessen anxiety significantly, even in cats with Down Syndrome.
Cats need to play just as kids do. It allows them to deal considerably with boredom and build trust with any other people in the family, or even with other cats at home. Did you know that a whopping 59% of all adopted cats in the US are placed in the “overweight” category?
Engaging in regular playtime can create a habit of exercise which is crucial to your cat’s livelihood and can help them cut back on the additional fat gains. Another fact that needs to be kept in mind is that play is a part of a kitten’s natural biology. Regular play stimulates the prey-stalking instincts that a cat has, which helps them remain fit as well as stimulated.
How to Play with Your Cat
Discovering how your cat prefers spending its playtime can be an exciting experience for you as well! It is often the part that most cat owners enjoy after a long day at work – watching their pet play with their favorite toys or interacting with them for stimulation.
There is nothing that could be more stress-busting than spending some time with someone who wants nothing more than for you to relax and have fun. Playtime can also be a good time to learn more about your cat, and for them to learn more about you.
Remember, however, to play in moderation. Excessive activity can cause your pet to get stressed, angry, or agitated. Over-stimulation can cause them to simply walk away. Shorter play sessions, on the other hand, are more suited to them. Consider four sessions of 10-minute duration every day. Keep in mind, however, that every cat is unique and they have their own requirements for stimulation.
What Can You Play?
Read on to discover what games you can play with your pet. Try a combination of these different activities, spread out across the day to figure out what suits your feline friend best.
- Hide and Seek
A classic favorite of all felines! Choose one of your pet’s toys, probably the one that they mostly play with, and hide it under a blanket. Maybe consider attaching a string to it so you can wiggle the toy, causing the kitten to lay a laser-sharp focus on the movement before jumping over it and claiming it.
A game that has been attributed mostly to a cat’s canine counterpart, not many know that felines actually enjoy playing fetch. Or if not fetch, they definitely do enjoy chasing after and catching a ball that you may have thrown for them. Ball toys are among the most preferred toys for cats because they stimulate the unexpected and quick movements of prey.
Adding a bell to the toy can work to catch your kitten’s attention, arousing their natural instincts to chase after the object causing the noise.
Another often unrecognized activity is that cats can actually be trained to walk on leashes. Many enjoy the activity of exploring the outdoors and putting it on a leash can help keep it safe from any other animals, cars, or from the potential of getting lost. Walking together can also be a great exercise that you both can engage in together, starting the day the right way or ending it on a good note.
If there’s one thing your feline loves – it is putting their claws to good use and keeping them in shape! You can help them with this by installing a scratching post in your house (the taller it is, the more your cat will enjoy it).
- Train It!
Cats are curious creatures, and more than willing to learn but only if they are interested. You can begin the training by having some treats reading and let it sniff it. Issue a command and wait to see if your cat responds. If it does respond, regard it with a treat and repeat the command around 5-10 times. Giving it a treat every time it responds will reinforce the behavior and voila! Your kitten has learned a new trick!
- Sing with your Cat
Cats are very vocal animals and have no problems engaging in actual conversation with you. So the next time it meows at you responds in the same pitch and tone. We can bet it will give you a retort. As long as you keep echoing its noises, it will keep being vocally engaged with you.
- Laser Pointers
Use a laser pointer to grab your kitten’s attention and have it running around the room, chasing the target it has fixated upon. This can make for a pretty entertaining activity for you as well.
Remember that your cat is going to have its own preferences for location, time of the day, movement, noise, scent, and size of the toys you use. Regularly playing with it can allow you to understand what it most prefers, allowing you to make the most of your playtime together!