How to Play With Your Cat
Playing with your cat is not only a fun thing to do, but it’s also very important for their health. Through play, cats are able to express their natural predatory behavior and engage in much-needed physical and mental exercise.
In this article, 5-Minute Crafts will show you how to play with your cat, what to look out for, and what some of the best options for playtime are.
1. Let your cat be the predator.
The most important thing to keep in mind while playing with your cat is that playing is more than just a way to relieve boredom, it’s also an outlet for their predatory instincts. It allows them to act out the entire feline predatory sequence — searching, stalking, chasing, catching, and attacking prey.
Because of this, the best way to engage your cat while playing is by mimicking prey behavior and stimulating your cat’s hunting instincts. A good way to do this is by moving toys in an erratic and unpredictable fashion, just like prey would move.
2. Let your cat catch their prey.
Since playing has to do with their predatory instincts, it’s very important that you actually let your cat catch their prey when you play with them.
If you use something like a laser light or a phone app to play with your cat, they won’t be able to actually catch anything, which can turn playing into a frustrating endeavor for them. You can let them “catch” their prey and give them a treat when they do so, allowing them to get a reward.
3. Don’t use your hands or feet.
Avoid using your extremities or any part of your body to play with your cat, no matter how cute or tempting it may be. By doing this, you’re reinforcing that type of behavior and telling your cat that they’re allowed to bite and scratch you at all times, which can foster undesirable conduct and potentially lead to injuries.
4. Have different realistic and attractive toys.
An important thing to consider is that there is not a single toy that will satisfy all of your cat’s needs. Cats are curious animals, and as such, it’s important for them to have a wide variety of toys at their disposal. It’s recommended to have different toys in rotation to keep them interested.
You can achieve a wider variety of toys by making some yourself with materials that are readily available in your house. Some of these items include cardboard toilet paper rolls, tape rolls, and empty boxes. Other small items, such as plastic bottle caps or ping-pong balls, can also be used, provided that they’re too big for your cat to swallow.
You can attach a string of yarn to these items, but be aware that strings or materials made of plastic can be ingested and pose a choking hazard for your cat. It’s recommended to put these toys away when you’re not supervising your cat.
5. Use food to play with your cat.
You can also use food as a reward to further encourage play sessions. This is beneficial for your cat, as they tend to play more when they are hungry. This is also an optimal way to play with your cat if you want them to lose weight.
Some of the ways you can mix food and playtime include hiding dry food around the house so your cat has to find it or using food puzzles that require work on the part of your cat in order to get a reward out of it.
6. Play these games with your cat.
Aside from using toys as prey for your cat to catch, there are many more interactive games that both you and your cat can enjoy:
7. Play multiple times a day.
After some time, your cat will likely walk away from you. That means that they have finished playing for the time being. It’s important not to force your cat to play with you. Remember that it is recommended for your cat to finish each play session on a positive note, catching their prey.