Cat Games – Think Like a Cat – Pet tip 195
Many cat lovers realize how important play is to their cat’s well being. Especially given that more and more cat owners are keeping their cats indoors due to health and safety concerns, games are indeed important. Games keep your kitty stimulated, help tone its muscles and strengthen your bond with your cat. There are different ways to play with your cat though and some techniques are better than others.
Many cat owners make the mistake of playing the hunting fingers game (letting a kitten or a cat ‘play-hunt’ with your hands) with kittens and even though it’s really cute when they are small this is not recommended. You don’t want cats to associate biting you or hunting you as a game, as they will do this when you don’t want them to. Instead, play with your cat with cat toys designed for cats so that when they hunt and bite the toy they are not biting you. Most pet stores have a wide variety of cat toys. Ask the sales clerk if they have cats and what their favorite cat toys are if you need good suggestions.
If you want to take playing with a cat to higher a level though, you have to think like a cat when you play with your cat. Cat play is generally centered on hunting and chasing. If you have a feather on a string for example and dangle the feather in front of the cat’s face, the cat will likely play with it for a short while until it gets quickly bored. This is because that’s not how cats hunt. The prey doesn’t just mysteriously appear in front of the cat’s face, cats like to stalk their prey. Thus the better way to play with the cat is to let the cat see a portion of the feather while you tug it from another area or from behind a piece of furniture. That way, from the cat’s point of view the feather is moving on its own. This is much more natural to the cat and it will likely play the game with you for a longer time.
The main things cats like to hunt/chase are birds insects and rodents so the movements that your cat toys make will be more effective if they emulate how those creatures act. Birds fly for a while but then they land. Rodents and insects scurry about and move at different speeds. Therefore if you move the feather and string toy at different speeds on the ground and at different speeds through the air, it better simulates the natural movements of prey and is far more intriguing for your cat. Moving the string on feather toy ever so slightly is also something that your cat will really love because it looks more natural.
Finally, let the cat win the game from time to time. This means allowing your cat to actually catch the toy you are playing with and let it nibble or bite the toy during the game before pulling it away. This is an especially good thing to do at the very end of the play session. Once the play session is over give your cat some treats for a well played game. This will encourage your cat to continue playing games with you and makes for a happier cat.