Tip 65 – Cat games – playing with your cat
Unlike most domestic dogs that get at least one or two walks a day, some good petting and attention, most house cats are under stimulated. They stay inside all day long (read the advantages here) and do almost nothing except eat, sleep, poop and get the occasional rub. This isn’t enough mental or physical stimulation for your cat and can affect its health and state of mind..
As a kitten the cat got extra attention and playtime, but sadly adult cats are usually neglected when it comes to playtime. We seem to think that because they are independent and low maintenance, that they don’t need interactive play. This is false.
Even indoor cats have a highly developed prey and (play) drive that needs to be exercised in order for the cat to be in top mental shape. They want to be stimulated but they just don’t have right playthings. The one or two toys they may have, often don’t interest them at all especially when they are just left on the floor for them to play with alone. Furthermore, house cats that do nothing all day end up overweight and often obese.
We are all busy, but 15-30 minutes a day to play with your cat will benefit you both. The best cat toys are free but involve YOUR interaction. Cats play by chasing, swatting and pouncing. Try these games and you’ll both get to move around a bit. The cat gets stimulated and you’ll be extra smiley watching the action. One of the easiest and best games/toys is a feather string and a stick. Pretend it’s a fishing pole, and “fish” it jaggedly just over the cat’s head and watch him leap for it. Occasionally raise the height. Let him actually catch and play with it from time to time, or he’ll walk away. This is a good five minute game.
Another classic is the crumpled piece of paper. Get on the cat’s level (it’s good for you) crumple the paper, hide it behind your back then show it to the cat and throw it. He should chase and swat the thing or pounce on it. Try the same thing with a cut up fuzzy pipe cleaner. Or make a ball with a few pipe cleaners and watch the cat chase it and try to pull it apart.
Another easy one – Attach a feather or a piece of material to a string and move it slowly and jaggedly along the floor until it piques your cat’s interest. He should want to pounce on it. Once you have his attention you can run around the house pulling that string. Good exercise for you both. Remember again to allow your cat to get the feather/material once in a while or it will get bored.
Yet another free game is the paper grocery bag. VERY few cats can resist an empty paper bag. Place the bag sideways and when your cat explores the bag, scratch and move your fingernails along on different parts of the bag. Usually the cats will try to paw your hand from inside the bag. Next take the bag and cut a few holes in the top and sides of the bag take a pipe cleaner or a spoon and pull it in and out of the holes and watch the fun.
All these activities or any that you create to help your cat play will be of benefit to you both. Remember to put all toys away after you’ve played with them for the cat’s safety and so they don’t get bored.