Playing is a fun and great way to bond with your cat. It is important to play with your cat daily as it provides exercise for your cat (and yourself), prevents boredom which might lead to unwanted behavior e.g. chewing electrical cords or plastic bags. If you have a shy cat, it will also help to build confidence and trust. Playing also reduces stress for both cat and owner. Indoor cats who don’t venture outside will also need playtime as stimulation, especially if they are still young and active.
Every cat is different so you have to find what floats kitty’s boat. Here are some simple ones to start:
– Laser pointer. Be careful not to point it at your cat’s eyes, TV or breakables. If you don’t want to encourage jumping, point it towards the ground.I limit Mr. Laser with Theodore because I noticed he was getting frustrated at not being able to catch his elusive prey. Remember your cat needs the satisfaction of being able to catch their prey.
– Ping pong balls, tennis balls, crumpled papers, paper airplanes. Just toss and
see your cat activate his hunting instinct. You can even try playing fetch.
Your cat might bring the ball back to you or you can keep trying with some
treats. You can store the toys with some catnip in a Ziploc first, to make them
more enticing to kitty.
– Shopping bags are always enticing. Theodore loves checking out and jumping into any new shopping bag I bring home. The bigger the better for him. You can let him hide inside and use a feathery wand or toy to wriggle around the bag and watch him swap.
– Tablet and Smartphone games for cats are getting quite popular too. I downloaded a few fish and mouse games for Theodore but they didn’t hold his interest for long.
– Toss your cat’s kibbles across the room for him to chase and eat. Or you can use a treat ball puzzle. It will make him feel like he is hunting for his food.
Cats are really like imaginative little children. They can magically turn anything like bottle caps, straws, paperclips, twister tie, Q-tips, coins, toothbrushes into makeshift toys. Like children, you need to rotate their toys so that they don’t get bored. Every day I’ll put out a few toys for Theodore and keep the rest.
Theodore loves hide and seek kind of games. He will hide behind the door or box and bats at his favorite brown ribbon or some feathery wand especially if they come with some manmade sound effects. Yup, I’m one of those owners who sings silly made-up songs to her cat. He is very good at lunging and jumping in the air almost to my shoulders to catch Mr. Ribbon. When he needs timeout, he will bite Mr. Ribbon and pin it down with his body refusing to let go.
When in the mood, he will chase or pounce when I use the laser pointer or bounce some ping pong balls. When I roll the tennis ball towards him, he will just spread out like a goal post to receive it.
When it comes to playtime, I have to roll with Theodore’s mood and timing which is usually late evenings. All in all, I think both of us have a pretty good daily workout.