Playing with Your Cat Improves Their Health
Feral and free-ranging cats lead busy and complex lives. They often maintain large territories, which contain a wide range of habitats, such as urban gardens, farmland, forest and more. They hunt, explore, scavenge for food and interact with other cat in the area. On the other hand, pet cats, especially the ones living exclusively indoors, get bored easily. This can lead cats to be “naughty” or look for entertainment and being destructive. Playing with your cat improves their health as well as being a lot of fun for you and them. It also saves your furniture and carpets from some of those naughty behaviours you might be used to.
Cats who don’t play lack stimulation. They can be quite aggressive, both with other pets in the household, people and furniture. Young cats who lack these enrichment opportunities often pester owners to play at inappropriate hours during the night and day. They often start to interact destructively with plants, furniture and other objects in the home and is a sure sign they are bored and looking to play.
Cats lacking play and stimulation can also become reclusive. They are likely to retreat from new objects or people that enter homes. These cats also get scared by new sounds and sights. Cats lacking play are often attracted to perch on windows peering outside and over-react to the presence of other animals, eventually showing signs of distress.
Improve Their Health
Regular play is important for improving your cat’s health (and keeping your relationship with them fun and exciting). When cats are bored, they display aggressive traits. You should teach your cat not to bite, attack or scratch you during play sessions. You should praise and reward the cat for playing gently. When your cat shows signs of aggression, you should end the play session (just until they calm down). This teaches them good behavior.
According to experts, cats need fun in their lives to learn and grow. Just like humans exercise to keep their bodies and minds in tip top shape, cats need the same. Playing with your cat on a regular basis, breaks the monotony and gives you both something exciting to look forward to. This ensures you have a less aggressive and more confident cat. Hunting is considered to be a natural instinct of cats. When a cat is confined indoors, it has little chance to develop and express itself, regular play sessions provides a great replacement and it’s a lot of fun.
It’s better to indulge your cat in a wide range of activities. You should enjoy the play time with some interesting cat toys. It’s recommended to purchase a wide range of cat toys, but use just a few in a single session. Like everyone, cats get bored of the same toys over and over again. Keeping a rotating box of toys that your use and put away for them to forget is a good way of keeping things fresh. Change out the toys in the box every 1-2 months, anything they no longer play with goes into the box; by the time it comes back out it is like they have a brand new toy.
If you are using small toys (like catnip mice) you need to make sure the toys can’t be swallowed by your cat. Encourage your cat to play with small bells, string, ribbons and other household items but ensure they can’t swallow them or get caught up in them. Plastic bags, elastic/rubber bands and anything with sharp edges (bobby pins, paperclips etc) are considered to be dangerous because it can damage their intestinal systems if swallowed. If your cat is playing with these then it’s a sure sign they need some new toys and some playtime with you. A caution for those that live in warmer weather, leaving your flip flops and sandals out can be unsafe, particularly if your cat likes to chew on them as they have bits that can be easily broken or chewed off – especially if they are rubber or plastic. This can be a very expensive exercise with surgery and vet bills, as well as the stress for you and your cat. There’s no doubt that playing with your cat on a regular basis is perfect for improving your cat’s health. In fact, it also helps you build a stronger relationship with your cat. Over time, it builds better relationships and is fun for both you and your furry friends.
Download our 10 fun exercises you can do with your cat.