Cat Play

Pip, dog of author Judy

By: Judy Hamontre, AVHS Volunteer

It is entertaining to watch cats play.  They stalk, chase, pounce, roll, bat and with graceful agility leap to amazing heights.  They seem to be happily lost in their own natural world of adventure.

This activity is fun for us and healthy for our purring family members.

Cats are highly intelligent, naturally curious, active creatures.  It is the responsibility of cat owners to provide their “kitties” with ample physical exercise and mental stimulation, joining in at times to strengthen the

human – cat bond.

A few guidelines for cat play will keep your furry friend from becoming bored which could lead to household destruction and keep him from becoming lazy, overweight and unhealthy:

Have a wide variety of toys that simulate the prey cats hunt, such as mice and birdies.  Toys with erratic movements are fun for your cats to chase or you can pull a toy around the floor or wave a wand through the air.

Change and rotate toys to keep your cats interested.  Some cats become bored with a toy after a few days, others a few weeks and some prefer only one toy which means having spares when that one toy is destroyed.

Allow your cat to capture his “prey” at the end of his play session to satisfy his natural hunting instinct and to keep him from becoming frustrated.  You can even reward him with a food treat.

If using a laser for your cat to chase, hide a treat or piece of kibble and end the chase where it is located allowing your cat to successfully find his prey.

Use food puzzles to make your cat work for his food and help control his weight.

Have scratching posts and cat trees/perches for added stimulation.  Cats love to watch the outside world.

Remember that cats can be as entertained by a bag or box as they are with a fancy toy.  Paper towel rolls and crumpled paper wads are fun, too.

Do not use string-type items such as yarn or ribbon for toys.  They can be easily swallowed causing serious intestinal issues that perhaps lead to surgery.

Introduce interactive play early in your cat’s life, teaching him how to play with you.  Do not use your hands and feet as toys because it will only lead to biting and scratching.

If you have more than one cat, play with each individually.

Teach children and those unfamiliar with cats how to play with them.

When your cat walks away from play, let him go.  Cats will choose the type and time of interaction they want.

These easy cat play tips will help your cat act out his natural instinctive behaviors, keeping him happily purring into a long life.


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