Playtime is crucial to your cat’s overall health. It provides physical activity, feeds your cat’s predatory instincts, and keeps them entertained and happy. Playing with your cat also reinforces the bond between the two of you, fostering trust and companionship.
“There’s no downside to play,” says Jackson Galaxy from Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell. “Consistency is key. Do it every day.” For highly effective playtime with your cat, “you have to tap into what makes a cat tick,” he says. “That’s the trick.”
Cats were put on the planet to hunt and kill. Interactive toys that mimic prey like mice, bugs and birds will delight your kitty during playtime. Reward your cat with a meat treat once they catch their “prey,” which also signals playtime is over, Galaxy suggests. Ideally, you should aim for 10-15 minutes of play a few times a day to keep your cat’s muscles toned and his mind alert.
Here’s 10 fun activities you can do with your cat:
Play fetch. With positive reinforcement and consistency, you can teach a cat to fetch a toy. Ideal fetch toys include pipe cleaners or fuzzy toys that resemble mice.
Play hunt and catch. Wands that feature a dangling toy on the other end are perfect for mimicking a skittering mouse or a fluttering bird, and you can control the movement, encouraging your cat to jump for its “prey.”
Play hide and seek. Cats love to hunt. Drop kibble or treats in places around the house to encourage your cat to search for the hidden treasures. If you’re consistent with this tactic, your cat will always enjoy seeking and finding while entertaining you as he hunts for treats.
Chase the bug. Laser pointers can be great tools for encouraging your kitty to move. By controlling the pointer, you can mimic a bug or a fly on the wall. Be careful never to shine the laser in your cat’s eyes. Allow your cat to occasionally catch his prey and reward with a treat or your cat will become frustrated and tired of the game.
Bat the tissue paper. Cats love the sounds of crinkling paper. Ever notice when you’re wrapping gifts using tissue paper, your cat becomes a captive audience member? Toss a wadded piece of tissue paper into the air and watch your cat pounce and bat at the paper. Your cat will enjoy wrestling with the paper and you are certain to enjoy watching him delightfully wallow around in it.
Teach your cat a trick. Invest a little of your time to clicker train your cat into learning some new tricks. With positive reinforcement, you can teach your cat how to high-five, come when called and other cool tricks.
Build an indoor cat playground. Use boxes, paper bags, and shelves to create a playground or obstacle course for your cat to explore.
Take selfies with your cat. If your cat will let you, you can dress him up or place a hat on his head for a photo shoot. Snap a few selfies with your cat for social media and give your friends something to smile about as well.
Make a ball pit. Fill an empty box with ping pong balls and watch your cat disappear in and out of the balls as he jumps around in his homemade ball pit.
Blow catnip bubbles. Watch your kitty go gaga over catnip bubbles. Blow these scented bubbles into the air and watch your cat jump, dart and pounce as the bubbles descend to the ground.
There are plenty of fun things you can do with your cat. If nothing else, just sitting together and petting your cat will be enjoyable for both of you.
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