Does your cat want to play all the time? Cats crave interactive, stimulating play because it helps satisfy their natural curiosity as well as their hunting instincts. Having a scheduled playtime with your cat every day will keep them from getting bored, lonely, anxious, or depressed. Here are some ideas from the vets at East Valley Animal Hospital about how to play with your cat.
Five Ideas for Cat Play Time
- Build an obstacle course. Lay out boxes, paper bags, or even tape shapes on your floor. Encourage your cat to explore the objects by spreading some dry kibble or treats throughout.
- Teach your cat a trick. Youtube is full of people who have taught their cats silly tricks. Some may think that you can’t train a cat, but they are very smart animals, and with the right type of positive persuasion, they can learn tricks.
- Dangle some string. Cats love a good hunt! Playing with a string toy and teasing your cat into catching it will give them the mental stimulation they crave.
- Take your cat on a walk! Dogs aren’t the only pets that like to explore. For some indoor cats, going for a walk is a great way to get exercise and see a bit more of their world.
- Play some music. While they do not like loud or sudden sounds, some cats respond well to calming music. There is even some music made specifically for cats! +
Choosing the Right Cat Toys
Does your cat like pouncing games? Hide and seek? Dangling toys? Feathery toys? Bouncy toys? Knowing the type of play your cat prefers will make it easier to ensure that they get the exercise they need to stay healthy.
Toys for cats come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Some even light up or move around on their own! It might take a few tries to find out which types of toys your cat loves. But once you find out that their preference is for string toys, or that they have an affinity for catnip toys, your cat will want to play all the time.
- Stuffed animal toys are typically small and soft, perfect for your cat to bat around and practice their pouncing skills on. Some newer toys even have motors so they can zoom around or flop about, making playtime more interesting, and quelling their hunting instinct.
- Many cat toys have a hidden compartment for catnip. Before introducing catnip toys to your pet, consider talking to your vet as large doses of catnip can sometimes cause minor health problems.
- String toys normally have stuffed animals or feathers attached to the end of the string. Warning: String toys should only be used with supervision, as the string can cause an impaction that requires surgery to remove.
Climbers and Cat Rooms
Cats are natural climbers. They love being the tallest, warmest thing in the house. Depending on your cat and your home, there are many different types of climbers to choose from. If you are renting, you may want to look at freestanding towers that do not need to be bolted into your walls.
For those with enough space, cat rooms or “catios” offer many play options while keeping all your cat’s accessories contained. Cat rooms are also a good option if you need to keep your cat separated from another pet.
Types of Climbers
Cat towers are usually made from sturdy cardboard or plywood that is covered in fabric or carpet. They have multiple tiers and often feature a hiding spot as well. Towers range in both cost and size, making them a versatile option for any budget.
- Wall Climbers
If you have limited floor space, wall climbers are a good choice. They are the most customizable, and can even be disguised as shelving. Wall climbers tend to be more expensive, though, as often they are made to order.
- Cat Rooms
If you have the space, time, and money to dedicate a room to your cat, it’s a wonderful way to keep your cat entertained indoors. Cat rooms tend to have both cat towers and wall climbers, and can also feature places to hide and sleep, as well as food dishes and a litter box.
Veterinary Care for Cats in the Gilbert Area
If you built them a cat room or taught them a new trick, the next thing you need to keep your cat happy and healthy is the right vet. Along with playtime, regular checkups will keep your cat jumping and prancing for a long time to come. The dedicated vets at East Valley Animal Hospital love cats, and we’d love to meet yours! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/7/22). Photo by Florian Roost on Unsplash.