Cats need play time (at least 2 hours a day) for many reasons.
- Exercise/keeping the body healthy and strong
- Learning coordination/balance
- Learning to fight and attack prey
- Learning how to properly interact with humans and other cats
- Stimulate intellectual growth
You can help your cat accomplish these important goals by playing with your cat for at least 2 hours a day and by providing your cat with enough toys and fun items so that he/she can play alone as well.
Cats have three basic types of play that they like. First is pouncing. Cats always love to pounce on moving objects so tapping into this instinctual skill will be very exciting for your cat. Second is side to side movement attacks. Cats are not very good at depth perception so throwing a toy at your cat won’t excite him/her too much. However, moving toys or objects side to side in their field of vision will definitely bring out the ‘frisky in your cat’! Third is bapping. Cats love to swat and bap at things as they move. No matter what you use, allowing your cat to hone in on his/her bapping skills with electrify your cat.
There are many types of toys available at your local pet store. And remember a toy doesn’t have to be expensive or even bought. Every cat owner knows that you can buy the most expensive toy and your cat may ignore it for the piece of paper you crumbled up and just threw at the garbage can, or the paper bag you just brought home from the store. Some ideas for toys include:
- Hand-held wand toys
- Feather-type toys
- Hanging toys that suction to mirrors/glass or that hang from doorways
- Battery-operated toys that move erratically on their own
- Fuzzy mouses
- Toys that stand in one place and have a moveable or swayable ball or feather that cats can bap at
- Suction toys that can stick to a door or table and hang down
- Cat towers to climb on and jump on
- Catnip filled toys
- Home-made paper balls
- Paper bags
- Strings/shoelaces (only play with such items while your cat is supervised as cats can swallow and choke or hang themselves on such items)
- Cardboard boxes
One of the best toys we have found for my cats is a ‘kitty fishing pole’. It is battery operated and allows you to ‘cast’ out a string with a toy at the end just like you would cast a real fishing pole. Cats love this and it allows you to just stand there and cast away without running around and chasing your cat or the toy.
Lastly there are only really two rules you need to consider when creating or purchasing a toy for your cat.
- The toy should be large enough so the cat can’t swallow or choke on the toy
- The toy should be small enough so the cat can pick it in their mouth or pawIf you are having a problem with your cat playing too hard, biting, or scratching during play please visit our article on socialization.