How to play with your cat All rights reserved (c) 2019 Frania Shelley-Grielen
"Some of the cat's psychological needs may also be met through social interactions with
the owner, such as play and displays of affection." - Bradshaw, Casey and Brown,
THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE DOMESTIC CAT.
All cats need to play and things to play with to enrich cat life at home. Cat toys and
puzzle feeders supply objects for solitary play and feline housemates can offer social
play opportunities. Don't forget that you are the most important aspect of your cat's
environment and add play time to your shared activities.
Make sure playing with your cat includes daily interactive play with a fishing wand toy.
These sessions can have the most impact on your cat's behavior and your relationship
with them. When a cat plays on their own there is a predictability to the play - when
you are at the other end of the wand toy the interaction is dynamic and you can be the
unpredictable "prey" object they are designed to enjoy pursuing. Remember:
- Draw or drag the toy away from or across the cat's line of vision to best engage
them. Think of the feathers or fur at the end of the wand as standing in for a
mouse, bird, etc., and how that might move when a cat might have the best
opportunity to catch it.
- Cats have been shown to truly benefit from schedule and routine. Keep play
regular and as close to on schedule as possible.
- While a long play session can be a good thing, keeping the cat's interest
and keeping it doable for the human is key. Know that less can be more;
three to five minutes in the morning and evening are good - the important
thing is that they happen.
- Experiment with different types of wand toys to see which your cat loves best
(I see the feathered ones getting the most response but every cat is different).
- Some cats may not engage initially. Keep going. See which type of toy your
cat shows more interest in no matter how slight.
- Keep your reaction muted - no happy camper puppy encouragement, cheer
on kitty by thinking whispered encouragement.
- Keep the toy out of sight and in a place where kitty cannot access it when you
are not using it for safety and novelty concerns.
- Avoid laser pointers- they can be inherently frustrating and offer nothing
to catch ever. If you must use them, let it be sparingly (they are good for
redirecting cat squabbles for instance) and have them disappear under a door
and throw a treat where the beam ends.
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