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Purrfect Reasons To Play With Your Feline Friend 

March 15, 2024

Is your kitty playful? Fluffy is one of the most entertaining pets out there. She’s small, but she’s got a big personality. Her cute quirks, adorable facial expressions, and, of course, playful antics have made us laugh for years. It turns out that playing with your cat every day is one of the best things that you can do for her. In this article, a local Brantford, ON veterinarian lists some reasons to play with your cat every day.

Is Playing Good For Cats?

Absolutely! This isn’t just fun for Fluffy: it’s crucial for her health and well-being. We all know that cats love batting balls around or pouncing on catnip mice.

Here are a few benefits:

Entertainment: Cats seem to have a natural inclination towards lounging around for most of the day, as you may have noticed. Fluffy, for instance, can sleep for up to 20 hours daily (which may sound like a lot but we’ll leave that discussion for another time). However, when she’s actually awake, your furry friend needs something to occupy her rather than simply staring at walls. 

Mental Health: Playing not only keeps kitties happy and entertained, but also provides valuable mental stimulation. Fluffy has to concentrate to land those leaps and pounces. This not only contributes to her overall mental health, but may also contribute to maintaining a healthy brain as she ages.

Exercise: Our feline friends are very frisky and active when they are young. As they grow older, they lose steam. It’s just as important for Fluffy to stay fit as it is for us. Running, jumping, and pouncing are all excellent kitty workouts. As your furry buddy ages, you can keep her strong and healthy by doing this.

Bonding: Playing is a great purr activator, and can help Fluffy feel loved and content. Holding that laser pointer or wand toy can go a long way towards earning a new kitty’s love and trust. 

Playing can also help kitties bond with each other. If you recently adopted a new cat, dual play sessions can help your resident cat or cats bond with the new roommate. Just make sure you don’t play favorites. 

Blowing Off Steam: Just like humans, cats can feel scared, lonely, or depressed. Play sessions give Fluffy a chance to vent. Think of it as your pet’s version of sweating off a bad day.

Confidence Booster: Playing can also help to build your cat’s confidence. Some of our feline buddies are brave and fearless, while others are, well, scaredy cats. Playing may help your furry pal feel more confident if she falls into the latter category. Fluffy can have a hard time nailing that tricky pounce!

Indulge In Natural Behavior: Fluffy relies on her hunting skills to survive in the wild. She may look cute and small, but she is actually a very efficient hunter. It’s fun for her to master the use of those sharp claws and teeth, but it’s also instinctual for her to do so. In other words, playing helps your furry friend unleash her inner lioness.

It’s Cute: No explanation needed for this one! Watching a frisky kitty at play can make for an adorable and amusing form of entertainment.

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Playing With Me Or Attacking?

Feline behavior can be quite puzzling. (Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement.)  It can be difficult to determine whether Fluffy is in a playful or angry mood. Pay attention to her body language and actions. When your furry pal is feeling energetic, she may engage in zoomies. Some cats may even surprise their owners with an “ambush” by hiding and then darting out as they walk by. A well-mannered cat will not bite or scratch too fiercely, and may even switch to gentle licking instead of attacking. 

If your cat is actually attacking, she may hiss, growl, and/or flatten her ears. She’ll also attack with a lot more force. Just walk away and ignore your pet if she does this. Sooner or later, Fluffy will get the hint! If behavioral issues continue, contact your Brantford, ON vet.

Do All Cats Enjoy Play?

It’s likely that there are some kitties out there who aren’t very playful, but that would be the exception rather than the rule. Most cats are naturally playful, and really enjoy playing. 

Of course, Fluffy will slow down as she ages. However, even senior cats like to let their inner kittens out. 

How Much Time Should I Spend Playing With My Cat?

This one is really up to you and Fluffy. We recommend playing with your feline friend every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time. 

One thing you shouldn’t worry about is overdoing it. Whenever your cat loses interest or becomes tired, she will simply walk away and turn her attention to her next nap. (This is one area where dogs and cats differ quite a bit. Fido will drive himself to the point of exhaustion to please his humans. Cats are very lovable, but they really don’t care to overexert themselves.)

The amount of time your furry pal should spend playing will differ depending on how young and active he or she is. A kitten or a young adult will want to play more than a senior cat. Ask your Brantford, ON veterinarian for specific cat care tips. 

How Can I Play With My Feline Friend?

Having an interactive tool that you can manipulate from a distance, like a wand toy, laser pointer, or remote-controlled toy, is ideal. This not only makes the game more exciting and unpredictable for your cat, but also promotes good petiquette and teaches proper behavior. 

While it may seem cute to allow Fluffy to playfully pounce on your toes or fingers, this can send mixed messages and potentially lead to aggressive behavior. 

It’s important to set boundaries and avoid confusing your feline friend about what is acceptable behavior.

When Playing With My Cat, What Should I Avoid?

Holding a string toy isn’t exactly complicated, but there are a few things cat owners should know. The biggest don’t would be to play rough. Fluffy may have fun ‘kick-scratching’ your arm, but aggressive play could scare your cat or even injure her. Also, you may inadvertently encourage bad behavior.

We would also recommend avoiding using your fingers or toes.

Don’t use any unsafe toys. Cats aren’t always aware of what is and isn’t safe. (Some kitties actually seem to be drawn to objects that are the least safe for them.) Anything small or sharp is unsafe. Stringed objects can also be dangerous: these are choking hazards, and can cause serious internal injuries if swallowed. Wand toys are fine, but be careful not to leave them out after playtime ends. You don’t want your furry little friend to get tangled up!

You should also avoid playing with your pet near potential hazards, such as stairs, pools, and fireplaces. If possible, choose a spot with a soft surface, like a carpet.

Lastly, if you have more than one cat, don’t play favorites. Give them equal attention during playtime. Otherwise, you could spark jealousy! 

Do you have any questions about cat care? Is your feline pal due for an exam? Contact us, your Brantford, ON pet hospital, anytime!

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