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Purrfect Reasons To Play With Your Cat Regularly

February 15, 2024

Our feline pals are very entertaining little pets. Fluffy always amuses her humans with her cute quirks, charming facial expressions and, of course, her playful antics. As it turns out, taking time to play with your furry pal regularly is one of the best things you can do for her health and well-being. In this article from Fairfield Animal Hospital, your Cypress, TX pet hospital, a local vet discusses playing with your feline pal.

What Should I Consider When Playing With My Cat?

The biggest thing is to always use safe toys. Kitties just don’t know what is and isn’t safe for them. Anything small or sharp is a hazard, as are stringed objects. Wand toys are fine, but be sure to pick them up once playtime has ended. You don’t want your furry friend getting tangled up!

Choose a spot with a soft surface, such as a carpet. Don’t play with your pet around potential hazards, like stairs, pools, and fireplaces. If possible, 

Last but not least, if you have more than one feline pal, you’ll have to be careful not to play favorites. Show them both equal attention during playtime. Cats can get very jealous of each other! 

Is My Cat Playing Or Trying To Kill Me?

Our feline pals are a bit confusing here: they’re probably the only one of our animal friends that like to bite and scratch us just for fun. It can sometimes be hard to tell if a kitty is being playful or if she’s actually angry. Your pet’s body language and behavior will clue you in. If Fluffy is feeling frisky, she may lose interest in her ‘attack’ and start licking you instead. She probably will run out of steam pretty quickly. A frisky kitty may also quickly move from attacking you to pouncing on her catnip mouse. Angry cats are more likely to growl, hiss, or lash their tails, and they’ll definitely bite harder. Cats can change gears quickly, but that’s just purr for the course with these charming furballs.

Do Kitties Like To Play?

Kitties are all very unique. (Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement.) To be fair, there likely are some furballs out there who just aren’t very playful. Age usually has a lot to do with this. Kittens tend to be very playful by nature, but seniors may be more interested in napping. However, most of our feline buddies are quite frisky, and really enjoy those play sessions. Even aging kitties like being able to let their inner kittens out. 

Is It Good To Play With A Cat?

Playing with your cat is actually very good for her! play sessions serve various purrposes, from physical exercise to mental stimulation.

Here are a few of the reasons that playing is ‘pawesome’ for your cat: 

  • Letting Their Inner Lion Out Our adorable feline friends are actually extremely efficient hunters. While mastering the use of those sharp claws and teeth is fun for her, it’s also just very instinctive. Fluffy relies on her hunting skills to survive in the wild. In other words, playing gives your furry friend a chance to unleash her inner lioness.
  • Exercise: Our feline friends are very frisky and active when they are young. However, as they age, they run out of steam. It’s just as important for older cats to keep fit as it is for us. Running, jumping, and pouncing all make great kitty workouts. This can keep your furball strong and healthy as she ages. 
  • Stimulation: You might have noticed that our feline buddies enjoy doing as little as possible. Fluffy can sleep a whopping 20 hours a day. (That seems rather  excessive, but we’ll talk about that another time.) When your kitty is actually awake, she needs something to do other than stare at the walls. That mental stimulation your cute pet gets from pouncing and playing is great for her mind. Your furball has to really think to time those pounces and jumps. Playing will not only help keep her happy and entertained, it can also help keep her brain healthy as she grows older.
  • Bonding: Interactive play fosters a sense of trust and companionship. When you pick up that laser pointer or wand toy, your feline friend will know that you’re doing something for her amusement. That will help her feel loved and safe, which is very important. 
  • Making Friends: Playing can also help kitties bond with each other. If you’ve recently adopted a new cat, dual play sessions can help break the ice between your kitties.
  • Ease Stress: Just like people, cats can feel stressed and anxious. A good play session gives your cat a chance to blow off some steam. Think of it as Fluffy’s version of sweating off a bad day by hitting the gym or going for a run. 
  • Build Confidence: Do you have a scaredy-cat? playing may help her feel more confident. Nailing that tricky pounce can be a big deal for Fluffy!
  • It’s Always Cute: Watching a frisky kitty hard at play can make for an adorable and amusing form of entertainment. This may be just as fun for you as it is for Fluffy!

How Much Should You Play With Your Cat?

Try to play with Fluffy daily, for at least a few minutes. you don’t have to worry about overdoing it. The moment your furball loses interest or gets tired, she’ll just walk away, and turn her attention to choosing her next napping spot. 

Of course, this also depends on how young and active your pet is. A kitten or a super frisky young adult will want to play much more than a senior. 

What Kind Of Toys Do Cats Like?

Kitties all have their own tastes. You may want to try a few things, and see what your pet likes. Not all play has to involve store-bought toys. Simple household items like crumpled paper balls or cardboard boxes can be just as entertaining for your adorable pet as an expensive toy. 

How Do You Play With A Cat?

We would recommend that you use something you can control from a distance, such as a wand toy, laser pointer, or a remote-controlled toy. Playing will be more fun and more challenging for your cat if she can’t anticipate what her ‘prey’ will do next!

This can also help instill good petiquette. It may be cute to let Fluffy pounce on your toes or fingers, but that can send mixed signals. You don’t want your cat thinking that it’s okay for her to attack you or treat you like a cat toy! (Kitties also treat us as furniture and servants, but that’s another topic.) 

Are There Any Wrong Ways To Play With A Cat?

Playing with Fluffy isn’t rocket science, but there are a few things you should know. The biggest ‘don’t’ is playing rough. Your cat may have fun ‘kick-scratching’ your arm, but anything beyond that could scare or even injure your kitty. 

We also caution against using your fingers or toes. You could also inadvertently encourage bad behavior.

Conclusion: Playing is both fun and beneficial for our feline friends. Taking a few minutes a day to play with your cat is good for her both mentally and physically! 

Do you have questions about caring for your cat? Contact us at Fairfield Animal Hospital, your Cypress, TX pet hospital, anytime!

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