One of the most common misconceptions about cat guardianship is that they require minimal interaction and attention. Or, at least, that cats don’t need as much attention as dogs do. But playtime is, in fact, vital to a cat’s life. Learn more about what playtime means to a cat’s health and wellness, and how to integrate the right kinds of play into any cat companion’s days.
Just like dogs, cat companions sometimes need a little motivation to get going. And if we’re integrating training with playtime, treats are all the more important. EcoTreats wild-caught salmon bits are an all-natural, low-calorie, wallet-friendly, premium cat treats option that cats love. Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so give it a try.
Cats are Social Creatures, Too!
People would often comment on how beautiful Sergeant Fuzzy Boots is, but we’d rarely hear anybody say, “Your cat is so friendly!” Especially compared to the chummy and waggish nature of dogs, a lot of companion felines seem hoity-toity and standoffish.
Cats are actually quite often misunderstood creatures. Playful is seldom the first thing that comes to mind when we think of cats. However, adequate playtime, or a lack of it, has a huge impact on a cat’s overall wellbeing and quality of life.
An Active Kitty is a Healthy Kitty
Interacting with our cats through play not only helps foster a stronger bond, it benefits our cats in a variety of other ways. It makes them feel like predators, which plays to their very nature. Keeping those instincts alive is vital to a cat’s intellectual health, no matter how domesticated they are. Luckily, we don’t need to allow mice in the house to do this. There are intellectual puzzles and hunting games for cats that many behaviorists praise for exactly this purpose.
Obesity is a common problem among domestic cats, and then there are also the host of other diseases that come with it. Low-quality commercial food, such as those with high carbohydrates instead of high protein, combined with a lack of physical exertion are the leading causes of felines becoming overweight. Having our cat chase that laser dot, scrambling after a ball, or climbing up and down a cat tree are fun activities that will keep her royal highness fit and spry.
Play relieves boredom, which is critical for Sergeant Fuzzy Boots no matter how much he leads us to believe that napping is his favorite past time. Even if it’s just 15-30 minutes a day, motivating them to move and keeping their minds sharp will actually extend their life, keep them more content, and ward off bad behaviors at all ages.
Bonding is also an important piece of the playtime puzzle. We can set up a few toys and scratching posts around the home so the Sarge can play when he feels like it, but interaction is a key element of play for dogs and cats. Setting aside time every day, around the same time, if possible, is one of the best ways to build a healthy relationship, keep kitty entertained, keep ourselves entertained, maintain some basic training, and reduce common behavioral and health challenges like anxiety.
Let Her Energy Flow
Being natural predators, cats have stores of energy that enable them to successfully hunt down prey. Our domestic feline goddesses may now enjoy being served their food, but when they suddenly leap after a bird or bring home a dead mouse, there’s no doubt that we can’t take the wild out of the cat!
Hunting is not just about a gene-encoded instinct, it’s also their natural way of releasing energy. Playtime is the next best alternative. Toys that they can bat around, pounce on, and chase after will make them happy. If we don’t give them an outlet for their pent-up energies on a daily basis, they’ll find other ways to do so. When kitty becomes aggressive and scratches us or becomes destructive and chews on wires and claws the furniture - she’s frustrated, bored, and restless. Regular playtime will keep cat companions content and, more importantly, get them spent.
Fun and Games and Good Behavior
When we provide our cat with an environment that offers constant mental and physical stimulation, we also provide her with a home where she can be happy and stress- and anxiety-free. Such an environment also makes our cat more agreeable and, therefore, she can be more easily trained.
Being able to interact with us through play encourages her to behave well, not just because she’s distracted, but also because the routine gives her security and comfort. Getting her to play with other pets in the house also teaches her proper socialization skills, and prevents hostile and aggressive behavior.
Improving Our Cats’ Quality of Life Through Play
Playtime offers many benefits to our beloved cats’ overall health. It helps keep them fit and agile. It is an effective outlet for their energies. It stimulates their mind. And it makes them feel happy and content. The cherry on top is that it also strengthens the bond between our fur babies and ourselves. Indeed, regular playtime encourages them to be more affectionate toward us! Snuggles at the end of the day is our reward for keeping our royal felines happy.
- “How to Exercise and Play with a Cat,” PetMD
- “Interactive Play Therapy for Cats,” Dr. Pam Johnson-Bennett
- “Five Reasons You Should Play With Your Cat Every Day,” Catster