!Let's Talk! Button

Let’s Talk!
Let’s Talk! 812-952-3643

Playing With Your Feline Friend

January 15, 2024

Does your kitty make you chuckle when she bats a cotton swab or bottle cap across the floor? Cats are adorable no matter what they do, but especially when they feel playful and frisky. It turns out that running and pouncing are actually quite important for your cat’s wellbeing. In this article, a local Floyds Knob, IN vet offers some tips on how to play with your cat in a healthy and fun way. 

Do Cats Enjoy Being Played With?

It’s not uncommon for cats to have very different opinions about certain things, but almost all of them enjoy playing. If your cat is not feeling something, she will simply walk away.

Can I Play With My Cat?

We all know that cats are very frisky and playful when they’re kittens, so playing is a great way to keep that motor going as they get older. In fact, playing with your cat isn’t just okay: it’s something most Floyds Knob, IN vets recommend! Keeping your pet entertained and active can also be a great way for you to relax and unwind after a long day.

Playtime With Your Cat Has Many Benefits.

Our feline friends benefit from playing in a number of ways. If you have a kitten, playing will help burn off some of that extra energy. After chasing that red dot around for a while, your cat will probably be ready for a nice, long nap. It can be especially helpful in curbing those midnight zoomies if Fluffy tends to jump on your toes to wake you up.

Playing is also a great way to bond with your cat and score some extra purrs. Fluffy will appreciate you engaging her and trying to entertain her when she sees you holding that string toy or laser pointer. 

Have a shy or skittish kitty? Nailing that tricky pounce/jump combination can work wonders for boosting her confidence. Consider it akin to your cat scoring a goal or excelling at a test.

Staying playful and active is also good for keeping older cats in shape, both physically and mentally. Those run/jump/pounce combos are kind of like completing a challenging crossword puzzle. This can help ward off cognitive decay that can sometimes occur with age.

Spending time with your feline pal is also beneficial for you!  Studies have shown that interacting with cats can curb stress and even reduce our risk of certain health conditions, including strokes and heart attacks.

How Frequently Should I Play With My Cat?

Fluffy should be played with daily, even if you have a busy schedule. Fortunately, this is easier than you may think. Simply keep some cat toys near your TV or reading spot and incorporate playtime with your kitty into your evening routine.

What’s The Best Way to Play With My Cat?

Fluffy may love pouncing on her catnip mouse, but that’s certainly not the only game she plays. When it comes to their favorite games, however, cats vary quite a bit. Some prefer swatting at wand toys, others like batting around balls, and others like gadgets that are more high-tech. As an experienced Floyds Knob, IN vet, we recommend trying out a few different options to see what your kitty likes the most.

Here are a few things you can try:

  • Fetch: Believe it or not, some of our feline pals enjoy playing fetch just as much as Fido. It’s particularly popular with certain breeds, including Bengals, Siamese, and other Asian/exotics breeds.
  • Tricks: While not all cats will be interested, it is possible for some to learn tricks. You can try teaching Fluffy how to do things, like Gimme Five, Sit, Roll Over, or Jump. Using small, high-value treats and using the same words or phrases every time can help.
  • High-Tech Fun: There are now a variety of gadgets designed to engage with kitty in a more high-tech way. You can even play with Fluffy when you’re not home using a remote-control mouse or smart toy that reacts to her movements. Imagine playing with your pet via an automated laser pointer using an app or smartphone while you’re on your lunch break at work. 
  • Mazes: Cats love exploring labyrinths. You can make your own using things like cardboard boxes, such as those for canned beverages, or paper grocery bags with the bottoms cut off. You can also arrange a few tunnels for your pet to investigate.

Is My Cat Playing Or Attacking Me?

The fact that our feline friends can be so temperamental is one of the many things that makes them so fascinating. Fluffy has a rather unique quirk, in that she is the only domesticated animal who sometimes bites and scratches as a sign of affection.

Since cats can quickly change gears from play mode to attack mode, and often without much warning, this can make things a little confusing.

In most cases, a playful cat won’t bite or scratch hard. While she may wag her tail or flatten her ears, she may suddenly decide to lick you instead of biting. She could even ‘kick scratch’ you, but chances are she’ll quickly lose steam. If a cat is truly angry, she will bite with full force, and often hiss or growl as well. For more information on this, please consult your Floyds Knob, IN veterinarian.

What’s The Best Way To Teach My Pet To Play Nicely?

Your cat may need to be guided if she doesn’t yet understand what being a good kitty is about. If Fluffy attacks you, don’t punish her. She may be frightened. That said, you don’t want to let aggressive biting or scratching go unaddressed either. This can be dangerous and could result in additional behavioral issues. Those claws and teeth may be tiny, they are sharp enough to cause injuries. 

If your kitty scratches or bites you, stop playing right away. In a stern tone of voice, reprimand her vocally saying ‘No’ or ‘Play Nice’. You can also say something like ‘Don’t bite’ or ‘Put away your claws’. Then, just walk away and ignore her for a bit. It won’t take her long to get the message.

In your cat is purrticularly persistent, you can discourage her further. Don’t strike or yell at her. Annoying her is a much better way to get her attention. Try blowing in her face or squirting her with water. Since cats tend to dislike loud noises, you can also try sounding an alarm, clapping your hands, or banging a pot together. (Considering that cats sleep about 99.9 percent of the time, it’s not surprising they prefer their kingdoms quiet.)

You can also use toys you can control from a distance. Just remember to place string toys up and away after each use so Fluffy doesn’t become tangled.

What If My Cat Wants To Play All The Time?

Some kitties would love nothing more than to have 100% of their human’s attention all the time. And while many of us would love to oblige, most of us have other obligations, such as work and families.

A window seat with a good view is one option for keeping kitty entertained on her own. You can also keep Fluffy busy with toys like puzzle feeders and cat wheels.

Contact us, your Floyds Knob, IN animal hospital, if you have questions about caring for or playing with your cat.

[am_post_grid posts_per_page=”4″ paginate=”yes”]