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Purrfect Advice About Playing With Your Cat

February 15, 2024

Kitties are very fun and entertaining pets. Fluffy may be small, but she has a huge personality, and she has made us laugh for years with her adorable quirks, charming facial expressions, and playful antics. As it turns out, it’s good for you to indulge your cute pet’s silly side. In fact, playing with your cat is one of the best things you can do for her. Read on as a local Des Moines, IA vet lists some of the main reasons for playing with your cat every day.

How Can I Safely Play With My Cat?

Make sure that your kitty has safe toys. Our feline pals are very frisky and curious, but they don’t know what’s safe and what’s not. (Some cats also seem to be drawn to objects that are least safe, but that’s a topic for another blog.) Anything sharp or small is hazardous. You’ll also need to be careful with any stringed objects: these can choke or entangle pets, and can cause serious internal injuries if ingested. Wand toys are fine, but be careful not to leave them out after playtime has ended. You don’t want your kitty getting tangled up!

Location is also important. Play with your pet on a soft surface, such as a carpet, instead of around potential hazards, such as stairs, pools, and fireplaces.

Does My Cat Want To Play With Me? Or Is She Attacking Me?

Feline behavior can be perplexing at times, to say the least. It may be challenging to distinguish between playful and angry moods in your cat. It may take time to be able to tell when Fluffy is feeling frisky, and when she’s being a sour puss. 

Keep an eye on your pet’s body language and actions for clues. When they’re being playful, cats may exhibit zoomy bursts of energy or surprise their owners with an adorable kitty ambush by charging at them from behind the sofa. Additionally, a well-mannered kitty will not bite or scratch too hard. They sometimes lose steam quickly during these games, and may even switch to affectionate licking instead. 

Of course, kitties have the ability to change gears quickly; this only adds to their enchanting and mysterious nature. Ask your Des Moines, IA veterinarian for more information on this.

When You Play With Cats, Do They Like It?

Every cat is different, so there may be a few out there who aren’t particularly interested in playing. However, this is the exception rather than the rule. Most cats are naturally playful, and really enjoy playing.

Of course, Fluffy will slow down over time, just as we do. A senior won’t be as frisky as a young feline would. However, she will still enjoy letting her inner kitten out occasionally.

Should You Play With Your Cat?

Playing with Fluffy is not only okay, but it’s also good for her! Batting balls around and pouncing on catnip mice is actually very beneficial for her.

One reason for this is simple fitness. Physical fitness is just as necessary for cats as it is for us! When they’re young, our feline pals are very energetic and frisky. (Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement.) Fluffy will run out of steam as she ages, though, and will start spending more time chasing Zs than chasing catnip mice. 

Plus, playing is an excellent way for your pet to stay mentally sharp and happy. Not only that, but it can also aid in maintaining their cognitive abilities as they age.

While cats are independent creatures, they also crave social interaction. If you grab a laser pointer or wand toy for your feline friend, she’ll know that you’re doing something to benefit her. 

Playing helps kitties bond with one another as well. If you’ve just adopted a new cat, dual play sessions can help your resident cat or cats form a positive association with their new roommate. 

Attacking that catnip mouse is also a great way for your pet to release any anger or frustration she feels. In the same way that people experience anxiety, cats can feel scared, lonely, or depressed. Playing with Fluffy gives Fluffy an opportunity to let off some steam.

Another reason is that this helps kitties build confidence. Cats all have their own personalities. Some are fearless and feisty, while others are, well, scaredy cats. If you have a shy pet, playing with your furry pal may help her feel more confident. Fluffy may be pretty proud of herself for nailing that tricky pounce!

But wait, there’s more! Playing also helps your pet indulge her inner lioness. Our feline friends may be cute and small, but they are actually highly effective predators. The fact that cats are natural hunters is very relevant here, as their play mimics the actions they would take in the wild. Through interactive play, you’re not just providing Fluffy with entertainment; you’re fulfilling your kitty’s innate need to stalk, pounce, and engage in physical activity.

Last but certainly not least, this can be entertaining for you as well! Fluffy is never cuter than when she’s hard at play.

When It Comes To Playing With Your Cat, How Much Is Too Much?

As a general rule of thumb, we would recommend playing with Fluffy every day, at least for a few minutes. There is no need to worry about overdoing it. Let your furry pal decide when she’s had enough.

This is one area where dogs and cats differ significantly. Fido will drive himself to the point of exhaustion just to please his humans. Unlike cats, cats do not care what we want at all. The moment your feline buddy becomes the least bit bored or tired, she will simply walk away and turn her attention to her next nap.

That said, your kitty’s ideal play schedule will also depend on how young and active she is. A kitten or an active young adult will be much more playful than an older cat.

How Should Cats Be Played With?

This is a matter of purrsonal taste. There are lots of fun cat toys for Fluffy to try out. Opt for items that trigger your cat’s hunting instincts, such as feather wands, laser pointers, or crinkly toys. This adds an element of surprise and challenge for your cat.

Or, keep it simple – a crumpled paper ball or a soft plush mouse can be just as enticing as more elaborate gadgets. 

Additionally, you can promote good petiquette by teaching your pet to attack that mouse, rather than you. This can help prevent mixed signals about what is and is not acceptable kitty behavior towards humans. 

Ask your Des Moines, IA vet for more information. 

When Playing With My Cat, What Should I Avoid?

While playing with Fluffy isn’t rocket science, cat owners should know a few things. 

First and foremost? Never play rough with your cat. Fluffy might enjoy ‘kick-scratching’ your arm, but if you roughhouse with her, you run the risk of scaring or even injuring her. You might also inadvertently encourage bad behavior.

We also would caution against using your fingers or toes. This may be cute, but you don’t want your pet thinking it’s OK to treat you as a cat toy. While it may seem cute to let Fluffy pounce on your toes or fingers, it is more important to avoid sending the message that attacking you is an acceptable form of entertainment. 

Last but not least, if you have more than one cat, don’t play favorites. Give them equal attention.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, your Des Moines, IA pet hospital, if you have any questions about caring for your cat. We’re here to help! 

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