Cats are carnivores and natural hunters. While our cats are fortunate they don’t have to work quite so hard to hunt down their food they still love a good game of chase and pounce!
Cats have an amazing ability to practically make every opportunity a hunting game but you can help build the bond between you and your cat with as little as twenty minutes of playtime together a day. This is especially important for our indoor or “captive” cats since keeping our cats indoors is the preferred choice for a variety of reasons including avoiding ticks and fleas and altercations with cars, trucks and other vehicles in addition to other risks while living outside. Kittens and most adult cats actually are quite comfortable living inside with their human companions.
Time to Workout!
Playtime is your cat’s time to exercise. This helps keep both their mind and body stimulated and alert. The couch potato cat that is overweight and inactive can be avoided with both the right diet and the right amount of playtime. Plus, some of their pesky behavior problems (e.g. attacking the plants) can be minimize if they’re getting sufficient playtime with you.
Is your cat a little overweight? Then an exercise puzzle ball is the perfect toy for them. Just fill it with a few high protein treats and they push it around and the treats come out providing excellent mental and physical stimulation.
Cat’s Love Hide & Seek Too!
Have you noticed that kittens and some cats just love to play hide & seek with one another? You can play with them too. (Dogs, by the way, love hide & seek and this is the perfect game to play on a rainy or really hot day when you can’t go on a walk). Our cat Tucker, loved to play hide & seek. Just hide where they can find you and call their name – they’ll come looking for you and get a thrill when they “find” you!
Keeping it Real!
Remember to create an interesting and enriching environment for your cat. They see their world a little differently then we do so make sure you have interesting activities and places to rest at all sorts of different levels. One or two good cat trees are an excellent environment investment – your kitten will learn to love to climb up on top and survey his territory. It also creates a nice out-of-the-way spot to take a nap or a better vantage point for pouncing! The more cat-appropriate places to nap and hide the less they’ll need to find their own spaces like your counters, sofas and chairs!
Toys! Toys! Toys!
Keep a wide variety of toys available for your cat and rotate them too. Don’t give them access to all their toys all the time. Keep some for just the two of you to play together and occasionally switch out their toys so that there’s always something new (or a toy they haven’t seen in a while) to play with.
Spend time with your kitten. They need to learn to love human interaction. A kitten that only plays by alone grows up to be a very independent adult cat with minimal interaction with the family and can become shy and reclusive.
With a little planning and setting some time aside to have fun with your kitten or cat you can build a strong lifetime bond together.