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How to play with your cat

Play with your catWe all know that exercise affects us both physically and mentally. The same is true for your cat. Playing with her is essential for bonding, weight control, and for helping your cat develop muscle tone, agility, and stamina, so a daily dose of aerobic exercise is as important for cats as it is for their owners.

If you have a young kitten it will most certainly want to play all day long! Playful behaviour begins when kittens paw and bite their litter mates. This is often followed by chasing, stalking and wrestling. Your kitten may pounce and stalk different toys or pieces of paper. Don’t worry. It is just exercising its natural predatory instincts in a harmless and often amusing – manner.

Cats are predators and they get their confidence from going out and catching prey. When you play together, the cat focuses on being a predator, which makes her feel more confident because she’s out conquering territory.

When to play with your cats?

The part of day you should play with your cat depends on her interest to play. When she is fast asleep on the sofa, she is less likely to be interested than when she is sitting and watching the environment around her. Cats will often focus their hinting activities early in the morning and in the evening around dusk so aim to play with your cat at these times.

Cats are wonderful athletes, but you shouldn't forget that they like to be active for short periods only. Many cats like to be picked up and held, but usually they only like it for a very short time. For instance, if your cat begins to fuss or struggle, put her down. Always support a cat's hindquarters when you pick her up. A comfortable way to hold her is to rest her against your body with her front paws on your shoulder and your arm under her rump.

What toys your cat will use

Kitty PlayCats are motivated by smell, sound, texture and movement. The toys you use should aim to cover all these aspects. Discover your cat’s preferences by presenting a variety of different sized toys made of different materials and watch her reaction while she is choosing a toy. You can consider the following options:

- In general, cats prefer homemade toys over expensive store-bought ones. Paper balls, superballs, plastic rings from milk jugs, pencils, paper bags, socks, cardboard boxes, wads of paper and ping-pong balls, enhances the cat’s play.

- Toys that are too heavy for your cat to move or that are small enough to be swallowed should be avoided. If you and your cat like to play string games, make sure the string is safely put away after every game.

-You can use toys that will move independently or that your keep moving at a distance such as fishing rod style toys. Cats get bored easily, thus it is very important to rotate toys to maintain their interest. Variety in “prey” can be provided by tying different toys at the end of the string on a rod.

The aroma of catnip loses potency over time. To keep kitty's catnip toys fresh, store them in a plastic container and take them out for a special play session two or three times a week.

Check toys for glued-on decorations and edges that could come off and be swallowed. The eyes on some toys can be especially hazardous. For example, one very popular toy, the small mice made of real fur, have eyes that are tacks and should be removed before the toy is given to the cat.

You can make your cat’s life more fun if you:

- Install a window perch with a view of the birdfeeder.

- Provide a goldfish bowl or an aquarium to watch when the birds are not at the feeder.

- Provide your feline with some cat furniture - something great to climb, perch on, and to scratch.

- Some cats are entranced by television. If your cat seems to like watching TV you might consider videotapes of birds or mice.

Your cat loves playing with you. If you notice your cat hopping about sideways or racing around the house, chances are she’s in the mood for some fun. Below are a few games to try that will keep both you and your cat entertained.

- Flash a beam of light on the walls and floor of a dimly-lit room (use a flashlight or a laser pointer). Cats love to chase the light across the floor, over furniture and up walls.

- Chase the ball or string. Some cats may even retrieve the items for you.

- Put an empty grocery paper bag on the floor and see what happens.

- Hide and see. Cats love hide-outs.

You can see if your cat likes particular game by checking her pupils. If they are dilated, your cat is having a great time. [Read more ...]