Your cat needs to play with you. Find out why.

Your cat needs to play with you. Find out why.

Playing with your cat—even for just 10 minutes a day—can save him a visit to the cat psychiatrist!

April 3, 2019 By Chantal Tellier

Did you know that all cats-whatever their age, environment and personality—need to play? Cats are predators and playing—especially for indoor cats—helps satisfy their hunting instincts. Playing helps reduce stress, prevent depression and obesity, while strengthening the bonds between the cat and its owner.

Cat play in 4 steps

Step 1: The ambush
By instinct, domestic cats seek to hide out and observe their potential prey... just like wild cats in nature! In the great indoors, cardboard boxes, cushions and tubing of all descriptions can be just the inspiration your cat needs to get their predator's mind ticking.

Step 2: And they're off!
There's no question that cats are active animals. Under that furry surface, there's a ton of energy to burn! So, let's get physical. Rather than dangling a toy within easy reach, get creative with some fancy moves that catch your cat's attention and get their four paws moving.

Step 3: The hunt
Don't be a tease. Your cat should catch its prey roughly 1 in 3 times. But mix it up. There's nothing like predictability to make your cat slink away to the sidelines for a nap. Go for different types of movements: A landing insect? A wriggling salamander? A scurrying mouse?

Step 4: The capture (or “drag me back to your lair”)
There's nothing like savouring victory. And it's no different with your feline friend. Let them take their catch back to their secret hideout. Let the victory sink into their little bones.

Picking the right toy
To start with a bang, begin your session with a toy that makes some noise. Once your cat's warmed up and ready for more, it's time to pump up the action with a “fishing rod” style toy. And, when it comes to the capture, what could be more satisfying than a rabbit paw or furry-type mouse? Once play time is over, think about putting away the toys. This way, your cat is more likely to associate you and the toys with the fun times.

Are you having a low energy day? There's nothing wrong with a laser pointer: it gives your cat some serious stimulation and cuts you some slack. Just remember to reward your cat with a treat once the game's over: all chase and no catch can spell feline frustration.

Forget about competition. Put your pride aside. Your cat needs to win. You're playing with their self-esteem.

If your cat doesn't feel like playing with you, be patient and keep at it. With time, you're likely to draw your cat out, peak their curiosity and build their self-confidence.

For them or for you?
Playing with your cat also means building a relationship with your furry friend. And what could be more relaxing? There's nothing like play to take our worries away. And, in the words of Colette, “time spent with a cat is never wasted.”

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