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Finding the Key to your Cat's Playtime

My favourite moments with Lilo occur when we are playing together. The expressions he pulls, his illogical reactions and when he starts getting me involved, that's the icing on the cake for me.


For the cat, ‘thou shall play’ is their first commandment. You should know that all cats, no matter their age, like to play; it just must be done in different ways.


Interactive playtime is crucial to the cat’s mental well-being, health and development. Playtime engages their instinctive behaviour to hunt, pounce and claw but it also more importantly increases the bond between you and your cat.


Playtime allows for your cat to maintain a healthy weight through good exercise and release any negative energy such as frustration or aggression; it is shown that playtime releases feel good chemicals in your cat’s brain ensuring healthy development thus mitigating stress and bad behaviour.

A hearty play session is great to help gain confidence to a nervous cat, though with a nervous cat, a very slow and steady approach is needed.


The Dental Wand is a great way to play with your cat and prevent dental disease.




Playtime also allows easier acceptance of changes or introducing new things for example:

Moving to a new home? then a good play session will provide a positive experience with the location.

Introducing a carrier? play around the carrier to get them more comfortable to it.


Cats are all individual and will vary in their motivation to play. However given the right opportunity and respecting their boundaries, any cat will play, no matter their age and will benefit in doing so.

inventor cat best way to play with your cat

To find out the best way to play with your cat you will need to understand their likes and dislikes, your cat’s receptivity to play, their routines and the bond with your cat.


The point is to tailor the play session to their needs and depending on the answers to the above you will make bespoke the following things:

· Location

· Method

· Intensity

· Duration

· Frequency


Lets go through the above. Their routines and their receptivity to play go hand in hand and can be found by monitoring your cat throughout the day. To assess how receptive they are to play you can see whether your cat spontaneously plays with objects; whether your cat is likes to play at any time of the day; whether your cat discriminates about the type of object you use to play; how easily he tires or gets bored of playing; how he responds to actions leading up to play e.g. reacts to the opening of the closet where the toys are kept.


To find out the best times to play with your cat that fits into their routine, check for the following, these behaviours and body language will show your cat might want to play now:

· Vocalisation

· That ‘mad hour’

· Frozen postures or crouched legs (meaning he wants to be chased)

· Sudden staccato movements

· Dilated pupils

· Spontaneous play with objects


Knowing their times and how receptive they are will determine the intensity of how you play, the best time to do it and how frequent you can do it.

 

Cat toys will always stimulate your cat’s senses. Each cat toy will have a different effect on your cat because some cats will prefer one sense stimulus over another, it is down unfortunately to trail and error to find out what these are.


Most toys that either move or allow you to interactively move them will have the best stimulus for your cat since it imitates that of prey.


Other toys will have certain textures attractive to the cat, encouraging it to use their claws or rub their neck. Whilst others will use things like catnip to attract their sense of taste and smell and these are particularly useful for blind cats.

inventor cat best way to play with your cat

Location is also key to note. Cats have areas where they like to sleep, areas where they go for alone time, places where they are social and like to interact (this is usually the living room where we also interact) and sometimes cats prefer these interactions outside. Your cat’s habits will dictate where is best to play.


Then comes method. This again is through trial and error and will is easier to refine once you know the above in greater detail. For example, if during the times your cat is more receptive to play, they are running around, have crouched legs, they will more likely play in a way that gets them to chase and pounce on something. Wands and maybe even laser pointers are great for this.


If you notice that you cat likes to forage, then boxes will be ideal or use objects to hide the toy. Once the toy has peeked they will pounce to grab it. My cat doesn’t discriminate much but loves a combination of hiding in places and waiting to pounce then once he’s getting more active he will chase the faster moving toy to get that winning kill.


When you are playing with your cat make sure to use the following acronym: CAT.


Choice – have I given my cat the choice to play with me, if your cat is doing something else they might not appreciate this interaction. Also it is important to give your cat control and sufficient choice to remove themselves from the interaction.


Attention – is your cat giving you signals that they are not enjoying this. Does your cat seem to be excited in playing or agitated, it is key to notice whether your cat is comfortable or not.


Tempo – Read the situation, is your cat tired and asking you to slow down or is he excited for something a bit more fast paced.


With these pointers you will understand your cat’s desires and the method that he enjoys playing. It is easier to find these out when they are a kitten but the same can be done with an adult cat, you just may need to ease on the side of caution.


You can cat now to save your cat from dental disease and keep them active and happy whilst playing



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