How to Play with Your Cat

Whether you’re simply looking for ways to interact with your cat, or your cat needs help shedding weight, this article looks at ways in which you can socialise with your feline friend. Our child-friendly guide to playing with cats is designed to help you build a life-long bond with your furry family member.

Why is playtime with your cat important?

From kittenhood to old age, cats need mental and physical stimulation to keep themselves healthy. While many cats are good at entertaining themselves, interacting with your friend - whether he or she is an indoor or free-range cat - is an important part of being a pet.

Read on to find out more about playing with your cat.

Playing with small toys

Cats instinctively like to chase small things – both inanimate and living. Providing your cat with suitable toys such as felt mice or balls will keep your cat entertaining and less likely to acquire living alternatives. Most of these toys will contain catnip, which cats love the smell of and can respond very positively to.

Make sure you only let your cat play with items specifically designed for cats - household items can be unsuitable for them, especially if they contain loose threads or pieces that a cat could swallow. Make sure you only purchase items that state they are intended for cats to play with.

Playing with fishing rod toys

A common type of cat toy is the fishing-rod contraption which often features feathers and bells. This is great for keeping your cat on its toes, both literally and figuratively. These toys can even be made at home rather than bought, which makes them a cheap and fun way to entertain your feline friend.

It's important to replace these toys when they start to fray or fall apart, as cats can swallow the components.

Playing with laser pointers

Laser pointers can be a simple and amusing way to entertain your cat. Simply point the red dot on a wall or the floor and watch as your pet carries out the impossible task of trying to capture it. This is especially useful for cats who need to shed a little weight, as you can set them running about and jumping to catch the dot.

Cats can tire of games which have no reward, so wrap up playtime with lasers by giving your cat a treat - point the laser at it when finishing the game, so they get to finally "catch" the prize.

However, lasers should be used with caution, so be careful not to shine the laser directly into your cat's - or your own - eyes.

General playtime tips

No matter how you choose to play with your cat, here are some things you should bear in mind:

  • Many cats tire of repetition, so make sure you have several toys for them to play with so they won't get bored. However, some cats may demonstrate a preference for one toy over the others - it depends on the cat, so it's important to try out different types of toy to find out what they like.
  • Cats tend to play more when they are hungry. So if your cat needs to lose a little weight, you may find it useful to precede dinner with some games. You could even hide the food around the house to entice them to hunt and climb and search for it.
  • Leave some toys out for your cat while you are out of the house, so they can play when they're bored. Make sure the toys are sturdy and do not contain any loose parts, so you can rest assured that your cat will not ingest any of them while you are out.
  • Don't use your hands or feet as toys, even if your cat is very young, as this encourages them to scratch humans. What might start out as gentle nipping from your cat can quickly become painful!
  • If your cat walks away from you, playtime is over. Don't try to force interaction - every cat has different preferences when it comes to contact with other cats or humans.

Signs that your cat is unwell

Cats are blissfully unaware of choking hazards and can get carried away when playing. For this reason, obstruction is one of the most common causes of cat visits to the vet. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you don’t encourage your cat to play with things that provide a choking hazard, such as rubber bands or hair elastics. If your cat seems unusually tired, is vomiting or has a poor appetite, it is possible that it has ingested something and requires a trip to the vet to get checked out.

Cat insurance from Towergate

Whether you have a brand new kitten or an elderly feline, having the correct cover is a vital part of being a cat owner.

Every cat is individual and it's important to get the right cover to suit them and you. Our partners at Healthy Pets offer 6 levels of cover for you to choose from.  For more information visit the cat insurance page or call Healthy Pets on 01730 230 564 to speak to a specialist adviser.

Healthy Pets and Towergate are part of the Ardonagh Group.

This is a marketing article by Towergate Insurance.

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