Playtime Tips for Your Senior Cat

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
He may be getting on in years, but playtime is still important to your senior kitty. Keep these tips in mind when you’re playing around with your cat.

Your senior kitty may not be as active and energetic as he used to be, but he’ll still benefit from a little bit of gentle playtime to stay in shape and mentally sharp. And, in addition to being a great bonding experience for you and your cat, playtime is also a great way to prevent stress and boredom so your senior will remain well-adjusted and content.

Here are a few tips on how to safely play with your senior cat.

Is Your Senior Kitty Healthy?

A variety of health issues can plague senior cats, and some of them can affect your pet’s ability to play. For example, strenuous play sessions may be too much for a cat with heart problems. Kitties with diabetes, on the other hand, may derive benefits from a regular daily playtime schedule that doesn’t really change. Depending upon your cat’s state of health and any limitations that may be the result of illness, you can create customized play sessions to suit his needs.

Related: How Feline Behavior Can Change With Age

Seniors may also suffer from pain that might be the result of chronic conditions, such as arthritis. Your vet will be able to not only guide you in terms of how you should play with your cat, but he will also be able to provide the right therapies to make your cat as pain-free as possible.

For the best results, you should talk to your vet after he examines your senior cat. Ask him what types of toys and play are best for your particular feline friend, as well as how long and how often you should play with your pet.

Choosing the Right Toys for Seniors

Once you know how often you should play with your cat, as well as how long each play session should last, the next step is finding the appropriate toys. Once again, your vet can steer you in the right direction if you have any questions concerning your particular pet.

Related: 6 Gratifying Reasons To Adopt A Senior Cat

You may find that your senior kitty enjoys the same toys that he liked when he was younger. These can range from wands with feathers, to catnip toys and everything in between.

It’s a good idea to avoid playing with toys that cause your senior cat to twist and jump a lot. Again, how you play with your cat will ultimately depend upon your pet’s current state of health and your vet’s recommendations. But be aware that an older kitty may be lured into playing acrobatically, yet regret doing so later, especially if he isn’t already used to this level of activity.

Lower-intensity play sessions can be enjoyed with simple toys that cats love, such as cardboard boxes and paper bags, cat trees with plenty of shelves for easy climbing, food puzzle toys that dispense treats, and even the thick fabric belt from your bathrobe.

Put Potentially Dangerous Toys Away

Supervise your kitty during playtime just like you did when he was younger. And when you’re done playing with your senior kitty, make sure to put potentially dangerous toys away in a safe place. These include toys with strings and wires. Yarn, rubber bands, ribbons, and similar items can also be dangerous, as they’re choking hazards and can cause obstructions if swallowed. Also avoid any toys that have loose parts that can be chewed off and swallowed.

Play Regularly and Have Fun

Even though your senior kitty may not move like he used to and he may not play for as long as he used to, he’ll enjoy a healthy, safe level of activity every day. Just like people, staying active may help senior cats feel younger.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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