Why Playtime Is So Important For Your Cat
A lot of people think that cats are independent and don’t really require a lot of interaction with their human companions, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Cats are actually social creatures who thrive on the interactions they have with fellow felines, other pets in the house, and, of course, people. If your cat is properly socialized from a young age, he will love you unconditionally and want to spend as much time with you as possible.
Playtime is just one of the many ways that cat owners can interact with their kitties and strengthen their bond with their pets. But this special time set side for your cat will be important in many other ways as well.
Related: The Health Benefits Of Cats
Keeping Your Cat Healthy
Giving your cat the opportunity to chase after a ball or leap after a set of feathers on the end of a string is a great way to get him to exercise on a regular basis. This will help keep his body strong and prevent unnecessary weight gain. Many cats, especially those who are fed a poor quality commercial diet, are prone to becoming overweight or even obese, and this can dramatically increase their risk of getting a variety of diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis, in the long run. By keeping your cat active, though, you can ensure that excess calories and fat are burned off so that they don’t become stored in the body. Just be sure to not overwork your kitty either. If your cat gets really winded and begins to pant, for example, let him take a rest.
Related: DIY Cat Toys
Stimulating Your Cat’s Mind
Indoor cats can become bored easily, so it is up to you to give them toys and activities that they can use to keep their minds active and engaged. This, too, is a great way to slow down the aging process and keep your cat happy and healthy.
There are a variety of toys specially designed for cats on the market today, from automated ones to those that require your interaction. And there are also many traditional cat toys, such as balls filled with catnip or stuffed mice that your cat can toss around and pretend to hunt down.
Stimulating your cat’s mind through play is really important because felines have a natural instinct to hunt. By providing your cat with these toys, he will be able to imagine that he is hunting; much like a child uses his imagination to pretend he is a superhero.
Helping Your Cat Release Pent-Up Energy
When your cat suddenly goes darting across the house or starts meowing out of nowhere with a look of bored frustration on his face, it is clear that he has a lot of energy he needs to let out. When this energy is not released in a positive way, such as through a good play session, your cat is more liable to lash out at you and become aggressive, and he is a lot more likely to become destructive around the house as well. Rather than playing with a stuffed ball of his own, for example, he may take to chewing on the wires coming out of your electronics or he may end up using your furniture as a scratching post.
To prevent destructive tendencies that arise out of boredom, and to keep your cat feeling content around you rather than viewing your hands as a potential toy he can pretend to hunt down and tear to pieces, spend a few minutes every day, or at least several days per week, helping him get his energy out in the form of play that mimics hunting and taking down small animals.
Bonding and Observing
In addition to benefitting your cat in many ways, playtime is also the perfect opportunity for you to bond with your cat, to get to know him better, and to observe any changes in his physical abilities that would alert you to any pain or illness in its early stages.
More by Lisa Selvaggio