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Playing With Your Feline Friend

February 15, 2024

Our feline friends are very lovable and entertaining pets. Fluffy may be small, but she has a huge purrsonality, and has a particular way of winning hearts with her cute quirks, charming facial expressions, and, of course, her playful antics. As it turns out, taking time to play with her every day is one of the best things you can do for her. Read on as a Coral Springs, FL veterinarian lists some of the top reasons why you should do this.

When You Play With Cats, Do They Like It?

Kitties all have their own characters. There are some cats who aren’t very interested in playing. However, this is more of an exception than a rule. Most cats are naturally playful and enjoy those play sessions.

Age also factors in. Fluffy will be extremely frisky and silly as a kitten. Over time, though, she’ll start to slow down, and will eventually become more interested in napping than in chasing that little red dot.

Why Is It Important To Play With My Cat?

One reason is simply keeping your kitty fit. Physical fitness is just as important to cats as it is for us. Our feline pals are very energetic and active when they’re young, but as they age, they run out of steam. Senior cats are usually pretty content to spend most of their time lounging around. Even short play sessions can be beneficial.

Enrichment and stimulation are also crucial to your pet’s health and well-being. As Fluffy ages, it will become increasingly important for you to keep her mind engaged. Playing will not only keep your cat entertained and happy, it will also help support her brain health as she gets older. 

We can also throw purr activation into the mix here. Kitties are very emotional, and crave that connection with their humans. Fluffy will know that you’re doing something for her when you grab a laser pointer or wand toy. This can go a long way toward making her feel safe and loved. 

Playing can also help ease tensions in multi-cat households. Suppose you’ve recently adopted a new feline friend. In that case, dual play sessions can help your resident cat or cats form a positive relationship with their new roommate.  You will need to be careful not to play favorites: that may just spark jealousy. 

Then there’s stress relief. Cats can also feel scared, sad, lonely, or depressed. A vigorous play session also gives Fluffy a chance to blow off some steam. Think of it as your cute pet’s version of going to the gym or working off the after effects of a bad day at the office.

Playing can also help kitties come out of their shells. Our furry friends all have their own purrsonalities. Some are bold and fearless, while others, well, are scaredy cats. If your feline buddy falls into the latter category, playing may help her feel more comfortable and self-assured. Fluffy can have a tough time nailing that tricky pounce, and may be quite proud of herself after.

This also helps your pet indulge in some natural behaviors. Our feline friends are cute and small, but they are actually highly efficient hunters. Fluffy relies on her hunting skills to survive in the wild. While mastering how to use those sharp claws and teeth is fun for her, it’s also just very intuitive. In other words, playing is an opportunity for your furry friend to unleash her inner lioness.

Of course, there are also benefits for you. Watching a frisky cat play makes for an adorable and often hilarious form of entertainment!

How Much Time Should I Spend Playing With My Cat?

Try to play with your feline friend for at least a few minutes every day. One good thing? You don’t have to worry about overdoing it. The moment your furball loses interest or gets tired, she’ll quit playing, and turn her attention to her next nap. 

Having said that, it depends on how young and active your pet is. A kitten or an energetic young adult will want to play a lot more than a senior. However, older cats can also benefit from playing.

What’s The Best Way To Play With A Cat?

Your best bet is to use a toy that can be manipulated from a distance, such as a wand toy, laser pointer, or remote-controlled toy. This has multiple benefits. Firstly, it adds an element of surprise for your cat and makes the game more enjoyable and challenging for her. Plus, it promotes good petiquette and can help teach Fluffy proper manners. 

While it may be tempting to let your cat playfully attack your toes or fingers, this can send mixed signals. Your furball may have fun ‘kick-scratching’ your arm, but this could encourage bad behavior. Fluffy needs to understand that attacking the humans is not acceptable behavior. (For the same reason, we advise against using your fingers or toes when playing.)

What Should I Not Do?

Cat owners should be aware of a few things. The biggest don’t would be to play rough. Be very gentle! Otherwise, you run the risk of scaring or even injuring your kitty. 

It’s also essential to make sure you use safe toys. Cats don’t know what’s and isn’t safe for them. Many of them also seem to be most attracted to dangerous objects, though that’s a whole other blog topic. Anything small or sharp is a hazard. Stringed objects are also unsafe: these are choking hazards, and, if ingested, can cause severe internal injury. Wand toys are fine, but be careful not to leave them out when playtime is over. You don’t want your kitty getting tangled!

Avoid playing with your pet near hazards such as stairs, pools, and fireplaces. Choose a spot with a soft surface, such as a carpet.

Last but not least, if you have more than one cat, don’t play favorites. Give all of your feline pals equal attention during playtime. Ask your Coral Springs, FL vet for more information. 

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Playing With Me?

Cats can be purrplexing creatures, to say the least. It can be challenging to determine if Fluffy is in a playful or angry mood. Keep an eye on her body language and actions. When your kitty is feeling energetic, she may run around at high speeds or generally just act a bit silly. (We call this the zoomies.)  Playful cats might even surprise their owners with ambushes, perhaps hiding behind furniture and pouncing out as you walk by. If your kitty is well-mannered, she won’t bite or scratch too hard. In fact, she may lose interest in attacking you and switch to snuggling with instead. A cat that is angry, on the other hand, may hiss or growl, and will bite and scratch forcefully. 

In Conclusion: Playing with cats benefits them both physically and mentally, and can also be very fun and entertaining for you. Just be sure to use proper precautions, including choosing safe toys and discouraging bad behavior.

Do you have questions about cat care? Is your feline friend due for a visit? Please contact us, your Coral Springs, FL pet hospital, anytime!

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