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Playtime With Your Cat

January 15, 2024

When your cat bats a bottle cap or cotton swab across the floor, does it make you laugh? Cats are adorable no matter what they are doing, but they are even cuter when they are feeling frisky and playful. What’s more, pouncing and running are actually very important for your cat. In this article, a local Galloway, OH vet offers some tips on how to play with your cat.

Do Cats Want Us To Play With Them?

Despite the fact that our feline friends often have a variety of preferences and unique quirks, almost all of them enjoy playing. Of course, you can’t force cats to do anything. If Fluffy isn’t in the mood to play, she will probably just walk away.

Can I Play With My Cat?

Playing with your cat isn’t just okay: it’s actually something most Galloway, OH vets recommend! It is well known that kittens are very frisky and playful when they are young. Playing is a great way to keep that motor going even as your cat gets older. Keeping her entertained and active will also make her feel secure and loved. Finally, interacting with your kitty can be a great way to relax and unwind at the end of the day. 

Benefits of Playing With Your Cat

Frequent play is beneficial for our feline pals in a number of ways. For kittens, playing can help burn off those extra zoomies. If Fluffy gets worn out chasing that red dot, she’ll probably be ready for a nap afterwards. If your nocturnal companion tends to get frisky in the wee hours of the night, you may find that extra play during the day helps curb those midnight zoomies.

Playing with your cat on a regular basis is also a great way for you both to bond. When you hold that string toy or laser pointer, Fluffy will see how you’re interacting with her and trying to entertain her. Most likely, you’ll be rewarded with some extra cuddles and purrs.

For cats who are shy or skittish, mastering that tricky pounce/jump combo can help build their self-esteem and make them feel more confident. Consider it the feline equivalent of scoring the game-winning goal or acing that big test.

For older cats, those run/jump/pounce combos are similar to doing a crossword puzzle or brain teaser. Not only does regular play keep them in good physical shape, but it can also ward off cognitive decline.

Spending time with your feline pal can even benefit you! Studies have shown that interacting with cats may help reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

When Should I Play With My Cat?

As an experienced Galloway, OH vet, we recommend daily playtime with your pet. This is easier than you may think. Simply keep a few cat toys near the place where you like to watch TV or read, and incorporate it into your evening routine.

Ways To Play With Your Cat

While Fluffy may still enjoy pouncing on catnip mice, it isn’t the only game she knows. Some cats also like batting at wand toys or chasing little balls around. Others prefer high-tech gadgets. We recommend trying out different games to find out what your kitty likes.

You can try the following options:

  • Fetch: While playing fetch is most often associated with Fido, some of our feline friends also enjoy it. It’s a particularly popular activity among Bengals, Siamese, and other Asian breeds. (Fun fact: researchers recently discovered that cats often teach themselves how to play fetch. In fact, the majority of people who play this game with their kitties apparently started doing so at random.)
  • Tricks: You can use small, high-value treats to teach Fluffy a few fun tricks, like Gimme Five, Sit, Roll Over, or Jump. Just remember to use the same words or phrases every time to help reinforce the desired behavior.
  • High-Tech Toys: These days, kitties have a number of different gadgets to play with. Chasing a remote-controlled mouse or a smart toy that responds to her movements might keep Fluffy occupied for hours. You can even activate some toys remotely. For instance, using an automated laser pointer that works with your smartphone can be a fun way to check in with your pet while on your lunch break.
  • Mazes: Try making a little labyrinth for your pet. You can do this using everyday items you might find around the house, such as large cardboard boxes or paper grocery bags with the bottoms cut off. Or, you could arrange some pet tunnels for your kitty to explore.

What’s The Difference Between Playing And Attacking?

Cats have a rather unique quirk; in that they sometimes bite and scratch us to show affection. This can make interactions with her a bit confusing at times, because it can be hard to tell whether she’s being playful or is actually in attack mode.

Typically, when a cat feels playful, she will rarely bite or scratch. She may ‘kick scratch’, but she will likely lose steam pretty quickly. And although she might flatten her ears or lash her tail, she might also decide to lick you instead of biting you. When a cat is angry, it usually bites hard and may also hiss or growl. Talk to your Galloway, OH vet if you’re still unsure.

What’s The Best Way To Teach My Pet To Play Nicely?

You may need to guide your feline friend if she hasn’t quite figured out how to be a good kitty. If she attacks you, don’t punish her: that may only frighten her and make things worse. That said, you don’t want to ignore biting or scratching behavior, either, as doing so could lead to dangerous behavioral problems. Those claws and teeth may look small, but they can cause real injuries.

Stop playing with your cat immediately if she bites or scratches. Reprimand her vocally and in a stern tone. You can say something like: ‘Don’t bite’ or ‘Put your claws away’. After that, walk away and ignore her for a bit. Fluffy is smart. Sooner or later, she’ll get the message.

If the bad behavior persists, there are some things you can do to discourage it further. The best way to do this is to find ways to irritate her, whether it’s squirting her with water, blowing in her face, or making a loud noise. You can also try sounding a loud alarm, clapping your hands, or banging some pots together. Cats dislike loud noises, and since they spend the majority of of their time sleeping, it’s no surprise they prefer peace and quiet.

Toys you can control from a distance may also be helpful. Just be sure to store string toys safely out of reach after each use, so Fluffy won’t get tangled in them.

What If My Cat Wants To Play All The Time?

Some cats are especially demanding and want to be held or petted 24/7. And while most of us would love to oblige, job responsibilities and family duties dictate otherwise.

It’s a good idea to provide Fluffy with other ways to entertain herself, such as a window seat with a good view or puzzle feeders. This should help keep her occupied when you’re not able to interact with her.

Want more tips or tricks for keeping your kitty fit, physically and mentally? Get in touch with us, your Galloway, OH animal hospital, and let’s chat!


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175 Galloway Rd.
Galloway, OH 43119
t: (614) 870-3900
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Also serving Westland and
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