Play is vitally important to a cat’s mental and physical health, and it’s especially important for indoor cats. Even though cats may sleep up to 16 hours a day, when they’re awake, they need stimulation, and the best way to accomplish this is with play. In the wild, when lions, tigers and other wild cats aren’t sleeping, they’re either hunting, or teaching their young to hunt. And play is nothing more than channelng your domestic tiger’s hunting instinct into play.
Toys that simulate play and satisfy a cat’s innate hunting drive will be most effective for creating a fun play experience for your cat that also helps her burn off excess energy. However, different cats have different play styles, and it’s up to you to figure out what really gets your kitty excited.
And don’t just wave a wand toy in front of your cat – that’s not how cats naturally hunt. Make interactive play interesting by alternating toys, changing the speed with which you drag them, and varying the distance between the toy and your cat. In essence, you want to give your cat the full hunting experience.
Play not only keeps your cat happy and healthy, playing together is fun for both of you and a wonderful way to increase your bond.
Dr. Mikel Delgado has created a fantastic resource on interactive play on her website, What Your Cat Wants.
You can also download the graphic as a PDF here.
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