Playing with your cat is one of the most beneficial exercises for your pet. There are many ways to enjoy it, but one of the most effective is an interactive play – that is, a play with a toy directed by you. Even if your cat appears not to be attracted to toys, it’s worth enticing him because playing has many gains.
- Playing solves behavior problems. Most cat behaviorists will prescribe playing with your cat when solving almost any unwanted cat behavior. Especially if it’s related to aggression, destructive behaviors, excessive vocalization or lack of confidence. What do they all have in common? They are all based on natural cat behavior but can be a problem if engaged too often. The reason – too much energy. Simple as that, if you manage to redirect this energy towards playing with your cat, most of those “behavior problems” will vanish in the thin air.
Playing prevents obesity. You do know, it’s not only about the looks. Obesity is the primary cause of many health problems. If your cat is already obese, you have two options. First, you can either reduce his food intake, but you can also increase his exercise. You should do both, but the second one is a must. Why? Ask any nutritionist, doctor, physician or your mom – starving damages health, exercises improve it. Manage your cat’s food intake according to the food manufacturer’s guidelines (if he is on a commercial diet) and make sure you are playing with your cat often. If you feel you are too lazy, check our article: 7 tips for playing with cats for busy people.
- Playing reduces stress. For both of you. What do many people do when they are stressed out? Eat? Okay, besides eating? They walk back and forth. That’s a nature’s way of making you lose physical energy when you are stressed. Because it’s the only way to calm. It works for your cat, as well. If he plays regularly, his stress is lower. Of course, you must identify and minimize the source of stress as well, but extra playing is still the first step.
- Playing improves the bond between you and your cat. Playing is an interaction, and positive interaction, be it petting, talking or playing, improves relationships. Between humans, between dogs, between bees and between cats and their owners. Even if you think you have no problems with your cat’s affection to you, you may be surprised about the level it can climb to if you enjoy a few undistributed play sessions every day.
- Playing ensures fun. Yes, playing is fun for your cat, and it reduces boredom. It is very powerful if used in combination with other ways to make your cat’s life fun.
Playing decreases the tension between multiple cats. Every cat owner knows that it’s not necessarily for cats to hate each other to have some fights every now and then. However, if you play with them, especially if you let them observe each other taking turns, it may improve their bond, and those occasional fights can easily be diminished, if not eliminated completely.
- Playing builds confidence in shy cats. Do you have a cat who is not actively engaging the environment or interacting with other pets in your household? There’s a simple cure. Every day, lock yourself up in a room with the timid cat and enjoy at least fifteen minutes of interactive play. Don’t try to force he toy upon him, but try to cause curiosity in him/her. Since you both are alone in the room, there are no distractions or threats, and your timid cat’s curiosity will do the rest. In turn, he will not only be thriving to play with you, but he will also interact with other pets with more confidence because he’ll be like “Yes, I can!”
While playing isn’t a magic wand, it almost appears as one. In cases when problems are caused by boredom, which causes the majority of behavior problems with indoor cats, increased playtime alone can help turn things around. Click here to learn how playing solves behavior problems.