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Cat Friendly Play

The AAFP offers the following suggestions for appropriate playtime activities with your cat. The original source is available at:

  • Be sure to have a wide variety of toys and items that simulate or mimic the ‘prey’ cats naturally hunt (e.g., mice).

  • Toys that have erratic movements and simulate or mimic the movements of prey are very exciting to cats.

  • Rotate and change your cat’s toys on a routine basis to keep him interested. Some cats become bored with a toy after a few days, some a few weeks, and some prefer only one toy.

  • Allow your cat to capture the ‘prey’ at the end of his hunt/play session to satisfy his natural hunting instinct. This also prevents your cat from becoming frustrated. While lasers are very attractive to most cats, they don’t allow your cat to feel the sense of accomplishment of capturing the prey.

  • TIP: If you use a laser, hide a treat or piece of kibble. Then at the end, let your cat capture the laser where the treat is hidden. This way he feels like he captured the prey and is rewarded.

  • Cats tend to play more when they are hungry. So manage his weight, feed him frequent small meals, or even hide food around the house to help encourage him to play more often.

  • Offer dry food in food puzzles to entice your cat. This type of feeding simulates hunting and can aid weight loss in the overweight cat.

  • It is important to have toys and enrichment items (i.e. cat trees, perches, windows to watch outdoor activity) available for your cat to play by himself when you are not home.

  • You can also create do-it-yourself cat toys made out of common household items (i.e. paper towel rolls, boxes, socks, cardboard, crumpled paper, water bottles, etc.).

  • When your cat walks away from you, he is done playing. Do not force interaction, instead let him initiate, choose, and control the type of human contact he desires. Each cat has their own individual preference regarding how much human interaction they prefer.

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