WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PLAYING WITH YOUR CAT
Play is very important to cats – from kitten-hood right through to old age. In fact, playing with your cat is one of the most enjoyable things about owning one. It also offers great health benefits, encouraging your cat to be active, stay supple and maintain a sleek body condition.
Kittens start to play from four weeks old, spending most of their time wrestling with other kittens, working out the social pecking order. By the time a kitten is seven to eight weeks old, they will transfer their attention from social play with littermates, to predatory play with inanimate objects.
Your cat’s favourite games will probably be a playful variation of their natural hunting instincts. There is however, no end to the variety of games and toys you can try – just see what works best with your pet!
Cats find bells and wind-up toys fascinating.
A bucket filled with crumpled paper or ping-pong balls can make a useful distraction.
When your kitten attempts to stalk you, throw a ball to chase.
Leave a large cardboard box on the floor for diving into and scratching at.
Glue several boxes together, linked by peepholes, for kitten hide-and-seek.
Make a sack of fabric stuffed with dried catnip, a herb which drives some cats wild.
Dangle a ‘fishing pole’ toy with feathers or bells at the end of a string.
Some cats enjoy chasing and jumping at the light beams from a small flashlight.
Keep toys out of sight between play sessions – this stops your cat getting too familiar with the objects, so their reappearance is met with enthusiasm.
A mindful tip never use your fingers as toys.