An active cat is a happy cat! Cats need more than cuddling; they need play to remain active throughout their lives. Pet owners often purchase toys and expect their cat to play with the toy on its own. The owner becomes disappointed when the cat doesn’t play with toys. Instead of waiting around for your cat to initiate play, make play a two-sided experience by turning toys into prey. Both you and your cat will be happy.
Exercise Time Can Be Fun Time!
Mimicking the hunting experience will excite your cat, initiate exercise, and make your cat use its brain. Cats naturally hunt at dawn and dusk, so try to play with your cat at those times. To simulate prey with a toy:
- Dangle a feather attached to a string or stick to mimic a bird.
- Drag a toy across the floor like a mouse.
- Wiggle a piece of cardboard attached to the end of a string or stick to simulate a bug.
- Slither a rope across the floor to act like a snake.
You can also play with your cat in other ways like alternating fast and slow movements, hiding a toy under a piece of fabric or paper or even rustling a paper bag. Remember that cats see best when the action is taking place a few feet away.
Be Sure to Give Your Pet a Reward
At the end of each play session, let your cat seize the prey as a reward. This will ensure that your cat isn’t frustrated, and it satisfies the cat’s natural hunting instinct. Rotate toys so your cat doesn’t get bored and remember that you can’t force a cat to play. Above all, be patient.
If traditional play is not your thing, try methods developed in the “Cat Pawsitive” Program, developed by Jackson Galaxy. Galaxy is the host of “My Cat From Hell,” a show on Animal Planet. After working at an animal shelter, Galaxy recognized that shelter cats were more adoptable if they had skills.
He developed the program to educate people on how to train their cats to sit, give high-fives, spin around, give head bumps and even jump through hoops. The program uses rewards and a clicker to reinforce the behavior.
Learn More About Your Pet with the Friendly Sunset Veterinary Clinic Staff
If you have a new cat in your family, we would love to meet them at Sunset Veterinary Clinic. Our experienced veterinarian staff is available to discuss any issues or answer any questions about your new cat. Call Sunset Veterinary Clinic to book your kitty’s first appointment today at (405) 844-2888.