Benefits of cat play
If cats are not entertained or challenged, they can become bored, lethargic, or even depressed. It is best if you can interact with your kitty. But if you do need to leave the cat alone, then leaving toys or entertainment of some sort will help to alleviate kitty getting up to mischief.
A nomadic life brings constant change. There are days, even weeks when, for whatever reason, it may not be safe to take your kitty outside. Even when you go outside, your cat might not be familiar enough to be comfortable enough to play with the new environment. Daily exercise is important not just to alleviate boredom but for the overall health of your feline. Cat play encourages your kitty to be active and maintain a healthy body weight. And, cat play will keep muscles toned and strong. Exercise also helps to keep kitty’s mind alert and active.
Relieve The Predatory Instinct
All cats have a predatory instinct, some more than others. Cat play will provide an outlet to settle that instinct. Cats are naturally curious and need some challenges every day. If they are not challenged, they may become lethargic, mean, or depressed. A bored kitty will sometimes take to entertaining themselves at the expense of your furniture, your curtains, or you.
When initiating a game with the predatory instinct in mind, think about cat play directed towards objects in which kitty can stalk, pounce on, bat, grasp, or bite. These are the skills they naturally continue to hone for hunting.
Speaking of hunting, your kitty mustn’t practice its hunting skills on the local wildlife. Bells on your cat’s collar, keeping her inside between dusk and dawn, and not letting her roam unaccompanied will help. Make sure that native birds, reptiles, and marsupials are safe from kitty.
If you are concerned about your cat’s hunting behavior, you can read our article, HowTo Stop My Cat Killing.
Playing is a perfect opportunity to enhance the bond that you share with your kitty. If you can give your cat a minimum of 10 minutes of cat play on a busy day, they are going to love you all the more for it. Let’s face it; nomadic life is hopefully affording you the time to give your feline your undivided attention for 20 to 30 minutes. The result is a strong relationship and likely a better night’s sleep for both of you.
Cat play affords you (as the owner, don’t let kitty tell you otherwise) the opportunity to teach your cat good manners. What is allowed as cat play, and what isn’t? Biting and scratching should not be tolerated. If cat play starts to become too aggressive, it is time to stop. This is sending your kitty the message that you will not accept aggression. Attacking the furniture with his or her claws is unwanted behavior as well.
Punishing kitty physically is not going to change behavior and, in fact, may send the opposite message as, in itself, is an act of aggression on your part. The best deterrent for most cats is a spray water bottle. A gentle spray stops most kitties in their tracks and sends a firm message that they have overstepped their boundaries.