Cats are not only super cute but are also a source of endless entertainment for their owners.
Feline friends are real show makers and playing with them is fun not only for them but for their owners as well, because let's admit it, there are few species on this world than can jump of a kitchen counter and continue to play like they never fell down.
Fierce and mighty, cuddly and gentle, cats are walking contradictions and require both their devil and angel sides to be equally expressed.
While their angel side, the cuddly kitty persona comes effortlessly to them and we love them for being so adorable, their devilish side, the adventure-seeking side that keeps them moving and exploring even when you thought there is nothing left for them to explore is as cute as the angel side of their personality.
Here is why letting them be little devils who like to chase things and scratch a little is so important.
Why is Play Important to Cats?
Cats are natural-born hunters. While their feline siblings, lions, and tigers live in the wild and have the opportunity to hunt to survive, cats have been with humans for ages and because they are treated like royalty living in cities, where there is so little opportunity to express their inner hunter personality, they need to play.
For them play is not just fun. It's their way of gaining self-confidence and practicing their hunting skills. It is their way of staying in shape and living up to their nature.
Because we feed them they don’t have to hunt to survive, and because plenty of cats live the indoors lifestyle, there simply needs to be a way they can get rid of the excess energy the mother nature has given to them.
Playing helps them stay in shape, activates them the way that is natural to them and therefore helps keep them healthy.
Playing is extremely beneficial, not only to their physical, but mental health as well as cats who live very dull lives are not living according to their real nature and can, therefore, fall into depression.
Being highly instinctive and within tune with the world around them, they simply need a chance to activate those senses as it really makes them feel alive.
That being said, you are probably wondering when and how often must you play with your cat?
Well, the trick to this question lies in the fact that while all cats are natural born hunters who need adventure, some cats need it more than others.
While there is no magic formula you can follow when it comes to how much and when you should play with them, the simple answer will be - as frequently, as much as possible and wherever you find it suitable.
For the busy owners, it is wise to have quality playtime with them at least twice a day, as this will have a huge benefit on their health, both mental and physical.
Techniques of playing with your cat
For those who think a quality playtime means spending a fortune on interesting toys that will keep a cat entertained, the great news is all you need to do is be creative and use household items.
They are natural-born explorers with a drive to be active that don’t make a difference between a toy from the shop or a DIY one, as long as it is an engaging one.
Because they are so easily entertained you won't have much trouble getting their attention as long as you know their preferences and are familiar with their temperament, likes, and dislikes.
For this, you will need to do some experimenting to see how they react to each toy, but the good thing is you probably won’t have to be a pro cat toymaker to get them on their paws.
Scrunched up paper balls or repurposed sock wrestle toy you made yourself will cost nothing but can easily become the next best thing for your feline friend. Inspiration is everywhere.
For instance, it is a well-known fact that cats are amused with balloons, so why not get them one from time to time.
They will have a lot of fun chasing it and you will probably start crying from excessive laughing just by watching them. If you lack inspiration, all you need to do is turn your cat TV on and watch the magic happen.
Some cats are like little children or elderly people who love to relax in front of the screen, so if you have noticed your furry friend is getting really drawn to the TV or a laptop screen, let them play for a while with the picture on the screen.
Many cats are simply fascinated by the sounds and all the interesting images on the screen, and while a TV might not get them as physically active, it may certainly keep them entertained.
You can get even more creative than this, with a play called cat treat scavenger hunt.
With this one, all you need to do is be a good strategist and place their favorite treats around the place you live in.
First, place the treats on easy to spot places, and then you can level the game up and even hide them a little. This will turn them into real detectives while their usual treats become a real prize.
Make sure they get what you are doing so start small. Once they are into it, you will be able to relax and watch them sniff around, exploring your home, running, jumping and getting rewarded for that.
This will not only keep them engaged at the time but create a habit of getting busy in the apartment, exploring different corners and using their senses.
Games like this are a cat world version of hiding and seak, and as much as kids find it entertaining, cats will absolutely do too.