Playing with your cat – Part 2 (of 4)

Sunday – KITI Fun Day

This post is written by ICatCare | @ICatCare

Assessing your cat’s motivation to play enables you to tailor play to suit its needs. For example,

High motivation to play =
• Plays frequently (and spontaneously) with objects
• Receptive at any time of day
• Less discriminate about objects chosen for play
• Rarely tires (you give up first)
• Destructive, often tearing or consuming toys
• Responds to ‘conditioned stimulus’, for example, the sound of a drawer opening that contains toys

Low motivation to play =
• Does not play spontaneously with objects
• Receptive only at specific times of day and circumstances
• Discriminate about toys chosen for play
• Tires quickly and needs a great deal of persuasion to start playing

Games to play
Toys can appeal to all the feline senses – sight, sound, scent, touch and taste. Movement is a great stimulus and most toys are designed to be used actively in one way or another.

Gentle noise (for example, a tinkling bell firmly concealed in a ball) may attract, but some cats will be alarmed by more strident noises. Catnip (dried catmint plant) rubbed on a plastic toy or secreted within a stuffed toy is of particular importance for blind cats and will appeal to the majority. Some cat toys feature different fabrics which encourage cats to rake their claws or rub their necks.

Each cat will have specific likes and dislikes regarding toys and these will be based on some or all of the following:
• Texture
• Shape
• Size
• Scent
• Noise
• Movement eg, random, quick, stop/start
• Owner interaction
• Time of day
• Location
• Presence of other cats

Establishing what stimulates your cat is based on trial and error, although some commercially available toys have majority appeal, such as those that contain high quality dried catnip (using the dried flowers and leaves of the catmint plant only), fishing rod toys with feathers on the end, small objects on wire that move erratically and small, fur mice.

Even simple toys, such as a ping pong ball, can provide hours of fun and exercise. The ball is light enough not to do any damage around the house and the right size for a small paw to bat. For example, if you have stairs in your home, throw the ball up to encourage your cat to chase it or drop it gently from the top so that your cat sees it bounce from step to step.

Even everyday household rubbish, such as screwed up balls of paper, sweet wrappers, string and corks can be transformed into exciting toys that can be chased or tossed from paw to paw.

#icatcare #sundayfunday #playingwithyourcat #citikiti #catsitter #catvisits #cutecats #catcarelondon

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