Cats at Play
Our cats (Mowgli, Poppy & Basho) always enjoy chasing something around the house or garden. They really look forward to it. We’re sure yours do too! Having a regular schedule of interactive ‘pretend hunt time’ with your cat has mental as well as physical benefits. Schedule playtime or ‘pretend hunt time’ once or twice a day, with about 15 minutes for each session. You’d be surprised what a ½ hour a day of playtime and fun can do for your cat’s emotional and physical health.
The importance of ‘pretend hunt time’ with your cat.
Cats do not have the lung capacity to chase to exhaustion; so avoid lengthy marathons throughout the house. Stick to what’s natural for your cat. In the wild, cat’s stalk their prey staying as quiet and invisible as possible. They inch closer and closer and then, when within striking distance... Pounce! Move the toy like prey, alternating between fast and slow motions so it gives your cat time to plan their next move. Here’s a tip: movements that go away from or across your cat’s visual field will trigger prey drive. Dangling a toy in a cat’s face is a sign of stupidity; as is chasing a cat with a toy.
Keep that in mind as you move the toy around that for interactive playtime to be beneficial in terms of confidence, trust-building or stress-relieving, cats like to plan their moves so allow them to have successful captures and not become frustrated. Also, build confidence in your cat. Let them have plenty of captures throughout the game. If you were a cat, it would be pretty frustrating if you never got your paws on the toy. Remember the hunting game needs to be fun for your cat.
Ending the Game
When it’s time to end the game don’t just suddenly stop and put the toy away. Your cat may still be very revved up. Instead, wind the action down. Let the prey slowly get tired or injured so the cat’s movements will naturally slow down as well. Ensure you leave your cat proudly content with one final grand capture.