Mitchell Veterinary Services Talks About Play Habits of Cats

By June 27, 2017 Small Animal

Cats in the wild are both predator and prey species. They rest a lot in hiding spots or elevated places between hunting for multiple mouse-sized meals throughout the day and night.  Domestic cats still have these traits; indoor cats need to hunt and have an enriched environment.  The good news is you don’t have to let your cat outside to meet these needs.

  • Cats like new toys – they are attracted to novelty
    • Plan on rotating your kitty’s toys
      • 3 toys per cat per day
    • They normally play for 1-5 minutes at a time (they are sprinters, not endurance athletes)
  • Hide kibble around the house or in containers for the cat to work out like a puzzle
    • Egg carton containers and food-dispensing balls are great for this purpose
  • Put a string under a piece of tissue paper or towel and pull string out or cut holes in a box and put a ball inside
  • Clicker training
    • This is a training tool that involves pairing an action that you teach your pet to do (like sitting on command) with the sound of a click, which is followed by a treat
    • Your pet learns that the click means that a reward is coming J
    • YouTube has lots of excellent examples of clicker training for cats
  • Most cats really like elevated heights
    • This allows them to feel safe when there is commotion in their home
    • You can have options that are as simple as a ledge with window access or a DYI “catio” (outdoor cat enclosure)
  • It is also really important for your cats to have a room or area that they can retreat to if they are overwhelmed or need some undisturbed alone time

We all have busy schedules, but just a few minutes of daily play routine can mean a world of difference to have a well-adjusted cat that tolerates change in the home (such as a new pet or newborn). Behavioural problems can sometimes be avoided or managed by providing your cat with outlets to act on its instincts.

Here is a website with a checklist of tools that you can easily incorporate into your cat’s home:

Happy (toy) hunting!

Leave a Reply