This urge to hunt or practice their hunting skills is why I feel it is so important to keep toys on hard to keep your cat stimulated. A bored cat – much like a bored dog – will find something to do to fill their hunting needs, usually something destructive. They will knock things off counters or shelves; they will drag clothes or other things else around the house. Keeping toys on hand for your cat when no one is home is very important for your cat’s well being. Walk into a pet store and there is a huge variety of cat toys. I can’t tell you how many toys I’ve bought over the years. What appeals to one cat doesn’t to another.
I feel it’s very important to play with your cat as well. Teasers are great, so are laser pointers. Some cats will actually fetch a ball or toy. When I was in college, I had a cat, Cleo, who would steal my roommate’s ponytail holders. She loved it when I would shoot it across the room. She’d chase after it, pick it up then drop it by my feet to do again. Playing with your cat strengths the bond between you. I think they enjoy showing off their acrobatic skills and hearing your praise. Plus, your cat’s antics can be hilarious. Many times when I play with one cat, one of my other cats will sit back and watch with great interest or jump in and join the fun.
When raising your cat, they might try to bite or scratch your hand or arm, not understanding this hurts you and is unwanted behavior. Keep a plush cat toy on hand so when your cat “attacks” you, you can put the toy in the way so they can redirect their aggression. Praise them when they do.
What really reconfirmed my belief in the importance of play was watching a videos of large cats in captivity playing with pumpkins and lounging in cardboard boxes. These lions, tigers and panthers look just like the common house cat playing.
- This article “Interactive Play Therapy” talks about the benefits of play and gives great tips for how best to play with your cat.
- Another good article "How to Play With Your Cat. Maximize your bond while improving his health and well-being" also talks about what should not but used as a toy.
- "Use Cat Toys When Playing For A Happy Cat" explains when to play with your cat and the difference between "ground hunters" and "sky hunters"