Cat Play Prevents Bad Behaviors and Ill Health
I’m known as the Treat Lady, the Catnip Lady and the Cat Whisperer, and I love all those names because it means my message is coming through. Another message I spread is this: cat play prevents bad behaviors and ill health. I love cats and I want to show you what I know so that you can strengthen your bond with your babies, as well as keep them fit and free of grumpy attitudes. One of the most important things you can do for your cat is join in and have a good time with them. Here’s your prescription: get them moving!
Poor Mindset Means Poor Health
Cats are not independent. There, I said it. I absolutely detest that saying, because it leads to thinking that cats are lazy, lay-abouts with no motivation, or worse, that they self-entertain. Of course they self-entertain, but not ALL the time – just like humans. You’ll go off and read a book but don’t you want to hang out with friends, too? Cats love to interact with their people, be it play, following you to the bathroom or having a snooze on the same couch as you. They’re just way better at saying “go away” than we are! These suppositions lead us to fat and unhealthy cats who may well be living shorter lives than their more active counterparts.
What Kind of Play Do Cats Like?
I see things for sale that infuriate me: mostly because I’ve been tempted to buy them, too. Things like the door hanging string flipper are great toys if your arm is tired from playing with your cat, but shouldn’t be considered a suitable replacement for a human. Same things goes for balls, wall hanging toys with giant stuffed toys on them and other things you drop on your floor only to be ignored by your cat. I remember when I had a wonderful cat named Samantha, teaching her the fun of balls whizzing down the varnished hallway floors. Darned if that cat didn’t learn to “throw” the ball all by herself when she wanted me to come play with her. That kind of direct communication that says “I kind of like you, human” is tremendously heartwarming.
Remember when shopping for fun toys to think like a cat. Don’t think like a human, or you’ll end up with a house full of pink and blue toys that your cat won’t even look at, let alone play with (*cough* Martha). So you’re a cat now, and you’re looking for a toy. You want something that moves like a bird, or a bug! or maybe it doesn’t fly, it crawls. Maybe it plays peek-a-boo and you, the cat, can’t get enough of stalking it. You don’t care what color it is, because you’re a cat. Your natural instincts are to pounce on tiny creatures, not 6″ long stuffed mice. The most important thing is that it should move, and it should have unpredictability in that movement. Enter the human. I keep a small collection of toys at the ready for every house I go to. I do not make any money from the provided links, but I find Amazon is best.
The Cat Dancer
I am absolutely certain I have bought hundreds of these. I leave them everywhere. This is the best $3 that any cat person ever spent. Don’t get tempted to buy the one with the “foot” that keeps it attached to a wall or piece of furniture. This is a glorified BUG and kitties just eat it up. You can move this in herky-jerky bug ways and drive them crazy. Pro-Tip: bounce it along the top of furniture or up a wall for that true Bug In The House! experience. Purchase Link
This one has been in my arsenal for probably 25 years and it’s still a favorite of cats everywhere. No cat can resist a bird flying by, and that’s exactly what this looks and sounds like to them. Bring out their inner predator and watch the aerial acrobatics ensue! Pro-Tip: There are spare feather replacements available for extra rambunctious birders. Purchase Link
The Go Cat “Cat Catcher”
The Cat Catcher is like a cross between the Cat Dancer and Da Bird. It’s a floor toy and it’s an aerial toy, looks like a mouse, moves like a bug. Its got a unique connection method of a twisted metal cording that is mildly stiff to cause the mouse to jump and quiver when you’re moving the rod. Cats go nuts for this kind of unpredictability. Purchase Link
I carry loads of other different toys with me as well, including fuzzy balls, peacock feathers and catnip – not all cats like the same toy. Cat play preferences vary widely: some prefer to remain on the floor, some might want to get airborne chasing a toy. Use any or all of these to rouse your cats senses and form a firm bond with them – for life!