Playing Together

It’s up to you to put things in motion.

  1. Playtime helps your cat relieve stress and improve overall fitness. All while strengthening the bond you share.

    Your cat may be in good shape or may be carrying some extra pounds. Regardless of age or body condition, playtime can stimulate your cat’s body and mind.

    Plus, you get to share in these fun experiences together.

    When used right, the action of the toys used during your playtime routine can emulate what your cat would experience in nature. This aligns perfectly with your cat’s instincts as it helps burn off energy that would have been used during the hunt.

    Here’s a look at a range of toys and techniques you can use to bring variety and enrichment to your cat’s day, especially ahead of feeding time.

  2. Make it a Routine

    Make time for play. Establish a set time to give your cat 15 minutes of play, ideally every day. We recommend timing this just ahead of feeding time so the exertion can be rewarded with food. 

    If your cat is more active at night, consider establishing a routine of playing (and even feeding) after sundown to help expend some of your cat’s energy.

    True Nature Tip: Don't be afraid to take a toy out of circulation for a time. Rotate often to avoid burnout.

    To Complete This Step

    Save a picture of one of your play sessions. If you play just before feeding, have you noticed any changes in eating habits? If you’re playing late in the evening, have your nights become a little more peaceful? Record your observations, including what time you’re regularly getting together for fun.

  3. Wand Toys

    You can find these wand or teaser toys in stores or make your own. They’re basically a stick with a piece of fabric, feather, ribbon or a small stuffed toy tied to it with string, cord or elastic. Flutter, circle or drag the toy through your cat’s line of vision to simulate the movement of prey and watch for a leap or pounce.

    Be sure to stow it away in a cupboard while it’s not in use as to avoid any accidents or boredom.  After playtime, let your cat release the toy before taking it away. Just because you are finished playing doesn’t mean your cat is, and they may mistake your cleaning up as a sign of more play.

    To Complete This Step

    Make or purchase a wand toy and try it with your cat. Which types of movements lead to tracking the toy patiently? Which are irresistible? Record your observations and upload your photo.

  4. Critter Toys

    These are made to closely resemble a cat’s natural prey like mice, birds or bugs. You can tie it to a string and drag it along the floor. Watch as your cat locks in on the toy before striking.

    To Complete This Step

    How does your cat react when you drag a toy? Does your cat show a preference for one “species” of prey over the others? Make a note about behavior while playing with these toys. And grab a photo with your cat's favorite critter.

  5. Ball Toys

    Some are rubber, plastic, fabric or even foil. Give it a roll and watch your cat shift into pursuit mode. Once it’s been caught, watch for your cat to bat the toy around or use paws to pull it closer.

    To Complete This Step

    Grab a shot of your cat batting around a ball toy. Is one paw used more than the other? Take note of this detail, and if your cat has a preference for color, size or texture if you use different types of ball toys.

  6. Fetch

    Some cats are inclined to retrieve a toy that you’ve thrown. Get your cat moving, but know that cats are not wired like dogs. Your cat is made for short bursts of activity whereas a dog can fetch for hours. When choosing a toy for fetch, be mindful of the size and weight so your cat can carry it easily in the mouth.

    To Complete This Step

    Note the size of the toy you’re playing with. Is your cat more likely to play for a longer stretch of time if you use a smaller, more manageable one? What’s the biggest toy you’ve seen your cat carry? Make a note of these observations, and upload a shot of your cat after bringing a toy back to you.

  7. Obstacles or Vertical Spaces

    Use treats to get your cat moving around or over obstacles, like jumping up onto an ottoman or leaping from perch to perch. You can even try to make an agility course inside your home.

    To Complete This Activity

    Create paths for your cat and describe them in your Journal. How long did it take before your cat got the hang of it? Have you set up an informal obstacle course? Upload a picture of it or your cat in motion and provide some details.

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