Playtime is not only a fun time for your cat, but it is also important for their health and wellbeing. Cats love to play and incorporating playtime into your cat’s daily routine is not usually a difficult task as they rarely need to be motivated to participate. Choosing games that stimulate their hunting and chasing instincts will have them participating in no time. Marycke Ackhurst, pet behaviour expert from Hill’s Pet Nutrition says, “Playtime with your cat not only helps to keep her healthy but will also strengthen the bond between the two of you.”
Outdoor cats tend to get a lot of exercises as they love to explore their neighbourhood. However, indoor cats are a lot more sedentary and may need a little help from their parents to get them out of their sunny day bed and play, inadvertently providing some exercise. Older cats may also need a bit more encouragement to get moving but by creating playtime as a form of exercise they will soon start enjoying it and be more participative – you will see the improvement in their mental and physical health.
Ideally schedule two short play sessions a day, however, considering the hectic lives most of us lead, this may prove to be difficult. So, providing self-play toys for your cat is essential. Ackhurst says that this is important for indoor cats as they are often left on their own for most of the day and they need to be stimulated to keep happy and healthy.
She recommends some games that will help entice your cat, whether they are a kitten or an older cat, to get them moving about:
- Interactive toys such as a wand with feathers that your cat can chase around, self-play toys that contain catnip, and food enrichment toys such as food puzzles that give treats are all popular with cats and help to make exercise fun. Hill’s Pet Nutrition customers can receive a free whimsical wand with their purchase of any bag of Hill’s Feline 1.5kg or larger. * The wands come with four different and incredibly cute plush characters.
- Larger toys such as cat condos, scratching posts and cat wheels all provide outdoor playtime indoors and will provide your cat with good exercise. Remember cats love vertical spaces so remember to provide them with the opportunity to climb and jump and even hide out of reach. Senior cats may develop arthritis and if they aren’t used to climbing regularly it could become a problem for them so if your cat isn’t keen on climbing try enticing them by placing healthy treats on different levels.
Ackhurst concludes, “Cat playtime and exercise is generally easy to create by stimulating their hunting and chasing instincts and comes with great rewards.”
*T’s & C’s apply
For more information visit the Hill’s Pet Nutrition website