There are many reasons to play with your cat — as if you needed any to begin with. While food, water, and veterinary care are regarded as the only necessary elements of a pet’s life, playing should be included too. It requires very little of your time and pays off in very large ways. There are unlimited environments in which playtime can be performed and an abundance of toys available — which can either be created out of normal household supplies or purchased from a pet store.
While this may seem like the most obvious reason to play with your cat, it is definitely not the most utilized. According to a 2016 report from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than 50% of house cats are overweight — an alarming statistic. Although there are many lifestyle factors that contribute to this condition, playing with your cat is a fun way to ensure they are getting some exercise. Depending on the game, you could even get a workout in yourself — making for a win-win situation.
Cats have varying personalities ranging from shy and skittish to overwhelmingly affectionate. Some cats tend to hide from people while others seize any opportunity to climb into their laps. Whichever personality your cat displays, socialization is extremely important for maintaining your relationship — and playing is the best form there is. Routine interaction with humans allows your cat’s confidence to grow while making them more comfortable in the household environment. Many cats are prone to anxiety and physical engagement is an easy way to keep it at bay.
Playtime is great for cats physically, but did you know it is helpful for them mentally as well? Studies have shown in humans and felines alike that mental function tends to decrease over time. As your cat grows older, they might lose some of the spark they possessed in their younger years. Interactive play helps stimulate your cat’s mind and engage them in activities that make them think — laser pointers and hunting simulations are great toy options. The more you play with your cat, the sharper their minds will stay.
This reason to play with your cat goes hand in hand with mental health — and it applies to you as well. Playing can help decrease discomfort in a changing environment. As humans, our lives are constantly mutating, with new jobs, new relationships, and new places to live. Our cats are strung right along with us, but as creatures of habit, may not be able to adjust so easily. Playing is a great way of reassuring your cat through stressful times. It has also been shown to be effective in helping people by lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety, and preventing depression.
Knocking Nocturnal Habits
Cats are nocturnal creatures by nature. They are prone to being active at night and sleeping during the day. While natural, this behavior can become annoying, as we humans enjoy sleeping through the night. A helpful way to prevent excessive nighttime disturbances by your feline friend is to play with them in the evenings before bed. Choose toys that will engage them physically and mentally, such as cat teasers or dangling toy mice. Tiring their bodies and their minds will cause them to be more likely to sleep at night. What a great reason to play with your cat!
Strengthen Your Relationship
Developing a relationship with your cat is a lifelong process that never ceases. As with any relationship, there will be many ups and downs, much happiness, and equal moments of frustration. While your cat cannot hear you express in words how much you care for them, they are able to develop an understanding through your behavior. Although feeding and caring for them are sure ways of earning their affection, cats are sensitive animals that will appreciate the extra time you spend playing with them and assuring them they safe and loved.