How often do you play with your cat?

How often do you play with your cat?

by Michael

Photo by slightlywinded (Flickr)

Photo by slightlywinded (Flickr)

I am bad at playing with my cats. I always have been and I feel guilty about it. Am I alone? Do we have an obligation to play with our cat and if so for how long every day? What percentage of a cat's time should be taken up in play?

Cat play is meant to be a substitute for hunting. We look after our cats in such a way that it can be unhealthy for them. They have no challenges left. All they can do is eat and sleep. Most domestic cat lives are pretty much made up of those two activities particularly full-time indoor cats. Am being too harsh or too honest? Outdoor/indoor cats can at least explore some area of the garden but there are safety and health issues.

How important is playing with our cat? It seems to me that it is important (we are told it is). It should stimulate our cat and help maintain a decent weight. I am a concerned cat caretaker. So why don't I play with my cat more?

The reason for me is that I get bored. My cat also gets bored quite quickly. I sense that my experiences are not untypical.

The point is that the "experts" constantly remind us that we should play with our cat and there are piles of cat toys on the market. But I don't see anything on the internet about how successful we are in playing with our cats or how effective the toys are. I suspect cats get tired of cat toys quite quickly.

Perhaps one answer is keeping two cats so they can play together. Once again, though, how often do adult cats in a multi-cat household play with each other?

One possibility is some sort of cat exercise machine such as a treadmill. I don't know how successful these are either.

Phew..I don't know if I am being a bit too negative or just realistic and honest.

How good are you at playing with your cat or ensuring that he or she plays or exercises? Sorry if this is a bit if a ramble.

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How often do you play with your cat?

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Oct 17, 2011
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As often as they want me to
by: Rose

Yes I play with my cats just as much as I play with my kids and my dogs.
In a mulitiple pet household you have to ensure that each one gets an equal share of attention and also ensure the cats don't end up as the kids toys or being harrassed by the dogs of the family.
I shudder to think of declawed cats being helplessly used that way.
Anyone who doesn't have time to care for and amuse their pets is cheating those poor animals.
Just because cats don't push themselves forward like dogs do,it doesn't mean they don't want your time.


Oct 17, 2011
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Playing with the cat
by: Dorothy

I don't think I could get away with NOT playing with my cat. He let's me know when it is time, and when it is time to stop. That includes often getting up in the middle of the night to follow him around for a bit. If I don't, he'll not let me rest! But I don't mind. It is like we have an understanding. He always makes me smile, and that is worth it. He is allowed out in the garden during the day at his will, and he's content to lay in the shade and watch the world.

I have two outdoor cats as well. One is feral and one is a 'time share' cat as Michael puts it. I watch them through the kitchen window daily. They are best friends those two. They really love each other and they play and hunt together. Sometimes the feral cat is back there alone and she 'pretends' to hunt and makes a huge game of it. Or she tosses the pods that fall off the oak trees as if they were live mice. Of course, she does catch field mice as well. I'd say cats pretty much entertain themselves. Watching her, probably a 12+ year old cat playing her heart out is proof enough for me. They say feral cats live short lives, but this beautiful blonde was part of a TNR project before I moved to the neighborhood and she has lived in my yard now for almost 4 years. She asks to be fed, and we too have an understanding. As long as there is a glass door between us, we are friends.

Cats are the best.

dw


Oct 17, 2011
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PS
by: Ruth

I mean cats have a short attention span in our world of course as in their natural world we all know they can sit and watch a mouse for hours without even twitching a whisker lol

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Oct 17, 2011
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Thank you Michael
by: Ruth

Thank you for your kind compliment Michael.
Most cats don't have a very long attention span so being too busy for 5 minutes of fun and games a few times daily is no excuse.
People who say they don't have time to play with their cat still seem to find time to watch TV.
Our boyz always choose when playtime is over, they give me that 'Well I've got better things to do now' look lol
I think it's a misconception that 'cats look after themselves, dogs need attention' and maybe some people just don't realise cats love, need and deserve as much quality time with you as you can give them too.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Oct 16, 2011
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Monty's playtimes
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

I've been working out in the back yard (garden, for those in the UK) to lose some weight. Monty thinks my exercise sessions are playtime for him. I've been walking while doing arm ex with weights, because moving with weights activates your core. Monty thinks I'm walking (while he hides in the bushes) so he can jump out and pounce on me. He loves it. It is our game. I think he's mystified as to why I'm holding things in my hands and moving my arms.

The other day Monty meowed for me to come outside. I came out and he took off running. I found him up in a tree, but not one he usually climbs. He reminded of a little kid wanting to show me a new trick, "Look, Mom, look where I can climb!" I like to hold Monty in my arms near a tree and he'll grab onto it with his claws. I can feel his little muscles contracting as he gets a workout hooking the tree with his claws and pulling against the resistance.

The best games we play are the ones where Monty uses his claws. A friend of my husband has declawed cats and they will play now and then, but it's just not the same. They can't do the things Monty can do. Even for inside games, he uses his claws. He has several stuffed toys. I throw a toy to the top of his scratching post/perch and he climbs up, grasps the toy in his teeth while holding on with his claws. Or as he sits on his perch I throw a toy over his head. His little claws help him to get the toy almost every time, snatching it right out of the air as it whizzes by him.


Oct 16, 2011
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Our Dear Cats
by: Lindy Fellober

I play with them as much as I can. I did it years ago with my cat who lived till 17-1/2 and even at 12 and up he loved to play. I would hide in the closet and he would look for me and when he found me he would give me a nip to let me know, "I found you" The little boy I was babysitting then, his dad said to me " How come your cat plays, even at this age as ours is 3 and doesn't play and I asked him, do you play with him and he said no well I said there's your answer.

They need stimulation just like we do. Where would little children be if someone didn't take the time to interact with them. Don't vegetate and don't let your pet down when he or she wants some interaction, afterall, they will probably enjoy it, try it you'll see and be patience, it certainly won't hurt you. Remember your pets are not ornaments. I better stop now. Take care folks and enjoy your pets.


Oct 16, 2011
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Admirable
by: Michael

You are the best cat guardian in the UK, Ruth. And I agree the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is one of Britain's best bits of legislation. It really is good because it tells us how we should look after cats and all animals as well as being criminal legislation.

I just wonder though if the whole "we have go to play with cats" concept is a little overhyped. I don't think, in general, people do it that much. You are exceptional, Ruth.

This is where letting a cat go outside is important. It allows them to entertain themselves. It takes the pressure of that from us.

People who keep their cats in all the time have a greater responsibility to play with their cat. But do they discharge that responsibility? I doubt it.


Oct 16, 2011
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Every day
by: Ruth

Part of the UK Animal Welfare Act 2006 says you must ensure an animal 'is allowed to express itself and behave normally'
(It's a pity a similar Act is not yet passed in the USA and Canada where the declawing of cats does just the opposite)
To a cat expressing himself and acting normally is the enjoyment of hunting, therefore indoor only cats missing out on this, need stimulating games with toys. They need to have kitty grass available too.
Anyone with indoor only cats should spend a lot of time ensuring the cats have a quality busy life. Too many say well cats sleep a lot, yes they do, but mostly out of boredom !
I can't understand anyone getting a cat who doesn't give them the time they need and have a right to.
Our 2 cats rarely play together, they used to when they were younger but now we have seperate playtimes indoors and out.
They have a box of catnip toys, Walter will go and lift the lid when he wants to play, Jozef sits and looks at the box. We also have great fun with 'boo' round the garden shed and 'monster under the mat' and 'chasing a snake' games and grooming time is fun time too with the brush and comb attacked and us in stitches laughing 'with' our boyz. You should never laugh at a cat, but oh how they love to make you laugh 'with' them.
We are lucky to live in a cat friendly neighbourhood and our boyz have their freedom but we always make a happy home to come back to and they don't stray far away.
I have a high chair by my computer desk so if I'm busy there is a handy perch for either cat if they want to 'help' me.
All very pleasant and easy for me now as I'm retired and I love cats more than anything in the world.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Oct 15, 2011
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I must get out that fishing pole and play interactively with them!
by: Grahame

I like the 'rambling' in your post, Michael. And I like your creativity in continually coming up with these relevant and timely posts to challenge and to interest us.

I often feel guilty about not playing very actively with my cat(s). My 14 year-old girl cat likes her assortment of soft mousies upon which I spray extract of catnip. She plays actively with it--
for a while. I have also so arranged the house that my cats have got to jump up to get to their favourite places, to their beds, and formerly to their food bowls. That assures exercise. BUT I feel guilty that I do not play more with the laser pointer, with the fishing pole with a dangling toy mousie at its end, and so forth. (There are currently no kittens here; mine are all well-up in years, but remain active.)

What seems to be the cats' take? I give them nearly constant massages and petting, answering their every demand. I want to do this. The cats seem to like this inordinately, and it seems to satisfy them as a favoured activity. The cats seek me out and actively tell me: 'time for more petting and massaging'. I live in a flat, and there are late night excursions in the halls, too.

These are now indoor cats. Hence they do not get worms and horrendous virii and are not at risk of rabies; nor cars and predators. I recall how they used to delight in tree climbing and bird stalking when they ran free when we lived abroad. But my cats do not sit pining at the windows. Is this because they are now bored and have given up? They are in terrific shape, so they are obviously getting enough exercise and proper feeding.

Still, I feel a bit guilty. As soon as I get off the Internet, I must get out that fishing pole and play interactively with them!



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