Curiosity killed the cat but sweet satisfaction brought him back. Cats are naturally curious, investigative and great observational learners. These means that they are naturally playful!
Cats play for many reasons. Sometimes they play just for the fun of it. As a kitten however play has both a fun and a learning component (learn more about kitten play in our Kittens section!) Cat playtime for adults can sometimes mimic their hunting behaviours. Just like us, cats differ in what type of “sports” they like to engage in. Their preferred activity is related to their favourite prey—bug, mouse or bird.
THE MOUSER: If your cat wants to hunt mice, remember the crinkle. When a mouse moves through the grass, the sound that is produced can be imitated by a crinkle ball. You can encourage your cat to “fetch”. Keep a tasty treat handy to reward your cat when they bring the crinkle ball back to you.
THE BIRD CATCHER: Does your cat want to hunt birds? If so, they will like “airborne” toys. Sticks with feathers attached, toys that hang from door posts will engage your birder. There are even battery operated toys with revolving “wands” that you can time to turn on when you are not at home. Again randomized non repetitive action makes for a good toy.
Some cats like stuffed toys — this is because it mimics play they would engage in with another feline! Whatever play your cat likes to engage in, it is important to never get your hands or your feet involved. This is especially important for kittens. We don’t want them to view our hands or feet as prey to be jumped on, bitten and/or scratched. It might seem cute when they’re young, but it won’t be quite so fun when they have full grown canines. A bite or scratch from a cat can also result in serious infections.
When do cats most like to play? When the outdoor light is at its dimmest (dawn or dusk!) Why? Because a cats’ eyes are best adapted not to the dark but to low light levels. This is when they hunt the most because their eyesight gives them a big advantage in catching their prey!
So fish those toys out, find out if your cat is a mouser, bug hunter, or bird catcher, and rediscover the kitten in your cat!