When you look at what cats do in the wild, it is obvious why they need to play. They sleep as much as 16 hours per day and when they're awake, they need the exercise that play provides.
In the wild, when they aren't sleeping, lions, tigers, and other wild cats are stalking and hunting their prey or teaching their young to do so. Some benefits of play include:
Exercise is vital for keeping your cat healthy. Playing with your cat and having your cat romp around with others is a perfect way for your cat to get exercise, both physically and mentally.
- Release of Anxiety
Anxiety and stress are as harmful to cats as they are to the rest of us. Cats under stress are more apt to develop behavioral problems such as aggression, urine marking, or obsessive-compulsive disorders.
- Relief of Boredom
Cats especially, being naturally curious, can get depressed and lethargic. Cats need some sort of challenge every day. Watch a cat try to grab at a ball that is spinning around randomly in a circle. She is concentrating so hard that a simple movement of your foot can send her skyrocketing into the air. Whether she is looking out the window at chattering birds, or chasing a feather stick, she loves and needs to play.
- Feel Good
Play, by definition, is something to make whomever is playing feel good. And your cat deserves to feel good, doesn't she?
- Bonding With Other Cats or Animals in the House
Cats chase other cats, cats entice dogs to chase after them, and cats even chase dogs in some households! This type of behavior provides much-needed bonding. Playing with your cat can even bond her to you - and who couldn't stand more bonds in their lives?
How to Provide Play for Your Felines
Usually, cats enjoy playing both inside the house and outdoors. There are a variety of ways that you can make playtime, inside or out, more fun for your cat.
Look through our toy section to find something your cat can swat at.
A cat tree is a perfect place for your cat to perch to lie in wait for another cat - or even the dog! Anything that towers over the rest of the home's inhabitants will do.
Window perches are especially popular since they allow kitty to see all that nature affords.
Catnip is in a category by itself. It can entertain the cat and the rest of the household! Who knows what's going through your cat's mind once she smells that potent odor and wants to bathe her entire body in it!
Use an enclosure such as the Kitty Condo or the
Happy Habitat to keep your cat safe from wildlife and wildlife safe from your cat. She can sniff all there is to sniff, chase insects, and watch feathered friends, and you'll always know exactly where she is.
Every cat is different of course, and what works for one may not work for another - sometimes even in a multiple cat household! But, by careful observation, any cat owner - or rather anyone that is owned by a cat - can provide Nirvana to his favorite feline friend!