Cats have a lot to benefit from interactive playtime, like when an owner moves an object around. It serves as a physical and mental exercise, reduces stress, prevents boredom, as well as strengthens the bond between the owner and feline pet.
About Interactive Playtime
Tossing a stuffed toy for your pet cat to bat is just like providing it with dead prey that it can leap at. Even if the toy is expensive, your pet will easily lose interest in it. Anyway, nothing can be done to a dead mouse aside from making sure that it is actually lifeless.
On the other hand, playing with your cat with the use of a fishing-rod type of toy lets you give life to this object when you move it about. As a matter of fact, you are devising a good replica of hunting, in which the prey moves about, darts around and hides. This makes it more interesting. To maximize this special interplay, there are a number of things to remember:
Prepare the right setting
Basically, interactive playtime is some kind of role-playing, wherein the cat acts like the hunter. You, by means of the toy, act as the prey. However, it would look better when the stage comes with props like pillows, furniture, bags and boxes that can look like rocks, grass and tree stumps, where predator and prey can hide behind.
Copy the prey’s actions
Do your role well. Decide on the toy you want to attach to a string such as a bird, mouse, fish or lizard. Take on the role and make sure the toy moves according to its function. For instance, if you are a mouse, the toy should run fast along the walls and floor. It should occasionally hide or pause when it sees the cat, then flee away from it. If you are a bird, fly the toy into the air from time to time and flutter around. Also, let it go to the ground to feed itself. Remember that cats will not chase birds that fly too high.
Don’t leave your cat frustrated
Since you want a fun and satisfying game, do not bring the toy too high, where it couldn’t be reached by Kitty. If you are a bird, let the toy land to the ground more often. As a mouse, do not outsmart Kitty by running too fast. Every once in a while, let your cat catch the toy and grasp it with his mouth and paws, especially if it has tried too hard.
Do not tire your cat too much
Though this game aims to let Kitty have some exercise, do not overdo it to the point that he pants or breathes heavily. This seldom occurs during actual hunting sessions, since more time is used up in stalking prey and getting ready to attack. Keep in mind that exercise is both a physical and mental activity.
Warm up and cool down before and after play, respectively
Playing time should be moderate and safe, just like cardio workouts and Pilates. Start with gradual movements, working little by little towards the wild chases, then eventually, completing the session with slower movements once again. This is healthier for your cat.
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