Some breeds of cat, such as the Korat, are considered more playful than others, but much depends on whether or not your cat had the opportunity to play as a kitten. There is now a great selection of toys available to appeal to cats of all types, and you do not need to spend a fortune on them. While some cats will play on their own, chasing a ball up and down a hall for example, most are more likely to play when encouraged to do so by their owners.
Playing with your cat on a regular basis is very important because it helps the two of you to establish a bond. You should also regularly show your cat affection through stroking, tickling or grooming.
When it comes to choosing toys, bear in mind that Oriental cats and similar breeds, such as the Siamese, are more likely to prefer toys which allow them to climb or jump up. In contrast, stocky, short-legged breeds such as British Shorthairs will be more interested in toys which allow them to stalk and pounce. Small balls which they can pat with their paws or toys that can be pulled across the floor are likely to be favoured by this group of cats.
It is important to discover whether or not your cat will respond to catnip, or cat mint, a commonly grown plant which is enjoyed by many cats. Some cat toys incorporate catnip in various forms, such as oil or dried leaves, to increase their appeal, but roughly a third of cats will not respond to this plant. This does not appear to be related to breed however, but just depends on the individual. Kittens will not react to this plant in any event.
CAT PLAY TIME
Regular play sessions each day are particularly important for breeds such as the British Shorthair, which can become vulnerable to obesity as they grow older. This is especially true in the case of cats which spend their entire lives indoors, mainly because they may otherwise have little mental stimulation to encourage their natural behaviour patterns. Regular periods of play not only help to burn up calories, but also serve to keep the whole body toned up, improving a cat’s overall level of fitness.
- Non-pedigree cats may often show greater interest in toys than some breeds, simply because their hunting instincts are much stronger.
- It can be dangerous to improvise with toys for cats. Never use wool for example, because this could become wrapped around your cat’s teeth or may even be swallowed, causing an intestinal obstruction.
- If you start out with two young kittens, it is better to play with them separately, rather than reinforce sibling rivalries at an early stage by allowing them to compete for a toy.
- There is no truth in the story that giving a kitten a toy mouse to play with will improve its ability to catch mice later in life, but this is likely to improve the kitten’s coordination.
- The Somali breed should be encouraged to climb, for example to the top of a scratching post.
Cats rarely stop playing unless they are ill or infirm, which is probably not surprising as play serves as a substitute for their hunting skills, which would be required throughout their lives if they lived in the wild.
This is because playing at this early stage in life helps kittens to master the basic skills and coordination that are required for efficient hunting later on.
Simply walk away and ignore your cat until he calms down again. There is no point trying to punish him, because this will only weaken the bond between you.