If you’ve had your cat since he was a kitten, you’ve probably noticed a decline in his enthusiasm for playing as he gets older. Kittens are naturally active bundles of energy, but as cats get older they often want to play less. Nevertheless, making time for playtime with your cat is still essential, no matter what age he is. Even if your cat has plenty of toys for solo play when you’re not around, we recommend putting aside 20-30 mins each day for some interactive playtime with your cat.
Why is playtime with your cat important?
As humans we need exercise to keep us healthy, and it’s exactly the same for cats. Regular playtime with your cat provides a cardiovascular workout, helps to strengthen his muscles and keeps obesity and weight issues under control.
A channel for built up energy
You may think that your cat spends most of his time sleeping, and of course cats can spend up to twenty hours asleep every day, but think about how much energy he’s building up as he sleeps. Scheduled playtime with your cat is the perfect outlet for his excess energy, and will help produce the chemicals that help his body to cope with stress, as well as making sure he doesn’t channel his energy in more destructive ways, such as unwanted chewing or scratching behaviour.
Playtime stops your cat getting bored. While boredom on its own is bad enough (can you imagine having nothing to entertain you, all day every day?), it can also lead to depression. Yes, cats can get depressed too.
Interactive playtime with your cat is also a wonderful way of strengthening the bond between you and your cat, and between your cats if you have a multi-cat household.
DIY Cat Toys
As we all know, cats can be fickle creatures – have you ever bought the latest, greatest toy for your cat only to find that he loses interest in it after a week? I’m sure we’ve all been there, so it’s great to know that you don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive cat toys. Newsflash – your cat doesn’t care about the price of his toys! Cats like movement, noise and texture and things that encourage their natural hunting, stalking predatory behaviour.
You can make a variety of interesting cat toys using common household objects, and they won’t cost you the earth.
- Tie some string to a pole and attach something onto the end – scraps of material, feathers or even a ping pong ball. A perfect homemade fishing rod toy.
- Buttons on a string make an entertaining and enjoyable toy for your cat to bat at, especially as the buttons clash together and make lots of noise. Just make sure that the buttons are securely fastened and only use this toy during supervised playtime with your cat, to avoid the risk of your cat swallowing a button.
- If your cat goes crazy for catnip then why not try making a homemade catnip toy? All you need to is a scrap piece of fabric or felt, some needle and thread and some dried catnip to get started. You might prefer a traditional fish or mouse shape, or let your imagination guide the shape of your cat toy.
- If your cat loves to bunny-kick, then grab an old sock, some stuffing and catnip and a few needle stitches later you’ll have another tailor-made cat-friendly kicker toy.
- If you’re not confident in your crafting abilities, there are plenty of things around the house that are great for cats to play with. Cardboard boxes are always a popular choice, stack them up and cut holes in them for doors and windows. Empty toilet roll or paper towel tubes and scrunched up aluminum foil balls are also popular in our house and will give your feline friend hours of fun.
The great benefit of DIY cat toys is that if your cat isn’t impressed, you haven’t wasted any of your hard-earned dollars and you can keep going back to the drawing board until you’ve created the perfect toy to appeal to him and encourage more playtime.
Do you engage in regular playtime with your cat? What is your cat’s favourite DIY cat toy?