Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
One of the many joys of owning a cat is that they are so fun to play with and they really seem to enjoy it too. Of course along with the fun is the sometimes random use of claws and teeth, so it’s important to be careful that you and kitty stay safe during play time. There are many ways to play with a cat and they definitely respond very well to certain types of stimulation. Here are some of the best ways to play with cats.
Why Do Cats Chase Lasers?
There are few things on this earth more entertaining than flicking a laser light around the wall or carpet and watching kitty go wild as she tries to "catch it". This is not only a blast for you both, but a great source of exercise for her as well. This kind of play time also gives your cat an opportunity to refine her dexterity skills, as she tries to capture the elusive red dot on the floor. There’s only one word of caution with this toy. Don’t let it shine into her eyes, or yours for that matter, as the high intensity light could cause damage to both of your eyes.
Not all cats respond to catnip, but for the ones that do, this experience can be hilarious for both of you.
When sniffed, catnip has the tendency to act as a stimulant and produces a "high" that causes many cats to flip, roll around or act just plain goofy. When a cat eats catnip, the reaction is quite the opposite, for it makes many cats behave as though they are sedated. Kitty’s slow motion movements and impaired reaction times make for lots of laughter and fun. The good news is that the effect of catnip only usually lasts about 10-20 minutes. To learn more about the magical catnip, click here.
Dangling Stick Toys
Cats love shiny objects and things that freely dangle from wooden sticks. The pet store literally has hundreds of these kinds of toys for sale. Hold the stick in front of or above kitty and she will spend lots of time swatting at it and trying to capture its parts in her paws. This kind of play time must be supervised, as you don’t want to leave these toys on the ground unattended. Curious kitty may try to tear off the objects from the stick and start to chew on them, which can be a choking hazard. Have fun with these toys, but put them away when play time is over.
The Sparkly, The Fuzzy & The Furry
Cats love toys that sparkle, shine or have crazy colored fur on them. Throw this kind of toy across the room and watch as kitty pounces after it. Some toys of this variety even have bells or squeak makers in them and your cat is guaranteed to love the sight and sounds of them. You might even be able to teach her to play fetch! Another fun idea is to get a toy that can hold one of her favorite treats. You’ll be amazed at kitty’s attention span as she tries to unearth the tasty treat from the toy.
Playing with cats is a lot of fun and they are often very enthusiastic about it. Play time provides exercise and mental stimulation for kitty too. There are many kinds of toys that you can choose, so visit your local pet store and pick out some that she will like. One word of caution – as stated above, make sure your cat doesn’t start chewing string, feathers or some other kind of material from which she could choke.
So with all the wonderful cat toys to choose from, get ready, get set, PLAY!
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