Considering some cats may sleep up to 20 hours per day, providing them with opportunities to spend their energy is essential. Even just a daily 15-minute play session with your cat can help keep them healthy and happy and benefit you. Here’s why.
1. Playing helps your cat stay healthy
Cats need physical activity – especially indoor cats who may not have as many opportunities to run, jump and climb around as their outdoor fellows. Exercise plays a crucial role in managing your cat’s weight at all life stages, and as they grow older, it keeps their muscles strong.
2. Playing keeps your cat from getting bored
Cats are predators, and games that cater to their instincts—like chasing toys or a laser dot, climbing to an elevated vantage point or exploring new surroundings—get them engaged. Have several cat toys and activities available and rotate through them so they remain appealing to your feline friend. Otherwise, they may come to consider toys that lie around all day like dead prey and lose interest.
3. Playing sharpens your cat’s mind
Your cat’s cognitive function may decline as they enter their senior years. They may avoid social interaction, become disoriented or grow irritable from chronic pain caused by an underlying health condition. To keep them mentally engaged, provide them with stimuli such as food puzzles, problem-solving toys, an outdoor catio from where they can safely watch the wildlife or simply tossing them a treat to run after.
If your cat is suffering from anxiety—whether after you’ve moved into a new house, adopted a second cat or are going back to the office after working from home for several months—scheduling regular play sessions can bring some stability and predictability to their life.
4. Playing can help your cat’s behaviour
A restless cat will think of fun and creative ways to alleviate boredom. These may include climbing up curtains, ripping up furniture, digging up house plants and other destructive behaviour. By providing your cat with regular play sessions, you also teach them more appropriate ways to have fun.
5. Playing with your cat is good for you too!
There’s a reason the Internet is filled with cat videos: they’re fun to watch! Playing with your cat is good for them and your mental health. At the end of a long day, something as simple as watching your cat backflip several feet into the air attempting to catch a feather toy or destroy a catnip-stuffed fabric mouse with their hind legs may be just what you needed to get your spirits up.
Daily quality time spent with your cat also deepens your bond with your pet. Beyond just meeting their basic needs of feeding them and cleaning their litter, play sessions are opportunities to make your furry friend feel happy, safe and loved.