The Funnies

How to Properly Play with Your Cat

April 16, 2024

Did you know that there’s a proper way to play with your cat so they get the most of it? You could be playing with them for a long time, but they’re not really feeling satisfied. Playtime should strengthen the bond between you and your cat. It should be interactive, interesting, and innovative. Let me tell you what our friend Jackson Galaxy recommends as far as playing with your cat so they feel successful and satiated. 

For cats, playing simulates “the hunt.” Cats are natural predators - and unfortunately prey for some larger creatures too. Toys like wands, springs, and lasers look like prey to cats and it makes us want to chase, pounce, and “kill” them. Some cats are drawn to toys that “fly” like birds so if you move the wand toy into the air they jump up, while other cats prefer toys that stay on the ground, more akin to rodents or insects. Either way, get their attention with movement. Cats have motion sensitive vision and like to watch their prey move. So the first step of properly playing with your cat is to recreate “the hunt” and get them feeling intrigued. 

Once your cat is engaged with the toy, let them do their cute little butt wiggle and pounce on it. Let them chase it. Make the toy disappear and reappear, just like a bird or mouse would do in the wild. Keep your cat interested and wondering what will happen next. Let them jump around, chase the toy, and essentially “get the sillies out.” A wild cat will often not catch their prey on their first attempt. It may take a few tries, but eventually you will need to let your cat catch the toy and “kill” it.

Part of a successful play session comes from the thrill of the hunt. The cat needs to be allowed time to “kill” the toy and relish in their win. Let them bunny kick to their heart’s content or bite down and chomp on that toy until they are satisfied. It is really frustrating for a cat if they don’t get a chance to do this so make sure to give them a few minutes to take pride in their accomplishment.

Once you’re done playing, give your cat their meals or at least a few treats. This represents the cat eating whatever they just successfully hunted. This will help them feel satiated both physically and mentally while also helping them to wind down. If they don’t get a few bites after a play session, your cat may feel a bit confused. They killed their prey and yet got no reward. That can’t be right. Just a few spoonfuls of Love Nala pate or a couple licks of Love Nala mousse will have them feeling happy in no time. 

After a meal, cats instinctively groom themselves - or a friend - and start to calm down and get ready for a nap. Once they are fed, full, and looking their best, your cat is ready for some rest. After all that hard work, they earned it. 

A few 15-20 minute play sessions every day will keep your cat feeling their best. It’s good for their physical and mental health and will help them release energy, reduce stress, stay curious, and gain confidence. Purrhaps most importantly, it will help strengthen the bond between you.

Love, Nala