12 Ideas for Playtime with Your Emotional Support Cat
8 min read
Cats love playing with their owners.
Even despite the fact that they are rather independent creatures, our feline friends are absolutely playful in their nature. Moreover, games are just what you might need to create a very special relationship with your kitty.
For ESA owners, this question is twice as important, because preserving the contact with support animals is the necessary condition of their personal well-being. Feline friends love them, help them feel needed, and make them forget about their mental disabilities.
How often should I play with my cat?
Certainly, the answer to this question depends on you and your timetable, but there are some universal recommendations that regard kittens and adult cats. Most feline species do not stand games for more than 10-15 minutes at a time, so it is better to have a few playing sessions a day. This way, you will help your cat exercise well and stay concentrated on the game.
Why should I ever play with my cat?
Playing together creates a firm bond between a human and a pet cat.
Cats can definitely exist without people, so why do they ever need their owners to play with them? Can`t they exercise on their own?
Many people forget that living indoors make a cat`s life very restricted, and the level of activity is what suffers most. In nature, cats living outdoors have to hunt their prey for a living, and they cannot afford to remain inactive. As opposed, a cat that has a caring owner, is free to spend his time lying on the sofa daydreaming. That is why the task of the owner is to ensure that his cat gets enough exercise.
So, what are the key benefits of playing with your cat? They are the following:
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Benefit for the owner. Yes, you are also the one interested in playing with your cat. The whole process brings plenty of positive emotions that are so necessary for people with emotional disabilities. Moreover, spending time together will help you build your bond faster, especially if you have the newly acquired ESA.
Exercise. Do we need to mention that a healthy mind stays in a healthy body? Regular exercise will keep your cat`s muscles in order and will help to avoid obesity and a number of other unfavorable health conditions.
Emotional boost. You are not the only one who needs a relief from stress from time to time. You kitty might also feel uncomfortable sometimes. Games help him or her to get back to normal and get an energy and mind boost.
Well, you already understand why you need to play with your cat, but still do not know how to do it properly? Let`s dive into the list of 12 best ideas for playtime with your ESA.
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You probably believe that this game is for dogs only, but this is where you are wrong! Cats are natural chasers and they might like the game enough to bring the object back to their owner. What you need to do is to find a bright toy (ideally, it must be noisy enough to attract your cat) and throw it across the room or hallway after attracting your pet`s attention. In most cases, your cat will try to run for it and chase, but at some moment it might also decide to bring the toy back to its owner, and here is the precious moment when you need to treat your little helper with something nice and tasty. Repeat this trick a few times and be sure your cat will appreciate the game.
Stick and feather
This also is rather a popular game all cats are keen on. You have two options: either to purchase the ready-made feather stick or to make it on your own without any special effort. Cats perceive the feather as a prey they are hunting for, so they are gladly willing to get under the sofa, make turnarounds and even jump to the air for it.
You can use different mirrors or glasses to make the sunbeams and let the cat play with them.
Get a mirror or other light-reflecting object and attract your cat`s attention to sunbeams. He does see them and will willingly start a chase. The important thing is that you do not play this game for more than a few minutes because this chase will hardly end with the happy end, so find something catchable at the end in order not to make your cat too frustrated with failure.
Remote control toys
Motor cars will do the trick best! Drive it remotely and try to make it behave like a real prey – “hide” your car under the sofa or chair to make your cat more involved in the chase. Men and children are usually the greatest fans of this game.
It is also okay to play with food sometimes, making your cat hunt a valuable treat. Give her the opportunity to take a bite every few minutes in order not to lose interest in a game. Just make sure you do not have this game too often; otherwise, your cat will feel the lack of food and has a chance to overeat.
There's no need to buy a lot of expensive toys if you have at least a few pieces of toilet paper.
As obvious from the name, what you should do is just to give your cat a crumpled paper, and she will do the rest. If she is still inactive, throw the paper and let the kitty leap on to catch it and carry around. Have a nice time!
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Make sure you have at least one bouncy ball among your cat toys. Its hopping properties will never leave your cat indifferent and he is sure to have nice time, especially if his owner makes a good company and throws the ball from time to time.
New “old” toys
You have probably noticed how much your cat likes new toys. It plays with them an hour or two, and then loses interest again. You cannot buy new toys every new day, can you? Fortunately, there is a better idea.
Did you know that cats only need changes, not the new toys? The recent research proves that in order to avoid habituation to certain toys, it is enough only to change one or a few elements. In other words, you only need to change color of your toys or to change some or the other detail in order to make your cat interested again.
Tablet games for cats
Though playing these games is not something that will make your cat exercise, it is a useful tool to add colors to your everyday routine and pique your pet`s curiosity. Most of the tablet games created for cats suppose some kind of a chase like fish catching, nevertheless, you can even find the adapted “Paint” version for felines! The number of already existing cat games is sure to be a pleasant surprise for you.
Cat fabric tunnels
You can find plenty of them on Amazon, or simply use the ones designed for kids. Your cat will like getting through these tunnels, especially if you put some treat at the other end. The longer your tunnel is, the better. One more option aimed to make the game brighter is to put one or a few balls inside, so the cat will have to move with obstacles (do not try it until your cat gets used to the game).
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A cardboard castle
You probably know that all kinds are crazy about the cardboard houses and castles. With cats, it is just the same! Use your imagination to create a castle from a big cardboard box, painting it or making holes. Then, hide inside (if it is large enough) to show your cat the hide-and-seek idea of the game. No doubts he will like to explore the new object as soon as you let him.
Cats do love bubbles! Even despite the fact they get a little wet when bubbles burst. Catching them and seeing them disappeared will give your cat a sense of satisfaction because the chase always ends with success. Have fun together!
Important: Playing rules
It's good to play when the cat is healthy and shows you the desire to spend time in an active way.
You already know why, how often and what to play with your cat. But… no, that is not enough. There are also some safety rules you definitely need to consider to make your games truly pleasant and effective. Check them below:
- Start the games only if your cat is well-fed and satisfied with his life. The hungry cat is an angry cat, and, with the empty stomach, he will hardly evaluate your efforts.
- Always stop the game is you feel your cat is irritated with it. Cats are all different, the same as people are, and so they might have different tastes in games, too. Your task is to entertain, not to force.
- Pay attention to your cat toys. Are they all safe? If some of them need to be used under supervision, take them away until the next playing session. It mostly refers to objects that have strings in them (protecting the cat neck), easily chewable elements (like wool) or broken parts with sharp edges.
- Chewing plastic bags is sort of hobby among cats, but that is NOT funny, so make sure to prevent your cat`s eating them.
Stay safe and have fun together!
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