The Importance of Playtime (a giveaway too!) #GetHealthyHappy

While I’d like to think I’m a great/good cat mom, there’s one area in which I’m greatly lacking. I don’t carve out playtime with my cats. I’m either too busy, get bored or figure they’ll play with each other (aka. chase after one another) for exercise. But the truth is that along with regular vet visits, preventative care and a good diet, kitty playtime is important for you and your cat(s).

Playtime is that “little extra” thing that brings joy to you and your pets and provides the opportunity for quality bonding time. Plus, toys provide the physical and mental stimulation for all cats – particularly those living indoors – to stay vital and happy!

I love the new toys mom! Let's play now! (that's my Kipper)

“I love the new toys mom! Let’s play!” (Kipper with some Polydactyl catnip toys)

 

A few considerations for feline-bonding fun-time:

  • You’ll quickly learn  – If you haven’t already – each cat has his or her unique way of play. Haddie is a bit of a hog and hones in when I try to engage Kip with a laser pointer or toy on a stick. While I’m sure it’s good for them to interact and wrestle around, I often wonder if I should put her in my room for quality one-on-one playtime with Kip.

Petie on the other hand, is harder to engage and requires more patience than I often have. I think his idea of play is staying stationary while his eyes follow the toy from one side of the room to the other! Once again, Haddie often jumps at the chance to “hunt” before Petie even realizes I’m trying to play with him!

"But mom, I AM playing." (Oh Petie...)

“But mom, I AM playing.” (Oh Petie…)

 

  • Keep things fresh through rotation. Cats, just like humans, have the tendency to bore of and ignore things that are constantly around (absence makes the heart grow founder holds true in this case!).  So put cat toys into rotation. After a few weeks out-of-sight an old toy to you, is a new toy to them!
  • Don’t forget to let them win. While cats enjoy the chase, let them catch the “mouse” after a few minutes so they can revel in the victory of a successful “hunt.” And while not everyone agrees on the laser as a “good” cat toy, my personal belief is that it depends on the individual cat.

My sister’s cat, for instance, gets wound-up when playing and takes a long time to come down off the ledge. My cats are not as effected. I personally like to give them a treat or three after playing with the laser as a way to reinforce to them that they did a “good job” with the red dot.

Tara the Hero Cat needs toys too (notice anything special about this one???!!!)

Tara the Hero Cat needs toys too (notice anything special about this one???!!!)

 

  • Consider the best time of day for playtime. If your cat gets tired by play, before bedtime might be a good time while other cats may become more alert and active #notgoodforyoursleepingschedule. If your kitty has a sensitive stomach, playing immediately after eating may not be the idea #morecleanupforyou.
  • Examine toys like you would a baby toy before tossing it to your cat.  Make sure buttons and other do-dads are securely fastened. You don’t want there to be any chance that they’ll fall off and get swallowed by your pet!
  • Treats can have a role during playtime. They can become a reward, for part of play itself when put into an interactive toy that makes them work for their prize!

And remember, you’ll find a different way to bond with each of your cats. As we all know no two cats are alike!

To celebrate those “little extras” like playtime, Hill’s is giving away goody bundles to two lucky I HAVE CAT readers (US residents only)!

And "artists" rendition (mine) of what bundle will look like (it will be something similar!)

And “artists” rendition (mine) of what bundle will look like (it will be something similar!)

 

Each prize includes: a stainless steel cat bowl; eight micro cans of Hill’s Science Diet Grain Free entrees a laser pointer toy; and a “Healthier Pets, Happier Lives” tote bag.

Good luck and enter now using the widget below! The giveaway ends October 8th, at 11:59pm EST! NOTE Leaving a comment through the widget is a mandatory for consideration!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PS – Hill’s is also a $10 off promotion on select Hill’s Science Diet products to everyone. Just to go to http://www.hillspet.com/healthy-cat-happy-life.html to download your rebate

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® Healthier Pets. Happier Lives.TM, butI HAVE CAT only shares information we feel our readers will find relevant. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article. 
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  • Cary Hillman

    My cats love the ring from milk jugs and rattle balls in the bathtub.

  • I have a laundry basket full of cat toys, but Stannis’ favorite toy is a pipe cleaner, Tipsy likes twist ties, and Hermes loves to play with (new, unopened) tampons. He opens the bathroom cupboard all the time to steal them!!

  • Birdie loves any toys that have catnip in them! Otherwise she’s pretty lazy, I end up getting more of a workout than her LOL!

  • Lisa

    Mozart loves the laser pointer and Dexter loves to play with a ribbon, especially if the end is frayed.

  • thecatguy

    Play is such an important part of a cat’s life, but really it’s an important part of a human’s life too! We might play differently than the cats, but it’s essential! Gotta go play with the cats now…

  • Pawsum posty. Weez luv play time wiff mommy. 🙂

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  • My cat likes an old toy he has called Cat Dancer

  • Claire

    My kitten and I can’t get enough of the cat dancer! This toy has Majik flipping and dancing all night long!

  • Lauren

    My cats love to play with paper bags…. Which then get torn up…

  • Milene

    I take Enzo outside in his walking vest each day for about 15 minutes. Paisley and I play with a wand toy each day for the same amount of time while Enzo watches us.

  • ej

    Hiccup’s favorite toy is good ol’ water bottle caps. She has very expensive taste 😉

  • Wendy Trommer

    I have three kitties and a dog. We love reading “I Have Cat”. Would love to see a column on how to get my scaredy cat from under the bed. She is afraid of the dog (it’s been 6 months). The other 2 love the dog. And if she would just give it a chance, I know she would be boss of dog like she is (was) her two older brothers.

    • Have you tried introducing your dog and cat slowly? I did that with a dog I rescued (I have 3 cats) and it’s been fine. I kept my dog on a leash which I attached to my belt so he could walk around the house with me but didn’t have enough freedom to go up and chase the cats or encroach their personal space. It’s good to give everyone treats so they associate being together with positive things.

  • pilch92

    Playtime is important, I need to schedule more time for that too- it is hard with 15 cats. Luckily, some of them play with each other.

  • Great tips! Milita really loves playing with the Neko fly. Carmine enjoys the Neko fly as well as other types of fishing pole toys. Sometimes we all have play sessions together, which is nice.

  • Twee is the rudest kitty when playing. She grabs the toy and holds it to the ground so none of the other cats can play, and neither can I.

  • Becca Cook

    One kitty likes to play fetch, while the other is the mighty huntress. She likes to hunt things, but also likes the laser or even a bottle cap. We try to play at least every other day if not more. The older kitty is 15 and still will react like a kitten at times. The huntress will be 4 in a few months so they don’t always play together. Love reading your blog and love the kitties.

  • How adorable! Your Tara looks just like our Scout. Very cute!

  • jmuhj

    These are great suggestions, Tamar! Every member of our furmily has a different method of playing and different toy preferences, just as you point out.
    I’m thinking that Tara the Hero Cat is definitely playing with one of the famous ModKickers from HausPanther. Am I right?

  • The Swiss Cats

    Pixie loves to hunt one specific small ball, and Zorro loves to chase a string behind Mum. When Mum is lazy, she plays with us with the Cat Dancer. Purrs

  • Leah

    At first I thought Kip was getting into the take-out! PS – our Petie mod kicker bit the dust a LOOONNNGGG time ago – it suffered the unfortunate fate of being wildly popular.

  • My crew LOVES the giant plastic springs and will play with them until they get lost under bedroom or closet doors, then come get me to get the springs out. As soon as I get the springs out and toss them, they will chase the springs and “fetch” them back like a dog would for me to toss them again….

  • Kimberly C.

    my kittens LOVE toys that make noise!!!

  • Linda Szymoniak

    Gee, I love cuddling and playing with our cats. No better way to bond. We have three cats – our senior boy, Koneko, doesn’t play much but loves the laser light toy. Moko is our adult DSH girl who doesn’t play much with toys, but does love anything with catnip (although, as my daughter says, Moko is a “mean drunk” when she gets catnip). Moko is the most cuddly cat we’ve ever had, as long as she doesn’t have capnip, though. LOL! My daughter’s cat, Arata, just turned one so he’s still mostly kitten. Arata loves playing with plastic straws, and in fact was sent his favorite straw with him from the rescue he was adopted from. The only thing he likes more than those straws is the laser light toy. If I want him to come, he doesn’t respond to shaking his food or treat container, but if I even just pick up the laser light toy, he makes a bee-line for me.

  • Abby C

    my cat’s favorite toy is a laser pointer 🙂

  • Christina mattingly

    We play with feathers in a stick. As soon as we pick it up they come running !!

  • michelle cavanaugh

    My guys love the “Da Bird” feather toy.

  • Chris D.

    My kitties don’t cuddle so we bond by having playtime. They love balls of paper, laser pointers, big fat ribbons, catnip mice, and anything attached to a pole. Without a doubt, the most playful kitties I’ve ever had.

  • He comes to sleep with me every night, and we call that bonding. My cat is eleven, diabetic and has back knee issues. We meet twice a day for shots and food. At night, he sometimes comes around to sit by me and get loved on. Occasionally, I will give him some catnip or new toy mice.

  • Gracie has decided her new favorite toy are the collar stays from my dress shirts! 🙂

  • My cat loves the Cat Dancer. But he loves other things, too, like the laces on my shoes and sandwich bags, which he likes to chew on 🙂

  • Marianne

    My cats like the wand toys with mice or feathers on the end.

  • Sheila K.

    My kitty-boy’s favorite toy is his Tickle Pickle!

  • Chelsi

    My kitties love simple toys, like dangling strings or the laser (if only the laser didn’t break!). They also enjoy trying to catch bugs and their tails! My smaller one, Gizmo, enjoys napping anywhere on me and sleeps on top of me all the time, as does Miss Kitty.

  • Brooke

    Mine love the red dot, qtips, grass, mice, weedeater string, plastic safety stick that came out of a hunting rifle, paper, catnip toys, strings, etc… They will make a toy out of anything! One likes to get maxi pads out of the bathroom shelf and play fetch with them!! lol

  • Annette

    Boots’ favorite toy is the cap that comes with a spray pump like for hair spray. He know the sound, so when I clean up and find some hidden behind the couch, all I have to do is tap the bottom a few times. He will race down the stairs to meet me. I toss it and he bring it back to me, breathing/meowing into it the whole time. It makes a whistle sound and is so funny.

  • Holly E

    I play with my cats and brush them daily to bond with them. They love playing in boxes and with toy mice.

  • my cat just run in the house she doesnt like toys she likes running 🙂

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