10 Ways To Encourage Your Cat To Play

Trying to get that lazy lynx to move? Or maybe you have a shy Siberian that you just adopted and want to help build a relationship through play.  Joan Coloma, Feline Behavior Specialist for the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, has the following tips to encourage your cat to get crazy and play.

#1 – Catnip

Catnip usually has a powerful effect on cats. We use it here in our shelter as enrichment to get them up and moving. They will roll around, rub all over it and start to drool just by playing with catnip infused toys.  It turns most of our adults back to active lively kittens.

Image source: @baracokschloss via Flickr
Image source: @baracokschloss via Flickr

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#2 – Toys

Finding the right cat toy can sometimes be difficult but most cats are stimulated with prey hunting. One of my favorite toys is a toy called “Da Bird.” It’s an interactive wand toy that mimics the motion of a bird. It attracts any couch potato and gets them chattering. Be sure to get refills! My cats destroy it within days! Make sure to rotate your toys because cats get bored with the same toy after a while.

Image source: @Janet59 via Flickr
Image source: @Janet59 via Flickr

#3 – Cat Furniture

Cats like to climb and be in high places. Cat trees or Wall Walkers are great examples of kitty furniture. It gives your cat more space to explore and be, instead of your bed or kitchen counters. You can even sprinkle on catnip to get your cats attracted to the furniture. Cat trees even helps timid cats feel more secure because of the visual advantage.

Image source: @JonRoss via Flickr
Image source: @JonRoss via Flickr

#4 – Boxes

What cat doesn’t love boxes? Boxes are an inexpensive way to entertain your feline. Make sure to provide a new box for him weekly so he doesn’t get bored easily. You can throw his favorite toys in them and cat nip.

Image source: @yoppy via Flickr
Image source: @yoppy via Flickr

#5 – Puzzle Toys

Puzzle Toys are a stimulating and challenging way to get your cat up and moving for their food. You can either find DIY ideas online or purchase them at your local pet store. One of the toys I use at home is a ball food dispenser. You can adjust the toy to dispense a few pieces of kibble each time it rolls. This toy requires the cat to get up and moving for his food.

Image source:  Chewy.com
Image source: Chewy.com

#6 – Bird Feeders

Cats love to watch birds and small animals. Bird feeders are a great way to keep your cat active and entertained.

Image source: Me!bournMermaid via Flickr
Image source: Me!bournMermaid via Flickr

#7 – Foraging for food

During your cat’s dinner time, place his kibble in different areas of the house to keep him up and moving for his dinner.

Image source: @PeterStevens via Flickr
Image source: @PeterStevens via Flickr

#8 – Laser Pointers

Cats go crazy over the red dot. It mimics a bug that they are trying to “hunt”. After the cat catches the dot give him a high value treat to encourage play next time. DO NOT point the laser pointer anywhere near the cats eyes.

Image source: AlexandraEllwood via Flickr
Image source: AlexandraEllwood via Flickr

#9 – Follow the leader

Call your cat from another room and reward them with a treat. Then coax them to follow you to another room. Encourage them with petting, treats, and lots of attention. It works great before dinner time!

Image source:  @TinaLawson via Flickr
Image source: @TinaLawson via Flickr

#10 – Another cat

Two cats are more the fun! They will keep each other entertained when you’re not home and gives them a companion. It is one of the best ways to encourage activity. Of course you want to get a cat within the same age range.

Image source: @RosanaPrada via Flickr
Image source: @RosanaPrada via Flickr

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