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Cats Need to Play!

Cat playing with a feather toy on a couch
KONG toy
Cat playing with a feather toy on a couch

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Cat batting at a teaser toy

If you’re a cat parent, you know that the cat nap is a very real thing. Sometimes it might even seem like your cat spends all day asleep!

Well, it’s true that cats do sleep quite a bit—an average of 12-16 hours a day, which is much more than we humans do. However, that means that she is awake for upwards of 8 hours daily, leaving plenty of time for activities such as eating and grooming. But what else should your cat be spending time doing in order to be living her best life?

Cats Need to Play!

Play satisfies lots of natural instincts for cats, keeps your cat healthy, and helps the two of you bond. Read on to find out how!

Cat playing with a feather toy on a couch

Natural Instincts

In the wild, cats need to hunt in order to eat and survive. So in the home, where they have their food served to them on a plate or in a bowl, they need a way to act out their natural hunting instincts—even if they don’t need to eat what they “catch.” The acts of stalking and pouncing on her toys are ways that your cat can satisfy her instinct to hunt, without leaving you the “gifts” to clean up. Wrestling and hind-paw kicking are more natural hunting behaviors that cats act out through play, so make sure to offer her a variety of toys that allow her to play-hunt as often as she’d like. Toys that feature feathers or tails get her attention, while crinkle and rattle sounds keep her interest. Try KONG Wild Tails and KONG Wubba Bunny to set your cat up for stalking and wrestling success. Pillow-like toys, like the KONG Kickeroo line, let your cat use her back legs to kick and “kill” her prey. What fun!

Cat chewing on a KONG toy

Staying Healthy

Play not only helps to keep your cat mentally sharp, but cats need to play in order to stay physically healthy, too. A few 10-minute play sessions daily—solo or with you!—can really help to keep your cat in great physical condition. Pouncing and batting get her heart pumping, while running and jumping keep her joints active and healthy. Try letting her run through and around the KONG PlaySpaces Tunnel, or any toys stuffed with KONG Premium North American Catnip to give her a burst of playful energy.

For those cats who need a little help to keep a more svelte figure, try a feeder toy. Toys like the KONG Cat Treat Dispensing BallKONG Cat Wobbler, or the Kitty KONG challenge your cat to work to get the food or treats out of the toy, encouraging her to play-hunt for her food. Make sure to introduce the toy by creating easy wins at first, increasing the challenge as she hones her skills. Extra pounds can be detrimental to a cat’s health, so cats need to play to maintain a healthy weight!

Cat sitting on a cat bed on the floor

Kitty-Parent Bonding

If you want to deepen your bond with your cat, sharing playtime is a great way to do that. Interactive play, meaning you are both actively involved, will quickly become one of your cat’s favorite ways to pass her waking hours. Play is fun for your cat, and she will love having you involved! Teaser toys, such as the KONG Curlz Teaser or the KONG Twisted Boa Teaser let you control the fun. Use them to first get your cat’s attention, then entice her to chase, grab, and pounce. Be sure to let her win sometimes, especially just before playtime is over. This will create special memories for you and your cat! Reward her with a treat and lots of love, and store the teaser out of her sight so interactive play becomes a special occasion for the two of you to share.

See? Those 8+ hours your kitty isn’t spending in a deep sleep on the sofa can be really beneficial to her well-being. Help her make the most of it by giving her lots of playtime options. For health and happiness, cats need to play!

Follow us on Instagram (@kongcompany) and share your playtime pictures with us using #KONGcat!

Written by Kaelen Connolly, cat mom to Pekoe & Lena

Cat play
cat play
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