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Four Games That Tap Into Your Cat's Animal Instincts — Plus the Best Times of Day to Play

- Provided by VetStreet.com
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Never underestimate the power of play for your indoor cat: Cats not only need but enjoy regular play sessions. Just don’t expect your Persian to revel in a game of fetch, and forget trying to engage your Siamese in a friendly game of tug-of-war.

What games do cats enjoy the most? Ones that harness the true hunter inside them, says Joan Miller, a veteran all-breed cat judge and vice president of Cat Fanciers’ Association, the world’s largest registry of cat breeds.

“Cats are farsighted animals who really don’t see that well close-up,” says Miller. “But they can detect even the slightest movement that is, say, 120 feet away — even in dim light. And their ability to hear is way beyond that of humans and dogs.”

So how do you play with your cat? Miller identifies four feline-preferred game styles: bird, pounce, rabbit and hide-and-seek.

Games That Tap Into Their Inner Hunter

1. Bird Games

These games involve waving feather wand toys or other cat toys that require your cat to leap in the air and try to capture the flying object in her front paws. Select a safe, spacious area of your home so that your cat does not fly into any furniture.

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2. Pounce Games

To play pounce properly, provide your cat with a way to be able to leap on an object moving on the ground. Create a target by moving your fingers under a bedspread or a throw blanket on the sofa. “Many cats seem to appear whenever you try to put on fresh sheets on your bed — you want to make the bed, but they see this as a great opportunity to play,” says Miller.

3. Rabbit Games

These games bring out a cat’s natural instinct to pull a toy into her belly while on her back, kick with her back legs and shake and bite a toy prey. Catnip-filled toy mice and lightweight fur toys with feathers are popular choices. You toss the toy across the floor for your cat to grab and deliver a few punches with her back legs.

4. Hide-and-Seek Games

These exercises unleash the predatory nature in cats, many of whom delight in the ability to hide and wait for their prey. That explains why your cat may hide under a skirted table or under your bed, and then spring out and make a surprise attack on your feet. Ouch! Save your toes by flushing your cat from her hiding spot by tossing a paper wad or cat toy for her to attack.

Why Dawn And Dusk Are The Best Times to Play

Cats also have preferred playtimes: dawn and dusk. “Early mornings and early evenings tend to be when cats have the most energy and are in playful moods,” says Miller. “Unfortunately, those often are the times of day when you are rushing off to work or just coming home and are tired.”

Still, Miller urges cat owners to spend five to 10 minutes a day in purposeful play with their feline companions. The benefits are many: Not only will you keep your cat mentally sharp and at a healthy weight, but you can possibly save your sofa from being shredded, or eliminate a host of other unwanted feline behaviors.

“Face it, cats don’t demand that you take them for long walks like dogs do,” says Miller. “Playing with them in the morning or evening — at the time when they want to play — pays off in so many ways. Your cat will be more contented and far less apt to misbehave out of boredom.”

More from Vetstreet: Make playtime fun with these interactive toys.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.

United Emergency Animal Clinic

http://emergencyanimalclinic.com/

905 Dell Ave, Campbell
Tel: 408-371-6252
 

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