We are all familiar with the concept of playtime with our canine companions! Go into any Pet Superstore or online petshop and you will find a huge choice of dog-toys. Balls in all sizes and colours, squeaky plush toys, Kongs to keep them occupied, maze games, memory games...the list is endless. Lucky pooches! There are toys galore to keep them happy around the home and out on walkies. We even brought our Border Collie, Gizmo, a bubble machine for Christmas! He loves it :-)
But what about our feline family members? Don't they deserve the right to play!
When we collected our two gorgeous kittens in October 2015, my hubbie was thoroughly bemused by the amount of 'cat-stuff' that Gabriel and I came back laiden down with from a pet-shop. If our gorgeous old duchess of a cat, Mo, could get by with simply indulging in her favourite pastime of hunting and playing with the odd blade of long-grass for amusement...why couldn't the kittens?
Now, I know it is widely acknowledged that cats 'do their own thing' – usually sleeping...but ever since I was young, I have strongly believed that cats are just as much entitled to playtime as dogs. It is a vital part of their development as kittens and it is just as much about fun when they are adults. It also plays an important part in how we build a bond with our cats.
Despite the mutterings that the kittens were being spoilt, Safi and Toothless happily spent their kittenhood chasing balls, jumping in and out of cardboard boxes, stalking feathers and going cat-nip crazy. Quite often, if they were playing individually to start with, they would eventually barrel into each other and play together. It was a lovely sight!
Sadly, one day we lost Toothless to a passing car, and I was worried that Safi would lose her enthusiasm for play and become depressed. Playtime became essential to making sure she didn't feel alone or isolated without her sister. And one year one from that sad time, we have a cat who still very much loves to play. Safi now even expects her playtime (preferably when the hound is out and about, so that he can't muscle in on the game). She will often communicate which toy she wants to play with – currently the favourite is the fishing rod with feathers on the end. She loves playing football in the garden, and has even made use of the slide on Gabriel's climbing frame on more than one occasion! Picture 1 – Safi on slide
Luckily for me, through looking after our ForPaws feline family, I see a wide selection of the cat-toys that people use to entertain their kitten-cats. I get to spend time encouraging our ForPaws Felines to chase 'red-dots', feathers, bouncy balls and string, or to roll around and go "catnip crazy" on an assortment of catnip-stuffed toys. It is fantastic to know that other people put just as much stock in the notion that playtime for cats is important as I do. And it doesn't have to cost a fortune either. One of Safi's strong favourites is simply an old walking boot-lace with a bell from one of her old collars tied to it, excellent for garden-chase and stalking games.
I also love that there are a wide range of cat-games that cats can play on your tablet. Seriously...go on to YouTube and type in "Cat games for Cats only" and you will find umpteen games to keep your kitten entertained! Who says a cat can't be part of the Digital Age!
One of my current favourites is the treat-puzzle (Trixie Cat Turnaround) that the lovely Lily loves to play with. According to Lily's mum, she got the hang of it very quickly and is amazingly good at getting her treats! And the fishing-rod feathers has been a massive hit with Safi along with ANYTHING CATNIP!!! I am sure as Safi gets older, she will become less inclined to play, preferring to find a nice cosy spot where she can snooze her time away. But, whilst she wants to play..I am more than happy to be her playmate.
So, with so much inspiration around for enhancing our cat's leisure-times, we would absolutely love to hear what sort of things you, our ForPaws Family, do to entertain your cat or cats!
It may even help us on those occasions when we are lucky enough to look after them for you :-)