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Interative play with indoor cats

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Bobalina17, Jan 16, 2019.


  1. Bobalina17

    Bobalina17 PetForums Junior

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    Hi everyone, I was wondering if I might be able to pick your brains please!

    How much interactive play with wand/fishing rod and laser toys is recommended to keep indoor cats entertained and happy ie how long should each session last and how many times a day is best? We play with our two older kittens three or four times a day for 15 minutes at a time - is this enough?

    We alternative between wand/fishing rod toys that mimic a mouse (that you sort of wiggle and drag along the ground) and a Purrsuit feather spinning toy (like Da Bird) which mimics bird movements and sounds (the ones you sort of wave about in the air). They absolutely LOVE the Purrsuit wand, it's so much better than the cheaper feather wands I bought initially. We obviously keep these toys stored in a cupboard out of their reach when we're not playing with them.

    This is probably a silly question, but when playing with the fishing rod type toys, how long should they be allowed to play with and chew their 'prey' for at the end? With the feather toys, I always worry that they might chew and swallow parts of the feather which could be dangerous, but maybe I should be letting them play with it for longer.

    We also have a laser pen toy which they love chasing too. I throw them little mouse toys at the end, as I worry that they will be frustrated if they don't have anything to catch at the end of the session.

    They also run around and play with each other a lot and they really enjoy watching the birds and squirrels on the trees outside our big windows. They have some toys that I rotate, which are particularly good for when we're out at work - eg tunnels, toys where they push the balls around on tracks, Kong Kickaroo, catnip toys, puzzle toys, balls etc. They also have a big cat tree and scratchers.

    I just worry because they are indoor cats and I don't want them to be bored, especially as we don't have a garden for them to play in at the moment. I'm thinking about introducing a harness to see how they take to it, as perhaps we can go exploring outside with them in the future. Would an indoor exercise wheel also be a good idea?

    Any advice or tips would be very much appreciated! Thank you :)
     
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  2. Summercat

    Summercat PetForums VIP

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    @Bobalina17
    Hi,
    I would say the amount depends upon your cats.
    I have a now three year old and an almost five month old kitten.
    The three year old who we got when he was around 1.5 years needed more play until we got the kitten.
    As they play together quite a bit, I tend to do bursts of play such as ten or fifteen minute sessions with a wand toy Purrsuit or Da Bird being favorites.
    It is a bit harder with two, so try to get them alone, to play with the wand.We play a lot with balls as well, water etc.

    For the feather attatchments, they do get damaged by chewing but sometimes I allow them to have their fun and roll around on the floor with them. I put the wands away when not in use.
    The kitten also loves a mouse by Purrs that is an attachment but I took it off and he carrries it about as prey.
     
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  3. Cully

    Cully PetForums VIP

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    Hi and congratulations on being so pro active with the playing. You seem to have a wide variety of toys for them.
    It's good that you reward them at the end of play as it's a natural instinct to expect something for all that hard work.
    A cat will hunt, catch and eat in the wild, then sleep until it's time to catch more food. Life goes on for them in that order.
    To mimic that I would play with my own cat with an appropriate toy until she was getting tired then let her 'capture' it. She would rest for a minute then get her second wind, then play again. This could happen a few times with, play, catch, rest. Once I thought she'd had enough then I let her eat. I did this by leading her to a bowl of food with the toy (wand/laser). Then she felt happy as all that hunting had brought it's reward, so she would eat then probably sleep.
    If they want to play between meals then just reward with a small treat so they don't feel disappointed. Don't play energetically after meals to avoid vomiting.
    I don't think you actually said how old they are but kittens need several meals a day. You can't really over feed them, just try and give them good quality food.
    Good luck with them, and we'd love some photos!
     
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  4. Cully

    Cully PetForums VIP

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    Sorry, I forgot to mention, you asked about using a harness. I'm no expert but there are a few people on here whose cats use a harness, so hopefully someone will be along to advise.
    @Tawny75
     
  5. Bobalina17

    Bobalina17 PetForums Junior

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    Ah, I'm SO sorry I missed these amazingly helpful replies - thank you!

    @Summercat _ I think you're absolutely right about getting them on their own to play. One of our's is faster and tends to dominate, so we started having some individual play sessions to allow his sister to have a chance! On the Purrs mouse - is it the buffalo hair one you have? Our two LOVE that one, it has turned out to be the ultimate prize!

    Thank you @Cully - that's really reassuring! They are 7.5 and 8 months old now and I've just added their pic (from a couple of weeks ago) as my avatar :) I agree that you can't really overfeed them. We feed them 100g of quality wet food four times a day each at the moment. I hope that's enough! I've tried putting out bigger portions but they don't eat it. I'm keeping a close eye on it though, in case they get another growth spurt and want more.

    On the harness - I've ordered a couple of Mynwood jackets, which I saw recommended on here, so we hope to start training them to wear them next week!
     
  6. Theresa kelly

    Theresa kelly PetForums Member

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    My boy loves to playfight.....thankfully so does my 10 year old son so most evenings they are rolling around the floor together. Hes 3 and to be honest during the day i think he just sleeps when we are out. We are getting our new furbaby next month and im hoping they will get on as they will be company for each other when we are at work etc
     
  7. Cully

    Cully PetForums VIP

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    Cats do not play rough with humans the way dogs do for fun. Cats live to procreate and hunt for food. Once the procreating urge is taken care of by neutering, that leaves the hunting.
    Kittens spend a lot of time practising hunting with their litter mates and although the behaviour may seem amusing to us, to the young cat, it is very serious business. If they don't learn how to hunt, they wont stand much chance of survival once they are on their own. Wild or domestic, the urge to hunt and kill for food is inbred, a natural instinct.
    Please be wary of allowing your son to 'playfight' with your cat as your cat is not playing. He is practising his hunting skills and your son could get hurt.
    You can encourage appropriate play by teaching your son to use toys designed for cats, such as the Da Bird wand type toys. Or lasers which the cat will love to chase, and is far safer than risky 'playfighting'.
     
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  8. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    @Bobalina17 Be sure to provide places for them to climb and leap up and down and across things. Also rotate various kinds of box forts and tents. My cats have several box forts in rotation, a cat size pop up tent that folds flat when not in use, and a fun cube with holes in it, along with various bags (with handles cut off). When they stop playing a lot with one, I put it away and bring out a different one.

    A loose rug or big sheet of brown packing paper is essential for burrowing/tunneling Games! These are also useful when playing with the wand toys when they want to hunt and stalk before pouncing. As they get older cats prefer more strategy, and a string dragged under a paper, or a stick wiggling under a rug creates more mental interest.

    In my experience each cat has a favorite toy or two they like to play with on their own. Solitaire toys I call them. Also, each cat has a special place she likes that toy to be kept, so she can always find it. So it's my job to find the toy after it's been played with, and put it back where it belongs.

    I also have a box that I keep toys in (not wand or string toys, throw and carry toys) so they can rummage around and get what they want. In another spot, high up I have a bowl that contains a different set of toys. One likes to sit up there, fish the toys out and drop them to the floor, while the other sits down below and chases it when it drops. ALL my cats have played this Game. Current cats and previous cats.

    On another shelf I place a row of things for knocking down. I pick them up and put them back when I find them knocked down, often varying what I put there.

    I keep a bowl of throw toys next to the couch as well. When I'm reading at night, if they feel they haven't had enough play time from me, I can toss from that bowl and let them chase. I rattle the bowl and they come and sit at attention, or slink into position showing me where they want me to throw the toy.

    That's key with any Game. Watch how they position themselves, they will tell you where you want to put something.
     
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  9. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    PS Almost forgot, Crumpled Paper Balls have always been a huge hit in this house. Especially those envelopes with the cello windows in them, because they make wonderful crinkly noises.

    Here's a recent video of my 15 year old cat playing the Crumpled Paper Ball Game. I love seeing her airborne! The little black cat (9 years old) is watching but not interfering because she's already had her Game. She always goes first at Game Time.

     
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  10. Theresa kelly

    Theresa kelly PetForums Member

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    Well they have been play fighting for 3 years with no injuries to either party so far. Thanks for the advice though
     
  11. Bobalina17

    Bobalina17 PetForums Junior

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    Thank you @lorilu for the awesome tips! I haven't actually tried crumples balls of paper but I'll try it today - nice and cheap too :)
     
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  12. Bobalina17

    Bobalina17 PetForums Junior

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    Sorry, hit reply too soon!

    They absolutely LOVE playing in the big sheets of brown packing paper that either the Zooplus or Fetch deliveries arrive in.

    I'd love to get one of those Ripple Rugs I saw online but they don't seem to be available in the UK yet.

    The kittens have a few high places, large cat tree, shelves and cubby holes. I would like to get a second cat tree though. I'll need to make sure it's another big robust tree, as the vet said one of my kittens in particular is likely grow up to be a very large cat.

    I also think I need to add more little igloo type things to my shopping list.

    I'm also considering a ball pit and maybe an exercise wheel. The latter is quite a big investment though so I'll need to save up for that!
     
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  13. Jesthar

    Jesthar PetForums VIP

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    Charlie-girl, my 13yo, doesn't play a huge amount and doesn't often bother with 'prey toys' at the end when she does - she just saunters off and curls up for a snooze.

    Lori, my 5yo tortie nutter, plays a lot longer and harder, and I usually end a session with her by tossing her a cat drug filled toy (usually one I've made myself these days) to have a good bunny kick and wrestle with.
     
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  14. Bobalina17

    Bobalina17 PetForums Junior

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    Sorry, I don't seem to be getting the hang of this! I meant to quote in response to @lorilu's post!
     
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