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Play tips for your cat

All work and no play make kitty a dull pet. Cats are natural predators, so if you’d like her playtime to keep her busy, plan accordingly.

Cater to her hunter’s instincts and build some makeshift “birds” for her to hunt. Tie some feathers to a long stick and use it as a bird toy – she’ll go crazy for it. Wave it around for her to chase, hold it high so she can jump after it, keep her guessing by switching directions or locations…be creative!

If birds aren’t her thing, you can always get a rubber ball, a yo-yo or anything that zooms or jumps around. Of course, there’s always the classic – grab a torch, shine it around on the floor and watch her hunt for the light like she’s the ultimate predator. A word of warning: never use a laser pointer for this game, as it can damage her eyes.

You can adapt some “people” games for cats as well. Try playing this simple variation of hide and seek with her: grab some of her food at mealtime and call her. Once she runs to you, feed her a kibble or two and move to another room. Keep repeating this process until she’s fed and entertained, and use it whenever you’d like to have some fun with your cat at mealtime. It’ll help with learning to come when called, too.

Or, you can try this fun little game. Tie a string to her favourite toy and make her chase it all around the apartment. Start slowly, then speed up and vary the tempo to keep her on her toes. If you’d like an advanced version of this game, try this: flip the toy-on-a-string over a door and pull it up so she jumps after it. It’ll keep her fit and active…and you’ll probably get a few laughs out of it as well!

These are just general suggestions. At the end of the day, the best game for you and your cat are the ones that are yours and yours alone. Make up your own game by mixing, matching and using whatever catches your (or her!) eye as playthings, and have fun with your cat the way you like best.

But before we leave you to it, a small word of caution. As fun as using makeshift objects as toys is, never use your fingers or other body parts as her quarry. If she gets a habit for it, you’ll be mighty sorry once she gets into hunter mode and starts digging her claws and teeth in your pinkies. Play smart, play safe!

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