Keeping your cat fit and healthy
Playing together as part of cat care
The abave is very important for cats - from kittens to old age. In fact, playing with a cat is one of the most enjoyable things about owning one. It also has tremendous health benefits, encouraging your cat to be active, stay agile and maintain a healthy body shape. Even more importantly, play can help encourage cats to express their natural hunting instincts.
Why do cats play
Your cat's playful behavior can be delightful, endearing and at times a little annoying! Kittens start playing at four weeks of age and spend most of their time wrestling with other cats learning to hunt. By the time they reach the age of seven to eight, they will shift their focus from playing with litter siblings to playing with inanimate objects using the predator instinct.
The benefits of physical activity
Playing with your cat for just 20 minutes a day not only provides both physical and mental stimulation, but also strengthens the bond between you. It is especially important to ensure that indoor cats consume energy, which is normally reserved for patrolling the territory and hunting prey. Indoor cats may need more play to keep them fit, or repeat it in the morning and evening.
- The peak activity of kittens and cats is in the early morning and evening. Play with your pet before going to bed, so your kitten is ready to go to sleep while you prepare for it too.
- Kittens often play by themselves and occasionally it seems that they scare someone and run away, as if being chased by an invisible chaser.
- Toys are fun, but interactive play is also entertaining, which is one of the best ways to keep your cat fit and responding appropriately. Provide him with constant access to a certain number of toys, but keep some of them for your shared play. They will retain the special nature of the novelty. Never leave your cat / kitten unattended when it plays with a toy - a fishing rod or other string toys etc., as they carry a risk of suffocation. Make sure that all toys you leave at your pet's disposal are safe, do not contain small parts that could chew and swallow them.
- Kittens living alone may play less gently with their owner. They only have to play with you and must learn to control the biting and scratching involved in play.
- Never encourage your cat to throw herself on your arms and legs and play with them. While this can be fun for a cat, these habits may persist into adulthood and may encourage aggression towards humans in the future.
- Make time for at least two solid play sessions throughout the day. In order for young domestic, single indoor cats to feel satisfied as predators, their hunting instincts 'hunt-chase-attack' must be activated up to 30 times a day. This level can be reduced if you have more than one cat and if they like to race and play with each other, or if your cat is older or less active.
- The key to keeping cats interested is understanding their prey. A cat is much more interested in a toy if it moves under a couch or a cupboard, has just hidden under a doormat, or makes sudden movements. Make the toy behave like a mouse!
Playing with the cat
The best games are the ones that use toys that don't have to be expensive. Use feathers or pieces of cloth dangling from a stick, mice filled with catnip or wind-up toys. Also consider installing a cat climbing tree in your home with a sturdy scratching post attached.
- A bucket filled with crumpled paper or ping-pong balls can be useful for distraction. When the kitten tries to follow you, throw the ball towards him from the stairs
- Leave a large paper bag on the floor so that it can climb in and tear it to pieces. Do not use plastic bags and cut off any handles that could get caught on the cat's neck.
- Provide your kitten with cardboard boxes so he can jump in and out for great fun. You can glue several boxes together, connect them with holes so that the kitten can play hide and seek and put a ball or a mouse inside.
- Fill a textile sack with dried catnip, a herb that some cats are crazy about.
- Swing a 'fishing rod ' with feathers or bells attached to the end of the string. Never leave toys, strings or ribbons on top alone with your cat as they may pose a choking or suffocation hazard.
- Some cats like to chase and jump into the light beam from a small flashlight or laser pointer. Remember that this type of game should not last longer than 3 minutes.
When you are done, remove the toy from the cat's field of view so that it is still exciting to him when you take it out again. You will notice that your cat's favorite games are likely to be a playful variation of its natural hunting behavior: 'throwing the mouse ', 'scooping away the fish ', 'bird catching ' and 'fighting game '.
Redirecting aggression in play
If your kitten is willing to attack your hands and ankles, try to redirect this behavior to toys.
If you only have one cat, you may wonder if a companion could help solve the problem of play aggression. It may or may not be. Two kittens will often take care of each other physically but on the other hand it may end up with two predators in the house instead of one. Consult a veterinarian or behaviorist regarding methods of preventing human aggression in play. Never punish a cat for attacking you as it will not understand your intentions.
Catnip can really spice up your games together. It is a naturally occurring plant and is completely safe. More than half of the cats are crazy about it, and the rest will be quite indifferent to it. Some toys contain catnip, but you can also buy catnip from pet stores to reawaken your pet's interest in the toy. You can also grow your own catnip: just make sure it is the right (Nepeta cataria) plant that is safe for cats. Sensitivity to catnip begins in most kittens at around four months of age. Sprinkle the scent of catnip on the scratching post to encourage your pet to use it.
Why some cats are more active than others
Some cat breeds are reputed to spend a lot of time sleeping, while others are traditionally much more energetic. Among the pure breeds considered highly active are Siamese, Abyssinian, Oriental and Turkish cats. The group of breeds considered more lethargic includes Persian, Himalayan, British Shorthair and Ragdoll cats. Of course, many active and playful kittens are waiting for their new home in shelters.
When it comes to physical activity, cats are like humans: some are just more active than others. However, it is not normal for your cat to be asleep all the time and not interested in interacting with you. If your cat is very passive, consult your vet as this may indicate a health issue. In older cats, inactivity is often the only symptom of osteoarthritis, and if your cat has heart or respiratory disease, it may be reluctant to play as it becomes tired quickly.
Which is normal?
You live with your cat and you know what's normal. If you feel something is wrong, don't hesitate to report any concerns to your veterinarian.
They should be clean and shiny. Report any discharge or redness to your doctor.
They should be clean and free from secretions, odors and redness. If left untreated, ear problems are painful and can lead to hearing loss.
It should be clean and free of secretions and wounds.
The gums should be pink or black in color and the teeth should be free of plaque and calculus. Check your mouth for wounds and growths. A bad breath of smell may indicate dental problems.
Your kitten's coat should be shiny and clean, without dandruff or black particles.
Active, playful kittens are rarely overweight. However, after being castrated and reaching adulthood, cats may have a tendency to gain weight. Monitor your cat's body shape and consult your veterinarian or animal nutritionist for nutritional advice.
The habit of using the litter box:
Changes in the use of the litter box and in the frequency or quality of urination or stools may indicate health problems. If you notice such changes, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Overweight kittens will become overweight cats, and fat cats are not healthy cats. Being overweight puts cats at greater risk of pain from osteoarthritis and disorders such as diabetes and urinary diseases. Keeping your cat in perfect condition is important. Exercising and controlling the amount of energy in your cat's diet will help control your cat's weight, and prevention is always better than treatment.
To stay active, invest in some toys, an indoor climbing frame, or a scratching post. Introduce regular play sessions and remember that anything that moves will be attractive to your cat as it gives them the opportunity to practice their hunting skills.
The cat's home and social environment play a very important role in stimulating it to be active. Are there many items in your home that the cat can climb or jump on? Do you hide toys every time you finish playing so that each reappearance is a surprise for the cat?? If your apartment is multi-level, try to place the bowl of food and water on a different floor than the one on which he sleeps to stimulate him to climb the stairs as much as possible.