Cats are fantastic companions, affectionate and cuddly. When most people imagine a cat, they envision a cat curled up napping. Cats enjoy sleeping but are also very social creatures who like to play. However, a cat can play too much, they can become over-stimulated, and their play can also become aggressive if not appropriately regulated.
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Cat’s in the wild
When cats play, they are honing their hunting skills. They prowl, stalk and pounce on their prey, which is what a lot of their inside play imitates. Climbing, stalking, and pouncing is exercise for a cat who goes outside. These activities should be recreated inside for your indoor cat to play and get enough exercise and mental stimulation.
Not only does this type of activity work their bodies, but it also stimulates their brains. They use their senses to guide them, find prey, work out routes, and judge distances. So it is a complete workout for the body and the mind.
While some cats like the Persian are remarkably sedate and take a lot of persuasion to move, other cat breeds are known to be more energetic and require more stimulation to keep them happy. Such as the Bengal, Abyssinian, Devon Rex, and Birman, to name a few. These breeds will want more playtime.
Unlike dogs, who are pretty obvious when they want to play, cats are more subtle. For example, a cat may rub against you to initiate interaction, they may be moody about it and walk away from you, or you may find your furniture being destroyed by clawing.
Cats’ playtime also differs from dogs in that they tend to have shorter play periods. Your dog may need at least an hour’s playtime to burn off that excess energy. However, a cat’s instincts are short bursts of energy to hunt and downtime to conserve energy for the next hunt.
Their playtime indoors should work with their biology. A good guideline is 4 x 10-minute sessions of engaged stimulating play throughout the day. Remember that every cat is different; some cats may need a little less time or a little more time. The important thing is not to over-stimulate your cat.
Cat toys also reflect their hunting habits. The most popular cat toys tend to be feathers or small soft toys which resemble their natural prey, which they can stalk, chase and pounce. Again, it may be trial and error to determine which type your cat enjoys playing with.
Reasons your cat may be playing too much
A cat can play too much, and these are some common reasons behind excessive playing:
Cats are social creatures who enjoy interacting with humans and other animals, such as another cat. If your cat is at home alone all day, then there is a good chance of excessive play caused by loneliness. You might want to consider getting a feline friend for your feline friend.
Cats are intelligent, social creatures who have strong hunting instincts. If your cat’s environment isn’t stimulating enough, it will become bored. Excessive play is a way for your cat to relieve the boredom and work off excess energy. But, again, a playmate for your furry friend will help alleviate boredom and loneliness.
If your cat isn’t getting enough mental stimulation, it may not like the toys, or it has become fed up with them and needs a change. There are many different types of toys available for your cat. Some are designed for your cat to play alone, which are suitable for when the cat is home alone.
Cats used to be considered solitary animals, but recent studies have proven that cats are social animals and suffer from loneliness and boredom. Indeed, many animal shelters and cat sanctuaries now state that you should adopt two cats rather than a solitary cat for this reason. Loneliness and boredom are common factors behind behavioral issues in cats.
However, you should always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your pet.
If your usually calm cat suddenly demands more playtime, you should take it to the vet for a check-up. Hyperthyroidism is when your cat’s thyroid produces too many hormones. The first symptoms of hyperthyroidism are restlessness and more activity. As hyperthyroidism progresses, your cat will drink more and eat more but lose weight. Left untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems.
Your vet should always check over any behavior changes in pets. Changes in behavior are usually the first indicator of something wrong with your pet.
We expect kittens to be very playful, and that’s when we teach them how to play appropriately. But if your cat is playing too much, you must closely look at its environment and what it needs to be happy and content.
When we moved from Jersey to Scotland, we kept our cat indoors for a few weeks, and he hated it. He clawed our furniture and carpets and would run around the house and meow all the time. He has a scratch post and some toys. We encouraged him to use the post and played with him, but it just wasn’t enough for him. He missed going outside, which he has always been used to doing.
Our cat is an outdoor cat; he has always gone out and comes home when it suits him. In our last house, we had a microchip catflap, so he had the freedom to go out and come home whenever he wanted. However, since he has been able to go out again, he has reverted to his normal behavior. He goes out and comes home wanting treats and cuddles.
I hope that you found this article helpful.