5 tips for encouraging an indoor cat to play

Indoor cats can spend a lot of time chilling out and snoozing, more so than cats that are able to go outside. If this is the case with your cat, you may need to encourage them to be a bit more active and get some exercise through playing.

1. Toys- Trying to chose a toy for your cat can be quite a daunting task. Pet stores are crammed full of all sorts, from the basic ball and squeaky mouse to the more upmarket battery operated devices that aim to mimic prey behaviour. Not all cats like the same things. Some may be happy with batting crumpled paper or a ball of wool, whilst others prefer moving targets like laser pointers or wands. You may need to try out a few options before finding something that your pet is interested in.
2. Take the lead- Providing toys for your four legged friend is a good start, but you may need to encourage them to use them! Some cats can be quite lazy and need an extra bit of stimulus. Interactive games are a good way to start getting them interested in play, and a great way of building a bond with your pet. Laser pointers and wands that unleash your cats predator instinct can help entice a lazy cat to get some exercise.

3. Puzzle feeders- Food puzzles stimulate both your pet’s brain and body. Instead of having their meal presented to them on a plate, they have to work for their dinner,. A puzzle feeder will mimic the experience of hunting for food, making your cat stalk,pounce, pat and paw their way to their meal. In addition feeding in this way will help to occupy your cat for a longer period of time. You can buy these types of feeders, or you can even make them. Take a look at our vlog for some further ideas!
4. Walk about – You don’t need to spend a lot of money on fancy toys. Something as simple as taking a walk around the house can help your cat stretch their legs. Even better if you can add in a trip up some stairs! Treats can be used to encourage and reward movement, obviously not to many to counteract your good walk!

5. Vertical spaces- Introducing play areas at different heights can allow indoor cats to indulge in some normal climbing and hiding behaviour. It can also be a great addition to multicat households, as it increases available territory and allows hierarchical behaviour to be expressed. You can buy lots of good cat trees and climbing stations. If you are good a DIY you might want to take a look here for some interesting ideas for home made cat vertical spaces.

Sometimes health issues can stop your pet from wanting to play. If your cat has always been quite playful and suddenly becomes disinterested in play, or if they seem uncomfortable, stiff, lame or in pain please make an appointment for one of our vets to check them over.

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