Play with your cat to prevent unwanted behaviours

Play with your cat a few minutes every day

Get in the habit of playing with your cat when he is young

Cat behaviour consultant Patience Fisher, explains why playing with your cat can help him cope better with stress. People often assume their cats are fine because they are not doing anything to upset the people in the home.  Cats avoid broadcasting stress – in terms of survival, showing weakness could be fatal and result in them being preyed upon.  A change to the family’s routine may be just enough to trigger unwanted feline behaviours that people will notice.  The coping behaviours that seem to draw attention of owners are inappropriate urination, aggression, and scratching furniture.

Play with your cat to build confidence and decrease stress

Play is mentally and physically healthy and builds positive relationships between playmates. Even if a cat is getting plenty of playtime with the other cats, a few minutes a day of human-cat playtime is important.  It strengthens the human-cat bond, and can help fulfill the cat’s need to hunt.  Additionally, as cats age, they usually lost interest in wrestling each other. Instead, that energy becomes more focused on hunting and fulfilling the need to seek.  The owner can help the cat exhibit his natural prey drive and feel the satisfaction of plotting and carrying out a successful simulated hunt.

Keep to a play schedule

Getting in the habit of playing with your cat for a few minutes a day when he is young and motivated will pay dividends later.  Keeping to a play schedule in good times will help keep your cat from stressing over changes in his life, as well as give you a tool to help him if he is stressed.

This article (Money in the Bank – Patience Fisher discusses the importance of providing plenty of resources in the good time, so a cat is less likely to stress in the bad times) was first published in BARKS from the Guild, the official trade publication of the pet Professional Guild, on March/2016 (pages 48-49).