Play is the indoor cat’s way to hunt!
Even though it may seem like your cat sleeps most of the day, most cat parents will bet that you have been woken up by a loud noise at least once at 2 a.m. that was caused by your furry family member running around the house and getting into “trouble”. Well the “trouble” that they are getting into could actually be their way of exercising their hunting instinct.
Cats sleep most of the day, about 16 hours, but when they are awake they need to move around and exercise. In the wild, cats get their physical exercise from hunting. Inside cats receive their exercise from playing with toys that simulate prey that would normally be found in the wild. Play provides more than just exercise because it also relieves anxiety, stress, and boredom. When indoor cats do not have toys to play with, that is when they supplement their playful instincts with anything they can find around the house; curtains, toes, shoe laces, etc. So when your cat is attacking everything they can get their paws on, they may just be looking for an outlet for their natural hunting instincts.
This is why play is so important. Physical activity from play acts as a workout, keeping cats physically fit and enriches the pet’s quality of life and fosters a healthy relationship between the pet and their parents by alleviating what can be described as destructive behavior.
There are many types of toys for different types of play, each appealing to a different styles and preferences that cats have. There are toys that replicate the sound of wild prey like mice, toys that look like prey, toys that have appealing textures that cats love, as well as toys that have a scent that encourages cats to play like catnip. Movement of the toy is also very important for cats. Cats can see much quicker movement than humans can, so toys that have erratic movement can really entice your cat. Random movement is also very important for cats. This makes play fun and unpredictable, keeping cats engaged in play and preventing boredom.
So when you are at the pet store or shopping around online for your furry little hunter, please keep these points in mind when choosing a toy for your cat. The type of toy you choose matters. Happy hunting!