The Importance of Play: Keeping Your Cat Active While You’re Away
Leaving your cat at home while you head to work, run errands or travel is a common scenario for many pet owners. However, it’s crucial to ensure that your feline friend remains active and engaged during these periods. Lack of stimulation can lead to a range of issues, from obesity to behavioral problems. In this blog post, we explore the importance of play in keeping your cat active and happy while you’re away.
We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. You can read our disclaimer here.
1. The Link Between Play and Health
Regular play helps maintain a healthy weight and keeps your cat’s muscles toned and strong. This is particularly important for indoor cats, who have fewer opportunities for physical activity.
Engaging in play stimulates your cat’s mind, keeping them alert and curious. Cats are natural hunters, and play can mimic the mental and physical challenges of hunting, providing a satisfying outlet for their instincts.
2. Preventing Behavioral Issues
Boredom and Stress:
Without adequate stimulation, cats can develop stress-related behaviors, such as over-grooming, cystitis, or inappropriate scratching. Play can help alleviate stress and prevent these behaviors.
A lack of activity can lead to pent-up energy, which might manifest as aggression. Regular play sessions can help channel this energy positively.
3. Types of Play and Toys
Consider leaving out toys that stimulate your cat’s hunting instincts, such as feather wands or mouse toys. There are also automated toys available that can keep your cat engaged when you’re not around. There are some great ones available on Amazon.
These are great for mental stimulation and can also control feeding, which is especially useful for cats prone to overeating. We love these little mouse toys that you can put food in and hide around the house for your cat to find.
Simple homemade toys like a ball of paper or a cardboard box can also provide hours of entertainment. You can put some catnip, silver vine or a few treats in a cardboard tube, cut a few small holes (just big enough for the treat to fall out), and let your cat enjoy.
4. Creating a Stimulating Environment
Ensure your cat has access to safe spaces, such as cat trees or perches, where they can observe their surroundings from a height. Cat trees don’t have to be unattractive. You can find some very nice cat trees that can fit into your home decor. Cat walls are another fantastic option, and can add some interesting features to your decor. Etsy has some very creative cat walls.
A window perch can provide visual stimulation as they watch the world outside. A window perches are great for small spaces. Amazon has a lot of great options.
5. The Role of Cat Sitters
If you’re away for extended periods, consider hiring a professional cat sitter who can engage in active play with your cat and provide companionship. Professional pet sitters are trained in cat behavior and understand the importance of play for your cat’s physical and mental health.
6. Monitoring Playtime
Always ensure the toys left out for your cat are safe for unsupervised play. Avoid any toys with small parts that could be swallowed or cause injury. Limit laser toys, especially when you are not there to supervise.
When you are home, observe how your cat plays. This can give you insights into their preferences and what toys are most effective. For instance, some cats prefer to use vertical scratching posts, while others prefer to scratch horizontally.
Incorporating play into your cat’s daily routine is essential for their well-being, especially when they spend long periods alone. It promotes a healthy lifestyle, prevents behavioral problems, and provides the necessary mental and physical stimulation. Remember, a playful cat is a happy cat, and ensuring they have the means to play while you’re away is a crucial aspect of responsible pet ownership.
If you are planning on traveling or being out of the house for a long period of time, our professional cat sitters are here to assist you and your cat. Contact us today!