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Feline Friday: SQUEAKY-Games Kitties Play

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two Persian kittens with Christmas ribbons

Watching cats play makes us smile, laugh out loud, and maybe even join in the fun. While adult pets play less than rambunctious babies, all cats play to some extent through their entire life. It’s not only fun for you both, but healthy as well.

What about your cats? Do they have favorite toys or activities? Do your adult cats still play, or have they become sedate couch potato kitties?

By four weeks of age, kittens practice four basic techniques: play fighting, mouse pounce, bird swat, and fish scoop. The first play displayed by kittens is on the back, belly-up, with paws waving. Feints at the back of a sibling’s neck mimic the prey-bite used to dispatch mice (toy or real). Kittens also practice the simpering sideways shuffle, back arched high, almost tiptoeing around other kittens or objects. Soon, the eye-paw coordination improves to execute the pounce, the boxer stance, chase and pursuit, horizontal leaps, and the face-off where kittens bat each other about the head. Read more about WHY cats play as well as HOW they play in this Paw Nation article.

Thrill of the Chase mouse-track toy--Seren was "eh, so-so" but she's never cared for these.

Seren, as an adult, doesn’t play all that much–except at night when we’re trying to sleep. That’s when I hear her GALUMPHING up and down the stairs, chasing toy (or imaginary) mice. She’s thrilled to have just received a BOX-‘O-KITTY-TOYS from Play-n-Squeak and has been kitty-testing them. Check out that link for a way-kewl video demo, and to hear the actual mouse-squeak.

Seren wanted to cheek-rub the Spring Fling toy--it also squeaks with each head-bonk.

She’s a tough sell so if Seren-kitty likes ’em, chances are your fur-kids will be thrilled. These “mice” actually SQUEAK like a real mouse–and that’s a huge thrill for an indoor kitty. There’s lots to choose from, and I’ve just highlighted a few.

Tiger Teaser is Seren's fav! Loves to head-butt the feather wand, and chase the squeaky mouse.

Do your kittens go overboard with play? Cat aggression and cat attacks may be either predatory or play aggression, and look identical. But when the kitten grapples your bare feet and chomps down, it’s anything but fun and games for owners. You may suspect Fluff-Baby has turned into Demon-Cat, but truly, this is normal kitten behavior and he’s not channeling his “inner lion” and planning to eat you. Here are 7 ways to stop kitten play aggression.

Twinkle Mouse not only squeaks, its eyes light up for nighttime play. I suspect "galumphing" is in this toy's future!

How do YOUR kittens (and adult cats) play? Do they invent games? I’ve known cats that run-run-run-run, LAND on a throw rug and sleddddddddddddd………… across the slick floor, for example. Or adult cats that leap to the tops of cabinets, knock over the box of dawgie treats, and play gravity experiments tap-tap-tapping ’em off the edge to feed the grateful pooch below. So what’s your cat’s pleasure? Toys–or toes. *eg* Please share your favorite ever cat toy or game.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

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About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant, award winning author, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

11 responses »

  1. sapphyredragon

    I adore cats. Nothing more fun than watching mine play. She loves toy catnip mice and we play fetch. Like other cats, she’s also amused by gravity on objects. Oh, and feathers. Anything with feathers is fair game.

    Reply
    • You play fetch? What fun! Lots of Siamese in particular like fetch games. My Seren just likes to bat ’em down the stairs and then chase after.

      Reply
  2. Katie Shields

    One of my cats has a whole “obstacle course” that she like 2 use daily: from the kitchen counter she jumps (quite gracefully I might add) to a chair in the living room. Next she moves on to a short hop to the coffee table, piano, & finally a running jump to try to get a a decoration that is hanging on the front door! When she realizes that once again she’s been foiled, she proceeds to lay in front of the picture window & clean her paws.

    Reply
  3. My 12 year old Shady-cat still plays like he’s a kitten – he is so much fun. Drag a shoelace, or a tie, and he’s game! He also loves crumpled up paper – he’ll play fetch with you. My other, younger, fatter cat, well he just wants some lovin’.

    Reply
  4. How fun! Love the obstacle kitty courses. Katie, she might be a candidate for Feline Agility!

    Tiffany, Seren loves crumpled paper, too. Wish she liked the snuggles better but shes’s an ankle rubber.

    Reply
  5. You forgot to mention the ever reliable laser pointer…

    Which we found out much to our amusement also entranced Rosie, our half Beagle, half whatever mix. It’s really funny to see three cats and one dog staring fixedly at a tiny red dot of light getting ready to pounce, while Sam sits next to me looking totally confused. He just doesn’t get it.

    Cats and kittens do love hunting. And I do love watching them. The only time I don’t love them hunting, is when I’m in bed and they mistake my feet for prey.

    Ouch.

    Wayne

    Reply
  6. There’s nothing better than watching cats playing with their toys. Sadly, the cat track is no longer used now that Dickens is gone. He sure loved that track!

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Monday Mentions: Howls, Wags & Wins! « Amy Shojai's Blog

  8. Pingback: Feline Friday: Happy Cat Month « Amy Shojai's Blog

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