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By Larry Chamberlain
Playing reinforces the bond between you and your cat.
Playing with your cat is the best possible way to build up a bond between the two of you. Do you want your cat to think of you as more than someone who is there to provide food, shelter and warmth? Then regular play sessions will go a long way to ensuring that your feline friend sees you as an object of his or her affections, that you are someone to greet when you arrive home.
Do not let your cat think that your hands are playthings. If your cat gets the message that it is OK to scratch at, or bite your hands, you will have the devils own job of curing him of the habit.
Playing will help preventing your cat from becoming overweight.
The best way to ensure that your cat does not become overweight is by feeding him correctly with a balanced diet, but exercise also plays a part in keeping your kitty healthy. If yours is an indoor cat, then playing with you may be his only opportunity for exertion and staying trim. Don't overdo it though, limit play time to about 15 minutes.
Playing will help your cat to become confident.
Kittens learn how to relate with their siblings and other cats through play, it is their social education, how they learn their place in the world. Help you cat to continue this enlightenment by playing with him.
Also regular play periods, coupled with petting sessions, will get your cat used to human interaction, he will be less likely to shy away and hide, when visitors call.
Playing will help your cat develop his hunting abilities.
Hunting is a natural instinct for all cats, a cat confined to indoors usually has little chance to express and develop this instinct. Enjoy some of your play times using an interactive cat toy, the kind with a catnip mouse on the end of a cord are good. Encourage kitty to chase the toy mouse, allow him to pounce for the 'kill'.
Have a selection of cat toys but use only three or four in one session, next time amuse your feline with a different choice. Keep some toys only for play sessions, put them away between times, so that they remain interesting to your cat. Toys like catnip mice can be safely left out for kitty to amuse himself with, but be aware that small objects can, and do, get swallowed by cats. Never encourage playing with buttons, pieces of string, small bells etc. Plastic bags are as dangerous for cats as they are for children, and are not playthings.
Playing will help your cat release aggression.
Cats often display aggressive traits through boredom. Tutor your cat not to scratch, bite or attack you with play sessions. Use praise to reward your cat for playing gently, as soon as he shows any sign he is about to use his teeth or claws - end the play session. This will teach your cat that aggressive cat behavior is best directed to his toys, and not you!
Playing is 'Fun' for your cat!.
Cats need fun in their lives, just like humans need it. Relieve the monotony of eating, snoozing and using the litter tray by putting a bit of fun in your cats life. You will have a happier, more confident and less aggressive kitty.
Playing is 'Fun' for you!.
And finally, it is fun for you to play with your cat. A cat is a wonderful pet just to have around the place to admire its beauty and for its company. But how much better for you to enjoy a little fun by playing with your cat. Cat playtime, good for your cat, good for you!
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