• Dr Grant Hampson

How to play with your cats




We can all agree that cats combined with playtime is a thing of wonder.


Whether they’re chasing a catnip filled banana around the room, swinging off a cat tree, or flying around your home as fast as possible, they’re having the time of their lives, and so are you.


That’s why we’ve teamed up with Gus and Bella Box for this blog. They’re a gift-box subscription service, bringing gifts and delight to cats and their people (yes, there’s something for you in there too!) - with plenty of cat toys going out each month! We’ve got some tips on how to play with your cat, and explain some of the toys you might find in your monthly or one-off boxes.


The importance of playtime


Playtime is so important for a couple of reasons; not only is it a fantastic way of exercising your cat, keeping their waistline nice and trim, but it’s also a great chance to bond with them. Not to mention, indoor cats particularly really benefit from playtime as it offers excellent mental stimulation.


Every cat is different when it comes to what they want during playtime - some want to be chasing around and have that high energy all the time, while others may want shorter bursts or calmer energy. This is why there’s such an array of toys on offer, some cats love the chase and others want to stay in the same spot.


A very important piece of advice we want to give, don’t teach them to play with your hand, if you do they may always associate playtime with your hands and feet, even when you don’t want them to. So if you then tell them off for doing this, they will get really confused.


The game...


The world of cat toys is expansive. They come in all different shapes, sizes, smells and … tastes? But with this wealth of choice, what do you go for? The fun part is trying them all to see which ones your cat gels with the most. Here are some of the most popular ones, and each month you’ll get at least one of these fun toys in your Gus and Bella Box!


Dangler pole toys:

These are fantastic toys to get your cat playing chase! Don’t just get them to chase, allow them to catch the feather or ball on the end, otherwise they may be left unsatisfied and get bored.



Catnip Toys:

Nothing will get your cat playing with a toy more than those filled with catnip. Catnip is an excellent stimulant for cats to encourage play and sometimes relax them. The key is not letting them overindulge, cats are unlikely to overdose on catnip, but if they eat too much it can make them feel a bit sick.


Tunnels:

Tunnels provide a fun new experience for your cat to explore, and even play hide and seek. There’s something to be said for creeping along a tunnel and the excitement of not quite knowing what or who is at the end.


Balls:

Not just for dogs! Some cats will play with balls if you just leave them around the house (check out one of our KatKin Club members, Zena, for example). We would encourage you to throw a ball for a cat as much as you would a dog, they will love chasing the ball around the house.



Interactive Toys:

The beauty of using an interactive toy is that they’ve been designed to encourage play and provide mental stimulation at the same time. Get your cat playing in lots of different ways with this kind of toy.


Cat Trees and Scratching posts:

Cats love climbing and being high up, cat trees provide the perfect place for cats to climb up and down and stimulates play time and their natural behaviours. These fun trees come in different shapes and sizes, many come with a bonus scratching post attached, what’s not to love?


Boxes:

Yet another reason KatKin comes in handy - our huge boxes double as magical landscapes for your cats! Cats feel safe and secure in enclosed spaces, and this can help reduce their stress after a long day at the office (chasing flies around the room). Build your cat a KatKin palace and watch the relaxation follow.




The rules…


Making sure your cat gets plenty of exercise is not only great for their health but also keeps their weight in check. It’s also a proven way to form a stronger bond between cat and owner with regular interaction.


In the wild, cats store up their energy and use it in short bursts or intent hunting and the same is true for their indoor counterparts. They store up their energy and then release it at play time, so it's best to reflect this in their play time by playing with them little and often.


Don’t let them become frustrated by not letting them satisfy their natural hunting instincts by catching their toy, which to them is their prey. If you find they like lots of toys, provide lots of toys! Variety will provide lots of stimulation and stop them getting bored.


Gus & Bella suggest that some cats can appear quite uninterested in toys, but the key is persistence and variety. Their boxes are a great way to trial new and innovative cat toys on the market, and often include high-grade catnip toys, which if given in short bursts, is sure to bring out your cat’s inner kitten and encourage self-play for hours.


Regular play time is especially important for indoor cats to keep them happy and healthy. Try and dedicate 10-15 minutes a day to engage them with different toys.


Keep it safe…


Don’t leave any toys lying around, particularly those with bits that could be removed and swallowed. Don’t play with them with bits of string, because if this is swallowed it can be very dangerous for your cat.


And remember … Have fun!

If you’re interested in trying one of Gus & Bella’s cat + human subscription boxes we have a great discount for you to take advantage of: Discount code: MEOW20 – for 20% OFF your first monthly subscription box

Discount code: MEOW10 – for 10% off a one -off gift box – ideal for cat birthday’s, cat lover birthdays or a special treat.



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