Kitty Zen

Moments sharp, sweet and soft

The art of playing with cats from a dog person pt 1

Posted by smallspark on September 28, 2008

I just came back from playing with the cats. This is always really funny, no matter how reluctant I sometimes am to give them the time it takes to REALLY play with them. Because playing with cats is just different from playing with dogs. Dogs I know how to wind up and wind down and make a really good play session. A good play session with a dog gives me a lot of exercise and we’re both exhausted at the the end.

Cats , on the other hand, are creatures I’m still adjusting to and their play habits have almost a totally different energy. I’m seldom exhausted. But I can tell, even if I just play for a minute or so (literally) when they request it, that they feel better and have gotten rid of some stress. It’s so palpable! Playing with animals, (and kids too) makes for smiling. Not only for the goofy things they do but for the simple pleasure of watching them be interested, and the surprising ways in which they play and how their little community interacts. Everyday something changes, somebody learns something or changes it up.

One thing that is important is the distinction between WHAT the animals are playing with. With a dog, they are playing with the toy but also interacting and playing with the person. With a cat, they are playing with the moving toy and they appreciate the person who makes that happen.

Totally different.

Another difference is having to be STILL when playing with cats. Or at least with feet mostly in the same position. The only thing moving in a cats line of sight should be the toy they’re about to attack. Same with noise. No new noise. Otherwise, at least for mine, I end up freaking someone out and the game has to start over. Them freaking out means they’ll either flip out and run away/around or just take a couple minutes to reorient themselves to what’s around them.

With a dog, running around constantly just adds to the fun. šŸ™‚

Now another thing is there are a lot of different cat games, did you know? “Pounce” the movement (my hand or a stick under something – blanket, paper, cloth, curtain), “toss up” which could either be low – just lifting the paws or a high – a full-on leap in order to catch a toy midair. (That’s my favorite game and only Callie plays it.) “Chase” which involves me trying to keep a feather ahead of them on either the floor or about a foot about the floor. This ends up with lots of sliding around on the wood floor when changing direction and this game lasts awhile because the smart little cats have learned to to take turns. When one tires out, the next one literally leaps in.

The standard “catch” is always fun, which is making the feather toy freak out in the air above them and then they leap up to get it. Other variations of this are “lazy catch” where they roll over on their backs and try to get the feather toy with as little movement as possible. Usually they like this one when they are laying on something soft, like the couch.

They also like it when I roll tiny toys down the hall for them to chase, especially if I just took it out of the catnip box where I keep them. (I’d love to teach them to bring it back.) The usual scene is me rolling jingle balls, them catching and playing and then stopping and looking at me – would I do it again – with me then contorting into whatever spot the toy landed in to get it, and give it a spin in the other direction.

What other games are there to play with multiple cats?

Anyone make any toys that were a hit?


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