Kitty Zen

Moments sharp, sweet and soft

Posts Tagged ‘cats’

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. 🙂

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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PAWS animals need you short time NOW

Posted by smallspark on July 4, 2008

Hi everyone, Would you pass the message below on to anyone? It’s
about temporarily fostering animals for the animal shelter here in
phila..the numbers are just heartbreaking.

They really need temporary (very temporary for the kittens, anyway)
foster mommy and daddies…. For example: If you pick baby kittens to
care for, it’s simply one extra room in your house or one wire cage
somewhere safe so they can grow old enough to be adopted.

I never knew about fostering animals before I moved to Philly and
that’s why I share this.

It’s hard to contemplate fostering but knowing you are making a short
term accommodation while helping one or more animal live to get to
it’s forever home while at the same time getting so many personal
rewards: affection, exercise, community and more – I more than think
its win-win, I really do know it is.


Below is the email I received from the PAWS mailing list:


This is an urgent plea for your help. PAWS is taking in well over 100
animals every single day — too many to house, and too many to save on
our own. There are many ways you can help:

Please rescue us!Foster kittens: PAWS has more kittens than space.
Yesterday alone, we had 28 litters of kittens by 10 am and were able
to get only four out into foster care. More are coming in all the
time, so every hour is critical. We are especially full with sweet,
wonderfull momma cats that have nursing litters, as well as orphaned
newborns that need to be bottle fed and young orphan kittens who are
eating on their own. They urgently need foster care in order to
survive. Foster care provides a safe place for them to grow to an
adoptable age and find good adoptive homes, and frees up much needed
space at the shelter for other needy animals. If you have a spare room
in your house please consider helping us get these adorable babies and
their mommas out!

Foster a dog: The shelter is packed with dogs — large and small,
young and old — who are desperately waiting for a chance at life. We
cannot house them all, and more are coming in all the time —
approximately 35-40 each and every day. By taking one home
temporarily, you give them the chance at life they deserve and make
room at the shelter for another whose life depends on us having the

I need you! Please rescue me!IF YOU CAN FOSTER AN ANIMAL: Come to the
shelter (111 W. Hunting Park Avenue) immediately. A staff person or
foster care volunteer will be thrilled to help you find the right
animal(s) for you to take into safety. Foster care hours are 11 am to
6 pm every day of the week. To make special arrangements to come at
another time of day, please email Natalie at
(please email only as a last resort; Natalie is inundated. It is best
to just come directly to the shelter.)

Directions to the shelter are available here:

More information about foster care is available here:

Please, Would you help?

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