Let's Play! Cats Need More Play Time Than You Think
Cats have this reputation of being aloof and the “less time consuming” animal companion. Whenever I read this online, or hear it from a friend, I always think, “they haven’t met my cats.” My cats run to greet me at the door when I come home. They have behavior concerns such as fighting, inappropriate urination, and house destruction if we miss even one of their daily play sessions. They follow me around the house and become grumpy if I don’t stop and snuggle them often enough. In the summer, they start to try and dash out the door unless we periodically take them out on leash and harness to explore the yard. These aren’t any special high energy breed of cats. They are normal, rescued, domestic shorthair cats, and they need just as much time, money, and effort as my dog does.
It is possible that my cats are just spoiled. I mean, my husband and I did spend a large sum of money renovating the house to have a super-cat-highway throughout the home... (Okay, I admit it. I spoil my cats) But, maybe, just maybe, cats need more time and socialization than we think.
When you search the internet, you’ll find the generic answer for the question “How Much Time Do Cats Need?” is 15-30 minutes daily. This answer gives the impression that it’s a one size fits all situation. I disagree. Every cat is different and has different needs. Some days, my lovely house panther needs 15 minutes of play, 5 minutes of squinty eyes from across the room, 10 or so minutes of petting, and about half an hour of cuddles. My sweet ginger kitty usually needs about 30 minutes of play, 10 minutes of squinty eyes, 5-15 minutes of petting, and sometimes up to 5 minutes of cuddling.
What I have found to be most important, is listening to your cat. They speak volumes, and not just in meows.
Did kitty miss the litter box? Where cats pee speaks volumes about how they feel! Finding urine in areas that you frequent is a great way for your cat to say, “I miss you.”
Is your cat looking directly at you while shredding your couch? This one is usually a very direct way of saying, “Hey man! I’m bored! Get up and let’s do something.”
Are you having a busy day, and it just seems like the cats aren’t getting along? This one is a common one in my house. My panther cat needs to get his hunting instincts out appropriately, on toys, or else he will practice them on his family.
So, for a basic goal, 15-30 minutes per day of attention is a good idea, but don’t forget to listen to your furry loved one. Some days they might need more love and affection. Some days they might need to get the frisky kitty, feisty feelings out, and to play a lot!
Enjoy each and every day with your loved one, because we don’t have forever with our forever friends.
With puppy and kitty love,
Lily the Dog Mama