The Importance of Play

by Nekochan, maker of Neo Flies cat toys

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Playing with your cat is more than entertainment, for both of you. It can help with a variety of social issues, bonding between you and your cat, stress relief, and much more. Making time daily to play with your cat is essential to building and maintaining the relationship you have with them and keeping them happy and healthy.

The main ingredient to interactive play is—you guessed it—being interactive with your cat! Having toys around the house is great for your cat to play with alone but, from a cat’s perspective, these toys are already “dead.” Cats love the thrill of the hunt and catching “live” prey. By engaging cats in a chase, hunt, and catch game, you are stimulating their natural hunting instincts.

When selecting cat toys, get a variety of prey for your cat to hunt and create a fantastic interactive play experience. Cat wand toys have a variety of lures and can move in a lifelike way, which is a great part of their appeal, even to cats who usually are not interested in toys or playing. By matching the toy to your cat’s personality, you are also more likely to stimulate play. Some cats love to chase furry critters, while other will go nuts for a butterfly! For timid cats, choose a toy that is not intimidating and is easier to catch. This will help to build their confidence. For more confident and athletic cats, you will want a toy that provides a more challenging hunt.

It’s not only about the look of the toy—it’s also how the toy moves. Mimicking natural movements of prey will help get your cat interested in the game. When a cat hunts, it stalks its prey and then pounces to catch it. Waving around a toy frantically is likely to confuse your cat, and then they tend to lose interest. Cats are also not built for marathons and will likely not have the stamina for long play sessions. Short spurts or running, jumping and pouncing followed by “I think I’m invisible” stalking will help keep them engaged in your game. Hunting isn’t just physical— it’s also a great mental game for your feline friend.

There are so many ways to play with wand toys! Try running the toy up the scratching pole or cat tree. Your cat will be keen to chase its prey, and this offers great exercise. Hide and seek is another great game that will entice your cat to hunt. Try hiding the toy behind something and give it a few wiggles, showing the movement of the toy. When your cat stalks over and pounces, move the toy away quickly and add to the thrill of the hunt. You can play this game all over the house! Obstacle courses are also a fantastic way to get your cat moving. With the toy, navigate an obstacle course (up poles, around furniture, into tunnels) while your cat chases the toy. Tired after a long day? You can even play from sitting on the sofa!

When you’re done playing, don’t just hide the toy. Your cat may still be hyped up in play mode and wondering where its prey went, so use the end of your game as a cool-down period. Show your cat they have “injured” their prey with slower movements. Let your cat catch, kick and hold its prize before ending the game. Not only will this satisfy your cat, knowing they won, but it’s also adorable, to see how happy they get!

About Neko Flies

You’ve tried traditional wand toys, now try the best! The Neko Flies Ultimate Rod is three rods in one and offers tons of interactive play options. You can see great options for play on the Neko Flies YouTube channel at youtube.com/playnekoflies.

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