One thing cats do and do well is play. For kittens, play is a full-time job—well, that and sleeping. In my experience even eating takes a backseat to playing and sleeping for a kitten.
Grown cats play too. By the time a cat is two or so, they’ve established some activities that are theirs alone—habits, actions, pursuits. And often those activities will change with the cat’s age and abilities. A cat doesn’t put as much energy into their playtime as a kitten will and their priorities might change a little. For many cats this pattern continues throughout their life. The cat might love to chase balls as a kitten. As the cat ages, he still likes balls, especially when they’re rolling across a bare floor, but he doesn’t pursue this activity as often or with as much vigor. When he becomes more elderly, the ball might still be a fascination for him, but he’ll be more likely to bat it and just watch it roll away. This is a good time to strike up a give and take with your cat. Toss him the ball, let him swat at it, then retrieve it and toss it to him again. Yeah, it can take years for a cat to train his human to fetch, but it can be done.
Our Sophie likes furry toy mice with tails. She must remember playing with real mice when she lived on the streets with her mom and siblings, because her favorite move is to toss the thing in the air over and over again. Cute. Sophie is fourteen years old, so she entertains us with this sport less often, but it’s still a delight to watch. She remains svelte and athletic for her age. Go Sophie!
Lily will soon be ten—we’ll announce her birthday and maybe let her run a contest to celebrate. Lily has always adored tiny stuffed animals. Remember the Beanie Babies? Then there are the tiny finger puppets. Lily has a wide collection of all brands of small plush animals.
We first discovered she liked these things when a package arrived one day for our cats and it was a stuffed veterinarian. She tossed and batted that around like she had a vendetta or something. (Poke me with that needle will you?) Then she started taking little plush toys from our grandchildren’s toy basket and they’d end up in Lily’s toy basket. I even had some small teddies among my collection of stuffed animals and she snagged those too.
Now she’s into pilfering my slipper socks. Sigh. Hey, whatever keeps the cats happy and cute.