Young cats not only play to train their hunting behavior, but above all to build social bonds. Unlike dogs, adult cats no longer play in the wild. This has a lot to do with the fact that the cat is a loner and doesn’t live in a group like the «social» dog.
However, cats that are cared for by humans never completely shed their childish nature. And that includes her lifelong interest in the game. Play is particularly important for the cat, which only lives in an apartment, in order to live out its sexual, hunting-typical and aggressive behavior. Playing together is also an ideal opportunity to deepen the relationship with the cat.
There are many ways to keep a cat busy. For example, you can hide a small amount of dry food or treats for them in the apartment, in boxes, toilet paper rolls, in a toy board (in pet shops or you can make one yourself using the instructions from the Internet) or in a treat ball.
Many cats are fascinated by toys that smell like valerian or catnip. Cats love to catch objects that twitch away from them on a string and «hide». An interesting way to mentally exercise cats is also «clicker training». The cat can learn tricks or certain routines through positive reinforcement. The so-called clicker is used in training as reinforcement.
New smells and objects are also exciting – so sometimes take wood, stones or harmless grass with you from a walk. Empty shopping bags made of paper (NOT made of plastic!), make sure to cut the handles so that the cat doesn’t get caught, are often explored and used as rustling caves. When you consider that a free-ranging cat spends three to ten hours a day hunting, it also becomes clear that several hours a day should be spent actively with her in order to keep her busy.