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The first few weeks of having your kitten are very important. This is the time you have to bond with your new pet and establish a good relationship which will last many years. The best way to socialise is to set aside some quality time for playing.
Playing with a kitten has many benefits, the greatest being maintaining its health – a good amount of exercise can make sure your cat is at a healthy weight. Also, playing keeps a kitten entertained and can even release any aggression or negative energy.
New kittens (and most adult cats) will play with absolutely anything around the house whether it is a ball of newspaper, paper clips or string. Some of these things can be dangerous if they are swallowed or chewed on so it is important to pick the right cat toys to bring out at play time.
A staple in the cat toy box plays on the classic cat and mouse chase. You can get mice which you can wind up and leave your kitten to chase around the house and also some which vibrate to create movement. The latter would be better for a small pet as they make it easier for you to oversee playing.
Be careful with these as a cat may be tempted to try and eat or chew the toy when it has been caught. Make sure there are no small pieces which could dislodge to be swallowed or inhaled.
You may want to provide your pet with something to scratch on. Cats naturally like to scratch so they can mark their territory but also, and more importantly, so they can shed the outer layers of their claws. A scratching post would mean that your sofas/curtains/carpets aren’t ruined (fingers crossed!).
A lot of scratching posts can now have multiple uses. They have inbuilt toys, beds and also provide a place for your cat to climb. A scratcher can give your kitten a haven of activities, which can be especially useful if you need to leave them alone for a short while.
Dangling toys, also known as fishing poles, are perfect for kittens as they give you the opportunity to supervise and also get involved in play time. You hold the stick and dangle the toy in front of your kitten and it will guarantee to keep them amused! The toy on the end acts as prey and can trigger predatory instincts and help practice hunting skills.
Most cats will enjoy treating the toy like a real target. Animate the toy by making it run around or hide behind things and this will create a really fun game. Make sure you eventually allow the cat to catch the toy, half of the fun is in the catch!
Play Time Tips
- Put toys away when you are done playing. If they are left out, your kitten will continue playing with them until they become boring and then they will ignore them.
- Don’t let kittens play with your hands. They can associate your hands with toys which will encourage biting and scratching of hands in the future.
- Discard any toys which are cracked or broken just in case there are any small parts which can fall out and be swallowed.