Social, Solo and More: The Different Ways Cats Can Play

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Does your cat like to play? When it comes to playing, each cat has an individual style as well as certain likes and dislikes. Some cats prefer a certain type of toy. Other cats are always ready to play. Learning about how your cat has fun is an important part of bonding with them.

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Once you know your cat's play style you can incorporate more opportunities for fun into your cat's daily routines.

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Some cats prefer solo playtime

Solo play is an important part of life for most cats. Many cats, (especially kittens) are very talented at finding ways to entertain themselves. This can be with cat toys or other items that they find around the house. Solo play is a great way for cats to entertain themselves while their people are at work or at night when they are sleeping.

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Some cats prefer solo play part of the time, Others prefer solo play only. Cats that prefer solo play only may stop playing if you try to get involved — and feel like you've ruined the game for them.

Social play is a great way for cats to connect

Social play refers to games and interactions of cats who play with their owners, other cats, or other animals in their homes. Cats who enjoy social play may seek out or initiate interactive play with others around them. These cats are extroverted players, and they become enthusiastic and engaged in play — when other animals or people engage with them. Encouraging play with a cat who enjoys social playing is a great way to bond and connect with them.

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Use cat toys to encourage playing

Cat toys are a great way to encourage your cat to engage in solo and social play. They can be especially helpful until you know what kind of toys your cat likes. Therefore, it's best to have a variety of toys available to see which ones your cat is attracted to. Try toys that encourage your cat to engage in active play and also channel their hunting instincts. The best toys for your cat will be the ones that your cat likes best.

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Explore different cat play styles

There are many activities and games that different cats enjoy. Cats are individuals, so it may take some trial and error to figure out which styles of play your cat likes the best. To get a sense of this, try out different toys and watch their energy levels to see what your cat finds the most engaging. For example, some cats like it when their people get hyped up and excited while playing. For other cats, that's overwhelming and they prefer a quieter playing style. Cats are individuals and they all have unique playing styles. Respect your cat's individual play styles. Here are some different play styles to explore with your cat:

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Encourage your cat's natural pouncing instincts

Cat toys are a great way to stimulate your cat's pouncing tendencies. Many cats will pounce on toys on their own during solo play. To encourage pouncing, gently toss or roll your cat's toys. Some cats retrieve or fetch the toys for you to throw them again!

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When playing with your cat avoid using any kind of laser pointers — these can be stressful and frustrating to cats.

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Get your cat moving with chase games

Does your cat like to follow everything that's moving? Then, chase games are a fun way to get your cat up and moving as well. For example, Wand-style toys are a stick with a string and feather (or other toys) at the end. You can move the toy around to encourage your cat to chase the toy. For some cats, chasing is a game they prefer to play with other animals or people. If your cat is chasing other pets, make sure that it's mutually enjoyable to all animals — and that nobody is being bullied.

Channel your cat's natural play style through fishing games

Fishing is a natural play style for many cats. You can channel this style by dropping some cat toys into bowls of water for them to then fish out. For a less messy game, you can also put the toys into cardboard boxes or paper bags for your cat to fish them out from.

Introduce puzzles into your cat's solo play

Some cats are feline geniuses and enjoy games that work their brains as they play. For these cats, introducing puzzles into their solo play routines can be helpful. You can purchase a variety of brain-type games and puzzles specifically made for cats. These puzzles are made for putting cat toys or treats inside. For an added challenge, try to get a few different puzzles and rotate which ones your cat has access to. In addition, puzzles that are sold for small dogs can also work for cats.

Give catnip toys to your cat during their playtime

Many adult cats enjoy playing with toys infused with catnip. For some cats, catnip-filled toys can encourage more active and exuberant play from them. On the other hand, other cats prefer to roll around with the catnip and then nap. Then there are other cats that have no reaction at all to catnip. It can be fun to introduce catnip toys into your cat's toy collection and see how they impact your cat's play styles.

Follow your cat’s lead during their playtime

When exploring the types of play your cat enjoys, it's important to follow their lead in the process. While playing, observe your cat's body language and mannerisms. The goal of play should always be for your cat to have fun and enjoy the experience. If at any time your cat seems stressed while playing or how you're engaging with them, stop the playtime. Or shift to a play style that your cat is more comfortable with instead.

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In summary

Cats enjoy playing, but not all cats play in the same way! Some cats prefer to play solo, while others like to play with other people or animals in their families. When playing with your cat, try out different toys and play styles to see what they like the best. Give your cat lots of options to engage in social or solo play. When playing always make sure your cat is having fun and not stressed.

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