Achieving Satisfying Playtime in Multi-Cat Households
For felines that live exclusively indoors, playtime provides the purrfect opportunity for them to workout and fine-tune their predatory prowess. The act of play is vitally important to a cat’s mental and physical development and well-being, and most cats typically engage in eight to ten ‘hunting expeditions’ a day to satisfy their natural instincts and curb boredom.
- Keeps your cat active and prevents obesity.
- Redirects a cat’s natural hunting instincts into satisfying play.
- Relieves stress, boredom and curbs depression.
- Fosters stronger bonding between human and cat (and between cats in the same household).
For the uninitiated, however, the concept of playtime goes beyond just giving your cats a box of toys and expecting them to play on their own. Despite their reputation as low-maintenance pets, cats thrive on human attention and benefit greatly from interactive play. As such, owners are recommended to schedule playtime at least once or twice daily (10-15 minutes per session).
But what happens when you have more than one cat in the household? Can they all play together, or would you need to set aside multiple play sessions?
The truth is, cats are solitary hunters by nature and don’t usually work together to stalk their prey. As such, asking your cats to compete for toys is a foreign concept that may sometimes cause intimidation and tension in a group play setting.
Interactive play is all about providing pleasure and confidence to your little ones - not stress - and it is important that all your cats are given equal opportunities to indulge in exclusive play sessions with you.
However, that is not to say that group sessions are impossible - especially for tired paw-rents who just got back from work and barely have time for a late-night shower. In fact, here are some ways you can promote healthy group-play:
- Plan sessions around “cliques” and cats with similar energy levels.
- Provide each cat with equal attention and ensure they receive their fair share of action.
- Scatter throw toys in different directions to avoid direct competition.
- Give preference to kitties that don’t have a play buddy.
- Never force your “loner” cats to join these group parties.
- For households with attention-seeking kitties, be sure to always notice the others first (i.e. shy kitties who are holding back from playing).
As a whole, cats are more likely to indulge in social play with one another when the environment is conducive for them to do so safely, and you can foster this environment with simple things like cardboard boxes (for them to hide), and furniture set at different heights (to help them establish their positions in the social hierarchy).
As cats are naturally attracted to novelty and get bored quickly, cat paw-rents are encouraged to switch around and avoid using the same toys over and over again. Planning another shopping spree to update your cats’ play closet? Check out these interactive toys that might just add that sparkle of excitement to group playtime.
Pop N Play Interactive Cat Toy (shop here)
Familiar with the concept of ‘peek-a-boo’? Pop N Play is a unique, dome-shaped toy with a 360° design that can be enjoyed by multiple cats at once - perfect for multi-cat homes.
Designed to appeal to your cats’ hunter instincts, this toy comes with two interchangeable “prey” (mouse/feather) that plays an erratic game of hide-and-seek, and mimics a chirping sound just like real prey to lure your little ones out to play.
Yo-Yo Lifting Cat Toy (shop here)
The battery-operated Yo-Yo is designed to provide satisfying playtime to your cats all-day long. With its gorgeous aesthetics, you can clip it anywhere and turn even the most boring areas in your home into kitty playground.
The automated toy triggers approximately five minutes of play per session, and teases your cats with unpredictable, up-and-down bouncing motions. In other words, it’s the purrfect way to keep your other cats entertained while you host a separate group play session.
Catit 2.0 Senses Super Circuit (shop here)
Supersize your cats’ playtime with the ultra-customisable Super Circuit. For the creative mind, this toy can be reassembled into different layouts to maximise the fun for all parties. Surprise your little ones with a new set-up every couple of days to keep the game fresh and exciting. The special peek-a-boo cover stimulates your cats to chase and swat at the ball, and this can quickly turn into hours of entertainment.
With that said, happy playing! ;D