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Home > Cats > How Long Should I Play With My Cat Every Day? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

How Long Should I Play With My Cat Every Day? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats, although independent, do enjoy spending time with family members, playing, and engaging in interactive communication. Playtime provides cats with a safe form of exercise and brain stimulation that is necessary for their good health and happiness. So, how long should you play with your cat every day for fun and exercise? It’s recommended that playtime should last about 40 minutes a day, broken up into short stints. Four 10-minute sessions are ideal. Let’s dive deeper into this topic.

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Why It’s Important to Play With Your Cat Every Day

Playing with your cat every day is not just a fun activity for both of you to enjoy. There are many benefits for your cat they play and interact with you daily. First, playtime helps a cat get rid of their pent-up energy so that they will be less likely to become destructive inside the house.

Playtime helps cats bond with their human companions, making them more trustful and loyal as time goes on. Paying also helps stimulate the brain so a cat can learn how to effectively problem solve and handle various social situations. Another reason play is so important is that it helps keep cats in shape and minimizes the risk of developing health conditions like obesity and diabetes.

persian cat playing with feather toy
Image By: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

Determining How Much Playtime Your Cat Needs

Most cats benefit from about 40 minutes of playtime with their human companions each day. However, every cat is unique, and the age of your cat will make a difference in how much exercise they personally need. Kittens have excessive amounts of energy and shouldn’t have a problem playing for 40 minutes a day, especially if playtime is split up.

Older cats don’t have as much energy, so they don’t need as much exercise. Start by scheduling four 10-minute sessions of play for a day, and see how your cat does. If they get uninterested, resistant, or refuse to continue playing before the 10 minutes is up, stop playing, and let them do what they want to do. Try again during your next scheduled playtime. You may find that your cat needs just a few 5-minute sessions a day or that they prefer two or three 10-minute sessions.

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Top 5 Fun Ways to Play With Your Cat

There are a variety of things that you can do to engage in fun and safe play with your kitty throughout the day. Sometimes, your cat will let you know how they want to play by batting your arm or chasing you around the house for fun. Other times, you might have to indulge their friskiness by introducing a game to play. Here are a few options to consider:

1. The Laser Game

Turn on a laser pointer, and direct it around the floor to get your cat’s attention. Chances are that they will immediately start to stalk and chase it. Utilize the furniture and the lower parts of the walls as a background for the laser, to create variation during gameplay. Be sure to end the game by aiming the laser at a toy, so your cat has a physical object to “capture.”

cat plays with a laser pointer
Image By: Seika Chujo, Shutterstock

2. Hide-and-Seek

It can be tough to get your cat to follow you or look for you when you’re hiding, but it’s not nearly as tough when you have treats in your hand or pocket. Place your kitty in a bedroom and close the door. Grab a few treats, and hide somewhere behind a shower curtain. Ask a family member to let the cat out so they can come looking for you and those treats.


3. Fetch

Some cats enjoy playing fetch as much as dogs do. Grab a small ball, and just throw it across the room while you have your kitty’s attention. They will likely chase the ball as many times as you throw it. Keep in mind that they probably won’t bring it back, though, so be prepared with several balls, or chase that ball along with your cat! You can also train this behavior.

cat playing fetch
Image By: sophiecat, Shutterstock

4. Practice Tricks

Spend a bit of time practicing tricks with your cat. Teach them to high-five, to meow on command, or to sit and stay for treats. This exercise is all about patience and should be fun, so don’t take it too seriously.


5. Work on a Puzzle Feeder

Play a game at mealtime by filling up a puzzle feeder as your cat works to get the food out. It’s a great way to build a bond and learn how to work together.

Image By: Agata Kowalczyk, Shutterstock

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Things to Avoid When Playing With Your Cat

There are a few things to avoid when playing with your cat so they are not encouraged to do bad or rough behavior. Never allow your cat to scratch and nip at you while you are playing with them. This kind of play can enable them to get carried away and accidentally injure you or someone else they’re trying to play with.

You should also never chase your cat around, as this can cause them to distrust you as time goes on. It can also cause them to run away and hide instead of coming out of their shell to play. Another thing to avoid is overexerting your cat. Signs that they are ready to stop playing include panting, becoming gradually disinterested, and becoming stubborn.

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Conclusion

Every cat should have the opportunity to play with their human companion each day. Fortunately, there are many ways to play with cats that can help enrich their lives and make the most out of our relationships with them. Hopefully, you and your cat will love these playtime ideas!

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Featured Image Credit: winni-design, Shutterstock

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