Hi everybody! Molly from Cat Behavior Solutions with your Bonding Tip of the Week! This week’s bonding tip is: prey play with your cat often.
What is prey play? It’s when you simulate a cat’s natural hunting cycles through play. You know those toys that dangle at the end of a stick, with maybe a feather or a toy mouse at the end of it? That’s the prey! And that’s where you want to start.
Why do we prey play? Outside, a cat normally spends six hours a day hunting. These hours consist of the cat staring, stalking, chasing, pouncing, and killing the prey. When we keep them inside, they get a lot of pent-up energy because those six hours of hunting are no longer happening. So, we turn to prey play.
Now, what do you have to do? You have to be the prey—or, at least, the toy does. That means acting like the prey does. Your cat can’t stand it when the toy goes out of sight, so that’s the biggest key: make that prey disappear out of sight so your cat will chase it. Then, when your cat catches it, make the prey seem wounded. Jiggle the toy around a little bit so your cat feels like it’s struggling to get away. Most of all, let your cat win, so they get that all-important serotonin boost in their brain.
Some prey play Don’ts: don’t use your fingers, especially with a kitten. It might seem
Why do only 20 min a day satisfy when they’re wired for 6 hours a day?
Engaging in prey play is not only mentally stimulating, but good physical exercise for your cats too. And you don’t have to prey play a lot. Do it twice a day for ten-minute sessions, and it’ll help the two of you bond better.
So have fun prey playing—it’s a really good thing to give your kids to do with the cat. Until next time, keep calm and purr on.
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