Hug Your Cat Day!

in Cat

In Alexandria, "Hug Your Cat Day" will be celebrated on May 24, 2011! This is a day to give extra love and attention to your cat, to snuggle a little longer and play a little more. Regular playtime is important for cats of all ages, especially senior cat, and is better than just giving your cat toys to amuse him—you can make the toys come to life! There are some great pet stores in Alexandria that carry unique toys just for cats! Also, if you have to put in long hours at work, ask your pet sitter to show your cat some extra love on this day!


Here are some tips for playtime with your favorite feline:


Why play:  Have FUN!

Interactive play is fun for both you and your cat—it helps strengthen the human-feline bond while keeping your cat healthy. Regular play sessions can help your cat relieve stress, release negative energy, and work out aggression in a positive way. If you don't have time, ask your pet sitter to encourage playtime while you're away.



What to play:  Simulate the "Hunt"

Purchase toys such as a wand or catnip mouse, or use wads of paper or yarn from home. Mimic your cat's natural hunting behavior by making the toy act like a mouse or a bird. Use the wand to mimic bird flight, letting the "bird" land for the cat to try and catch it. Or move a toy on the floor in quick, jerky movements like a frightened critter; make the toy "run," "hide," and "freeze."


Allow your cat to pounce and catch the toy. He needs to bat it around for awhile before you jerk the toy away for him to chase some more. Also, consider using boxes as tunnels and hiding places for both your cat and the "mouse."


How to end the "hunt:" Time for Treats

End each play session by letting your cat capture the toy. About five minutes after the "capture," feed your cat some canned cat food. This mimics the end of a real hunt, with the cat eating his prey. Also similar to real hunting behavior, your cat will probably take a long nap after an active play session.


What if my cat won't play?  Try Again…

Unlike dogs (which seem always ready to play), cats sometimes aren't interested in playtime. Try different actions or different toys to see if that catches his attention. Try playing with dim lights in the room since cats in the wild prefer to hunt at dusk or at night. Pay attention to your cat and get to know certain behaviors that show he is ready to play. Also, give your pet sitter a chance to learn these behaviors so they know how to care for your cat while you're gone. Finally, if nothing seems to work, give up for now. Take comfort in the idea that your efforts are probably entertaining enough!


Warnings for playtimes:  Toys to avoid… 

It is okay to use items such as string, yarn, and crinkly plastic bags during interactive play time but make sure these items are only available for your cat or kitten during supervised play. If eaten, items of this sort cause major digestive problems, requiring vet intervention.


Finally, if you don't have a cat, this is a great time to look for one at your local shelter. There are many local shelters in Alexandria with an abundance of cats and kittens in desperate need of foster parents or permanent homes!


So, all you cat lovers remember: Hug Your Cat Day is May 24th.  It's the best excuse to give your cat some extra grooming, cuddling, and playtime!





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Becky O'Neil has 1 articles online

Becky O'Neil is a pet expert and owner of Becky's Pet Care a professional dog walker and pet sitter service provider in the Alexandria, VA area.

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This article was published on 2011/05/12