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Playing games

Contrary to popular belief, many adult cats are indeed playful creatures. Play equals exercise and stimulation, and for cats, the best games are the ones where you are involved.

Chasing balls and wind-up mice are great entertainment, as is dangling a plastic toy from a string. Hide and seek can also be fun. You can also hide a treat and send your pet on a "search and eat" mission. These are games that are interactive, you're not only providing pleasure for your pet, but you're strengthening the connection you share.

Always check that the toy is safe, and there are no small parts your pet might be able to remove and swallow. String and balls of wool are not safe toys – the thread can be swallowed and get tangled in the intestines. Boxes and paper shopping bags (avoid plastic) are safe and fun for cats to poke in and out of.

Cats also respond to television images, and cat lovers have been amused and fascinated watching their feline paw at two-dimensional fish. Enterprising companies are now producing videos specifically designed for cats, with scenes of fish, birds or unsuspecting squirrels to keep your companion glued to the screen.

Most of all – even more than TV – your cat will enjoy being part of your daily life – let your cat accompany you while doing the housework or gardening, and talk to your pet while you're working. Your cat loves the sound of your voice, and the attention that goes with it.

One area that's often overlooked in cats is training. Almost all cats are litter-trained, but for most, the training stops there. Cats can be taught to sit, come, wave and other feats – all it requires is a bit of practice and patience … and a lot of treats. Make the training a game for your cat.

When looking for feline fun, let your imagination – and your cat – guide you.
Annette Basile

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