Cats, like all pets, can be pretty complex, having different personalities, likes, and needs. Playstyles are no different; they vary between each cat dependent on their preferred hunting styles. Knowing your cat’s preferred playstyle can help with enrichment and with weight management. Some cats seem to have little motivation to play and prefer to be couch potatoes, but it is highly possible that you just haven’t found their preferred playstyle! The following are some different types of play, and toys that you can use to entice that play or test out to see if that is your cats preferred play method.
Birding (air-based hunting)
Cats with this playstyle tend to be quick to chase and jump around, trying to catch the prey item in their front paws. An easy way to test if you cat enjoys this playstyle is with a shoelace, lanyard, or any dangly items you can easily wave around. If you cat responds well to this option, they would be well suited to have wand-style toys like feather wands, “fishing” toys, and door hangers.
Stalk and Pounce (ground-based hunting)
A cat who prefers ground-based hunting is likely to stalk their prey and quickly pounce to attack when within range. While they will at times jump to catch prey, it’s typically to finalize the catch after they pounce. This is an easy one to test by using your hands or other on-hand objects to simulate prey movement on the ground. Great toys for this preferred playstyle include laser pointers, small stuffed toys, or motorized toys.
Hide and Seek (ambush-style hunting)
If your cat enjoys spending time in dark enclosed cardboard boxes or cat tunnels, or hiding in the back of the closet and popping out when you walk by, then it’s very likely your cat enjoys ambush hunting. These cats will typically utilize hiding spots and burst out towards their prey item. For this style of play, you can use previously mentioned toys as the prey object, with the inclusion of a cat tunnel or any other objects your cat can hide in and easily burst out of when the time to strike is right!
Have you ever noticed your cat likes to take their prey item and hold it close to their chest while kicking it with their back feet? This is a preferred playstyle with many well-suited toys. While your cat will use pretty much any toy offered with this play style, larger or longer stuffed toys like Kong Kickeroos or Cozy Catnip Pillows work great!
Cats have all different kinds of playstyles, and some prefer certain styles more than others. Dedicating time to play with your cat daily can be a great bonding experience that’s enriching and assistive in weight management. It’s also good to have toys your cat will want to play with on their own too; this will help alleviate boredom and keep them stimulated when you aren’t available. Next time you play with your cat, keep an eye on their body language to learn what they prefer—this will help you get to know your cat better and can make play time that much more rewarding.