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Playing With An Older Cat
November 15, 2022

Do you have a furry, meowing senior on your hands? Kitties are adorable as babies, but they somehow manage to get even cuter over time. As Fluffy ages, she’ll naturally slow down, and will become more interested in napping than in batting her favorite catnip toys around. However, your furball will still enjoy and benefit from regular play sessions. A Bellaire, TX vet offers some tips on playing with a senior cat in this article.

Do It Daily

Just like people, cats sometimes experience cognitive decline in their golden years. Playing can actually help keep your feline pal’s mind healthy as she grows older. That mental stimulation is very important for senior pets. Think of it as a kitty version of reading or solving a puzzle.

Choose Interactive Toys

Playing is always more fun with friends! Try to play with Fluffy daily. Use playthings that you can control, such as laser pointers or wand toys. This will make playtime both more fun and more challenging for Fluffy, as she won’t be able to anticipate her ‘prey’s’ next move.

Less May Be More

Your furry bff may tap out after just a few pounces. That’s purrfectly fine! You may want to try to play with Fluffy a few times a day, especially if the sessions only last a minute or two each time.

Don’t Worry About Overdoing It

With older dogs, we need to be careful not to push them too hard. Fido will drive himself to the point of exhaustion to please his humans. This isn’t really an issue with Fluffy, however, as she really doesn’t really care what we think. As soon as your feline friend decides she’s tired, she’ll just stop playing and go take yet another nap.

Choose Appropriate Spots

Even though you don’t need to worry about Fluffy exhausting herself, you do need to keep her age in mind. Don’t play on beds or couches your feline buddy could possibly fall off. It’s best to avoid areas near stairs, fireplaces, or other potential hazards as well. While keeping playtime safe, it’s also helpful to understand what might irritate Fluffy; read more about common irritants in ‘Fluffy’s Pet Peeves.’

Have Fun With It!

Don’t think of kitty playtime as a chore. Cats are at their cutest when they are feeling silly! This will be good for you as well. Enjoy this special time with your furry buddy.

Our Advice on Playing With An Older Cat in 2024

Why is regular play important for senior cats?

Regular play is crucial for senior cats as it provides physical and mental stimulation, helping maintain muscle tone, agility, and cognitive health. As cats age, they become more prone to weight gain and arthritis, making gentle, regular activity essential to manage these issues. Additionally, playing can prevent cognitive decline by keeping their minds active and alert. It also enriches their daily lives, offering an emotional boost and strengthening the bond between pet and owner. Tailoring play to accommodate a senior cat’s pace and interest ensures they continue to enjoy this beneficial activity safely.

What types of toys are recommended for playing with an older cat?

For older cats, toys that stimulate their natural hunting instincts without requiring excessive physical exertion are recommended. Interactive toys, such as laser pointers and wand toys with feathers or fabric, can encourage gentle stalking and pouncing behaviors. Puzzle feeders that dispense treats can also engage their minds, promoting cognitive health. Soft balls or plush toys are ideal for gentle batting and carrying. It’s important to choose toys that match the senior cat’s energy level and physical capabilities, ensuring playtime is enjoyable and safe for their stage of life.

How often should you play with your senior cat?

Engaging your senior cat in play sessions daily benefits their health and well-being. Due to their older age, these cats may have shorter attention spans or lower energy levels, so tailoring the frequency and duration of play to their individual needs is recommended. Short, multiple play sessions throughout the day, lasting a few minutes each, can help maintain their physical and mental agility without overexertion. Observing your cat’s response and adjusting playtime ensures they remain active and stimulated comfortably.

What precautions should be taken when choosing play locations for an older cat?

When choosing play locations for an older cat, safety and accessibility are paramount. Opt for stable surfaces to prevent falls and avoid areas near stairs, sharp objects, or potential hazards. Selecting a quiet, familiar environment to reduce stress and ensure comfort is best. Also, consider the cat’s mobility and health status; avoid high furniture or challenging obstacles that could lead to injury. Keeping play sessions on the ground or in secured, safe areas helps protect your senior cat from accidents, making playtime enjoyable and safe for their golden years.

How can playing with a senior cat be enjoyable for pet owners?

Playing with a senior cat offers pet owners a unique opportunity to deepen their bond and enjoy their cat’s personality in a relaxed, joyful setting. Witnessing an older cat’s youthful spirit and playful antics can be heartwarming and provide a sense of fulfillment. It’s a chance to engage creatively, adapting the play to suit their aging pet’s pace, which can spark innovation and amusement. Additionally, seeing the positive effects of the game on their cat’s health and happiness can be incredibly rewarding, reinforcing the special connection between pet and owner.

Do you have questions about senior cat care? Along with regular play, ensuring your senior cat’s health through veterinary wellness and vaccinations is crucial; learn more about our ‘Veterinary Wellness & Pet Vaccinations‘ services to keep your pet thriving. Contact us, your local Bellaire, TX animal clinic, today!