Play is instrumental for our pets' overall health and physical wellbeing. Many cat lovers play with their feline friends but may not realize there are positive and negative ways to engage cats in play. Cat owners are always looking for new ways to engage with their cats, and while their intentions may be good, some social media trends encourage interactions that cause stress in cats.
To strengthen the bonds between owners and their cats, popular cat food and treat brand, Friskies, introduced the new Friskies Playfuls–unique, round-shaped treats designed to roll and inspire play in felines. With the new treat, owners can toss, roll and treat to provide an unexpected and exciting new way to engage your cat in the treating experience, without compromising the same mouthwatering taste they love.
"Playing with pets can help build trust, support their physical and mental health and improve their obedience and training, but playing has other powerful effects," says Purina Animal Enrichment Specialist Alex Johnson. "It can also lower pets' cortisol levels, influence their brain development and help them gather information to understand boundaries and different ways of communicating with their owners."
Johnson has additional insights that can help ensure you're engaging in positive play to keep cats physically and mentally stimulated:
DON'T betray your cat's trust: Cats are predators, but they are also prey animals. Their relationships are built around trust, which is important for their sense of safety and stability. Some social media trends prompt cat owners to seek reactions from cats as a means for entertainment, but this could be damaging to the bond cats have with their owners. A great test to check if you're crossing a line is to ask yourself, "Would I do this to a child or a baby?" An adult who plays pranks, deliberately annoys, hurts or frightens a child can cause confusion, stress and feelings of betrayal, and the same concept applies to cats.
DO provide mental stimulation: If you find that your cat becomes bored of certain toys, rotate the toys or introduce new activities for playtime to ensure they're staying engaged. Combining activities and toys with rewards like treats are a great way to bond with your cat while keeping them engaged and mentally stimulated.
· Copycat: Mirror your cat's actions like you would in a game of Simon Says and bat Friskies Playfuls with them like you're playing catch. This not only fuels interactive play but creates new ways to connect and understand your cat since you're seeing things from their perspective.
· Obstacle Fetch: Set up a few items (e.g., scrunched up paper, paper bags, boxes, plastic bags) and toss the treat among the items to encourage them to seek out the treat. This activity will leverage cats' hunting skills and encourage mental stimulation by providing visual and physical obstacles that they must maneuver around to get to a reward.
Friskies Playfuls are treats for adult cats and are available in flavors such as "With Real Chicken & Liver" and "With Real Salmon & Shrimp." Friskies Playfuls come in 2.1 and 6 oz. packages and are available at retailers nationwide.
For more information on Friskies Playfuls, visit www.Purina.com/friskies/cat-treats