Playtime! How to Interact with Your Cat
How Cats Play
By 4 weeks of age, kittens practice four basic techniques: play fighting, mouse pounce, bird swat, and fish scoop. The first play displayed by kittens is on the back, belly-up, with paws waving. Feints at the back of a sibling's neck mimic the prey-bite used to dispatch mice (toy or real). Kittens also practice the simpering sideways shuffle, back arched high, almost tiptoeing around other kittens or objects. Soon, the eye-paw coordination improves to execute the pounce, the boxer stance, chase and pursuit, horizontal leaps, and the face-off where kittens bat each other about the head. These skills falls into the following play cat-egories:
Social play refers to games with others. That can be wrestling with littermates, playing tag with other pets, or ambushing the ankles of a favorite human. Social play reaches its peak in kittens aged 9 weeks to 16 weeks, and decreases thereafter. Adopt two kittens together to avoid becoming a target of kitten play aggression.
Object play is interaction with toys--and for a kitten, everything is potentially a toy. Chasing, pawing, clawing and capturing are the names of the games. Movement and sound stimulates play behavior, so choose lightweight, easy-to-bat-around toys that make interesting noise. Try a ping-pong ball in an empty tub. That helps prevent " gravity experiments" when cats push breakables off high shelves to see what happens.