You’re reading a book or watching television when all of a sudden, your cat pops up from her slumber zooms around the house. She’s all over your furniture, banging into things, freaking the dog out, and then she suddenly stops and goes back to sleep. Sounds familiar? Don’t worry; your cat is perfectly normal. She’s just expending some of her energy.
Cats in the wild can take up to 40 hunting trips a day in search of food. Our cats usually only go as far as to saunter up to the feeding bowl, are also much more sedate, and spend a lot of time lounging around. The zoomies, as some people call them, are times when all that pent-up energy is released. You can help your cat better use up that energy with interactive play time.
Fishing rods with toys attached to the end of a string are excellent ways to satisfy the instinctual hunter. Move the toy around like prey always moving the toy away from your cat. In the wild, no prey species will walk up to a predator and announce, “here I am.”
When you’re playing this game with your cat, be sure to let your cat catch the toy and “kill” it. This gives your cat the satisfaction of the kill and the play time will release endorphins in your cat. You will also enjoy this time, and it will help you develop your relationship with your cat. The best time of day to play is at dawn and dusk because that’s when their prey is most active. It’s instinctual, and that’s why your cat will come flying around your face at 5:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. To prevent crazy time at inconvenient hours, try to get some play time before bed to help your cat feel satisfied.