Playtime is very beneficial for a kitten. She uses her natural hunting instincts, it's good exercise and provides a great opportunity for you to bond with her. Whether you use toys designed with Kitty in mind or items you have on hand, playtime is good for her mind and body.
Games to Play
There are many games you can play with Kitty -- often all you need is a bit of imagination and space. If you have an area with about 10 square feet of floor space, you can play hockey with her. Fashion a hockey puck out of crumpled foil or paper and flick it across the floor. If she's feeling frisky, she'll chase it across the room, batting it around. Using the bathtub for play while she's still a small kitten can be fun. Remove any bottles and bars of soap and roll a ping pong ball in the tub, encouraging her to chase it. Bubble games that children love to play are also appealing to cats of all ages; a simple bottle of bubble solution will please Kitty and she'll enjoy trying to catch the floating bubbles you blow for her.
Toys for Kittens
Toys serve two purposes for kittens: they help develop Kitty’s mind and allow her to have a lot of fun in the process. As a bonus, you also get to enjoy her antics when you watch her play. There’s a myriad of cat toys on the market designed to help her stimulate her intellect and different senses, and some are even designed to appeal to kittens. There are a few things to think about when you choose toys for Kitty. For example, many people consider string to be an appropriate toy for a kitten, however string and other long objects can be quite dangerous for her. Many kittens enjoy chewing on yarn and ribbon, which can become caught in her intestines and make for a life-threatening situation. Mice with plastic eyes and noses can be hazardous if Kitty chews them off and swallows them. Introduce small plush toys that she can pretend is prey she’s captured. She may also like a larger stuffed toy that she can pretend to fight with. Stuffed toys should contain non-dangerous fillings instead of polystyrene beans or other small objects she can swallow. Paper bags are fun, but don’t leave them lying about when she’s not playing: Kitty is still small, after all, and you don’t want her accidentally stepped on if she’s tucked away in the bag. Avoid plastic bags, as kittens tend to chew and swallow the plastic. Balls are always a popular choice, but make sure they aren’t so small that she can inhale or swallow them. Ping pong balls are an ideal size and weight for kittens.
Although not all cats are attracted to catnip, many find this harmless herb to be very stimulating. As a rule, kittens don't tend to respond to catnip during the first six months of their lives, so you may want to wait a bit before tempting her with it. When you do decide to give her a whiff of catnip, it's very easy to introduce it into Kitty's play. You can sprinkle it on newspaper, a cardboard box or in a paper bag to entice her to play. An old sock is also a great way to hold a bit of catnip, and cats will often entertain themselves tossing, chasing and licking their catnip "pet." Catnip is safe for cats to ingest, but it does make them excited, so be careful about petting or rubbing Kitty after catnip play. It's often best to wait until she's calmed down from her play before you interact with her.
The most important thing to keep in mind when you're playing with Kitty is to play safe -- for both of you. For her, make sure you play at her pace and figure out which games she prefers. Her instinct will be to use her teeth and claws when she plays, but don't encourage her to bite your fingers or hands while you play. It may be cute when she's a kitten, but it can be painful and dangerous after she's matured into an adult cat. If you think Kitty's getting overexcited at playtime, take a break and let her rest; you can start playing again after she's calmed down. The ASPCA recommends not using a laser pointer for play because it can frustrate cats; instead, try something Kitty can actually catch and bite. If you try playing with her at different times of day, you'll learn when she's most receptive to play. Whenever you play, make sure it's in a safe place where she won't hurt herself by running into furniture or falling down stairs. Don't ever use sharp objects or small items, such as rubber bands, that she can swallow or hurt herself with.
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