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Article posted: 12/5/2013 12:35 PM

Make time for playtime with your felines

Spirit, an almost 1-year-old, male is seeking a forever home.

Spirit, an almost 1-year-old, male is seeking a forever home.


Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

 Joy is a beautiful, brown female tabby with green eyes. She is shy at first, but she loves humans.

Joy is a beautiful, brown female tabby with green eyes. She is shy at first, but she loves humans.


Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

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By Mary Hayashi

Our feline friends benefit from structured playtime and a constant need to be entertained. All that destructive behavior that occurs during the holiday season can easily be avoided, or lessened, if you make time to play with your cat on a daily basis.

Structured playtime is important to keep your feline's mind and body active. Felines that are not constantly sleeping are more alert and are more than likely not apt to be overweight. A bored and overweight animal is also much more likely to develop serious health issues, too.


My cure for the feline holiday blues is to establish a routine of play now, before the holiday season runs away for you, too.

Why not buy their holiday toys early so that they can have their fun now and feel like they are included in the family's Christmas, rather than feeling like they are lost in it?

If you encourage play with wispy and feathery wand toys, your feline is more apt to play on their own when you are not around with the toys they can work on their own. Make sure that you always leave out a safe collection of toys that encourage self-play.

This will allow your feline to have an extra fitness workout each day. Also remember to have a secure feline-proof hiding spot for the toys that need your supervision.

Play between multiple-cat households can be encouraged by adding cat trees and furniture of varying heights. Jumping from perch to perch is great fun and exercise for your felines when you are not around. These kinds of items enhance their natural stalking instincts.

Cat beds and furniture with multiple openings also can cause a stir of interest between two or more felines. Try adding a dangling toy to this enclosure and watch them go nuts. This is all safe fun for your cat when you are not home as long as you have removed all the bells, feathers, bows and elastic.

Window perches are a nice element to bring the busy outdoors inside. I just don't mean the activity between the birds, squirrels and rabbits. My felines are amazed by the leaves and the snow blowing past the windows.

If you try hard to encourage extra playtime this season, you might find that you have cut down on the destructive, bored behaviors such as box chewing, paper shredding, toilet paper shredding and just plain clawing up the family sofa.

Remember, I only said you might succeed. A certain measure of success is left to the temperament of your feline.

• The Buddy Foundation is a nonprofit (501c3), all volunteer, no-kill animal shelter dedicated to the welfare of stray, abused and abandoned cats and dogs. The shelter is at 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights. Call (847) 290-5806 or visit

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