Planning the Perfect Cat Play Date
Check out these great tips for helping your
cat make friends and play nice.
If you've ever owned a cat, you know that no matter how shy she may seem, a cat will let you know when she wants to eat, play, or be left alone. Despite their famous independent streak, cats traditionally come from a colony setting, and can be quite happy living with other cats or pets.
This may be a source of concern for single-cat households, which may feel like a cat play date might be right for their kitty. With that in mind, we offer the benefits of play dates for your cat, as well as some tips on how to make them successful.
Cats Deserve BFFs, Too
Many cats (especially indoor ones) run the risk of not getting enough exercise, which can result in obesity. A playdate offers the chance for your cat to release a lot of pent-up energy that can come from being inside all day. It's also a beneficial way for your cat to learn socialization and get joy from interacting and playing with other cats.
If you decide a playdate is something your cat would enjoy, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. One vital key is age: Younger cats tend to be more open to new patterns and socialization experiences, but every cat is different. Introducing your cat to a cat playdate during the kitten stage (7 to 12 weeks), might be a good idea since this is the crucial stage where they begin to learn their lifelong habits. Once adults, some cats tend be set in their social ways and may decide they don't really want to make friends.
Cat Enrichment and Entertainment TipsDownload Transcript
This leads to the second consideration: your cat's temperament. Think about your cat's personality: Is she aggressive? Timid? Passive? Or energetic? The answer is key when trying to find the right match for your cat's play date. If your cat is more of the active or boisterous type, you may want to think twice about pairing her up with another kitty. After all, you want it to be fun, not a showdown.
Since cats can be territorial, choose a neutral area for the introduction, preferably somewhere that's new to both cats. If you still want it to take place in your home, choose a room your cat is not attached to. Once the location is decided, you're ready to begin. Just remember to be patient!
When introducing your cat to her new play date partner, treat the situation as you would when introducing a new pet into the household. Allow the cats to see each other but remain separated (use something like a screen door or childproof gate), allowing them to become familiar with one another's presence.
Depending on your cat, it might take some time, but when they get used to each other and are comfortable, you can remove the barrier and let the play come naturally. It may take days or even more, but when your cat makes friends with another cat, it likely will be a friendship that promises happy memories for many years to come.