How to Play With Your Cat: Maximize Your Bond While Improving His Health and Well-Being, suggests specific reasons for cat play, including:
Practice hunting skills
Maintain healthy weight
Release of aggression or negative energy
Strengthens owner/pet bond
Eases transition to a new home
Do you talk with your veterinarian during visits about ways to help your cat keep moving around your home or yard? If yes, give yourself a fish-flavored treat. If no, well, add talking with your doctor to your "priority list."
Your doctor will help you create a home program to ensure exercise and activity that will interest your cat. Your cat will be entertained and the bond between you will deepen.
Keeping your cat active can help it burn calories and use muscles, tendons and ligaments that may often be seen catnapping. Burning calories is important for your cat. The more your cat moves and exercises, the more calories it will expend during the activity. Exercise will help to off-set the naps taken in your favorite chair and help to prevent obesity.
Exercise methods your doctor recommends will depend on your cat's current level of activity, health, age and medical condition. Indoor cats probably need more encouragement and support with exercise. You'll want to consider several methods to get your cat moving and grooving. Then, you'll want to shake up the sequence when you play.
Pet Weight Loss by veterinarian Jan Becker discusses pet exercise for owners of cats and dogs. "Cats on the other hand can be a bit harder to exercise," says Dr. Becker. Get your cats moving with cold laser lights flashed onto objects to interest them - but not in their eyes. Wiggle stuffed animals, move them sneakily to get your cat's interest and increase the attraction of pouncing, sneaking, hiding or batting at the soft toy.
Rope, shoelaces, yarn and ribbon - Cats typically love to play with long stringy items like yarn and ribbon, but Dr. Becker warns owners to beware of these. Owners must be vigilant of linear products or toys and use these only with supervision. The string can easily get caught or tangled with your cat's tongue inducing them to swallow it. Unfortunately, when this happens it can be "very serious or even fatal, if surgery is not performed to remove the object.
Flashlights - Everyone in your home has a flashlight for emergency use. Make sure your cat has one too. When playtime approaches, pick up your cat's flashlight, ruffle its coat and scratch its tummy. Move your arm behind you when the cat's awake and shine the flashlight beam two feet away from it. Your cat will see the light and want to pounce on it. As your cat moves toward the light, gently shift the light from place to place.
Bags - Paper grocery bags and gift bags make crinkly sounds that consistently get cats' attention.
Boxes - If your cat has a particular box it enjoys, encourage playtime with a small ball to bat from corner to corner of the box.
Straws - Tying a drinking straw into a knot and dropping it in your cat's line of view can start playtime. Your cat will bat it from place to place, sliding, stretching, rolling and tumbling on floor or bed.
Socks - Add a bit of catnip, a bell or small ball to a spare sock. Secure tightly and swing or drag gently so your cat will follow. "Catnip will often get a cat running around," says Dr. Becker. Not all cats are affected by catnip, but for those that are, keep in mind that catnip must be used in moderation. For cats, the nip is a stimulant that may cause digestive upsets."
Bottle caps - These caps are typically received on five-gallon water bottles that arrive at your doorstep by delivery. The caps are larger, a firmer plastic and often times have the plastic neck still attached when you remove them to up-end your water into the household dispenser. Your cat will enjoy batting the cap around a smooth surface.
Walk on leash - Cats can be walked on leash and will probably "walk you" advises Dr. Becker.
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I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.
Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.
If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!
LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.
My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.
I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.
Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.
★★★★★ 5 of 5
Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...
★★★★★ 5 of 5
I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.
The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
San Francisco, CA
The staff is so kind and helpful but most importantly the vets there are super nice. Big shout out especially to Dr. Ravn, one of the most compassionate persons I've ever met. I was distraught recently because my elderly kitty was really sick, Dr. Ravn squeezed me into her busy schedule, hugged me and took care of my kitty right away. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. She's always so patient and spends time to explain what her thoughts are and works with you on a plan of action. She always personally follows up and give me additional insights and recommendations. I rarely met a vet so dedicated to both patients and their owners.
Flo A (12/7/2017)
They are professional and dedicated to take care of the pets. It is my our first time have pet dog and they are actually helpful guiding us to have a healthy baby dog. Thanks for the staff for being friendly and approachable. Keep loving your work and people will most likely to appreciate you.
Dyan M. (11/22/2017)
Family has been coming to Balboa since the early 1980's with our
first cat, Rascal, then Kahlua & Tommy, Annie, Tigger & Rocco,
Rosie, Chelsea, and Ruby. Two more kittens (Rose and Shadow)
will be joining too. Wouldn't trust anyone else.
I have been taking cats to Balboa Pet Hospital for more than 30
years. The veterinarians and staff have always taken excellent care
of my cats. They helped me keep the cats healthy and happy &
have always been great when the cats were ill