Category Archives: playing

How to Keep Your Pet Happy and Prevent Bad Behavior

By Linda Cole

Like humans, pets may need to find a way to release stress and pent up energy now and then. A bored pet can be destructive if left to find their own entertainment. Many a couch, window blind, pillow and lamp have fallen prey to a bored dog or cat searching for something fun to do. As responsible pet owners, it’s up to us to find ways to help keep our pet happy…and it’s also one of the best ways to help prevent bad behavior.

Think back to when you were a kid. Remember the conversation that began with “So, what do you wanna do?” followed by “I don’t know.” Periods of boredom follow us into adulthood. Instead of the child’s version of the question, adults are more creative, saying things like “I’m so bored I could kiss a bear” or some other statement that indicates a need for some excitement. Dogs and cats have their own version of that same conversation, except they act out their boredom by chewing on whatever they can find, destroying our furnishings, getting into the trash or attacking the shower curtain. Their need to get rid of pent up energy and deal with being bored is just as real as it is for us.

Pets spend a lot of time home alone, unless you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home. We can leave a pet with toys and interactive games to entertain themselves when they aren’t napping or staring out the window spying on the neighbors, but what they really want is exercise when we get home. Dogs and cats love to run and play with their owner. Even a simple game of keep away is exciting and works off excess energy. It really isn’t difficult to keep a pet happy when you give them plenty of positive attention that includes play. We really do mean everything to our pets, and they don’t ask for much in return. Playing with your pet doesn’t take up a lot of time and it can make the difference between a happy pet and one that’s bored and engaging in bad behavior.

One way to help pets left home alone deal with boredom is to leave some of their favorite CANIDAE treats stashed throughout the home. Searching for treats gives them a chance to use their hunting skills to find where you’ve hidden the goodies and helps them burn off energy.

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Why Pets Need to Play


By Linda Cole

Some form of play is found in all species of mammals. People play card games and video games, they jump out of airplanes just for fun, and engage in a host of other stimulating activities. Dogs and cats need to play for the same reason – it helps to beat boredom!

I have a cat named Pogo who was born with one back leg shorter than the other. Because of this he has a pronounced limp, but you would never know it to watch him play. He began to walk at the same time his siblings did, but instead of walking, he bounced across the floor on his back legs hopping like a kid on a pogo stick. He is now almost 5 years old and still bounces while he plays. No string, ball or cat toy can escape his clutches as he leaps and strikes at the exact right time to capture his prey. All of my cats are expert acrobats and clowns when it comes to play, and I’ve spent hours watching, laughing and playing with them as they learned important skills and life lessons through play. Dogs and cats need to play to keep their minds active and their bodies in good physical shape.

Cats need play in order to hone their skills as hunters, to learn how to socialize with us and other pets in the home, and develop good mental skills. Playing with your dog or cat is one of the best ways to bond with them. They love having their favorite human interacting with them and any moving stimulus will grab a cat’s attention. Even an older cat that has become a couch potato can’t resist something moving.

Dogs need play for many of the same reasons as cats. Puppies learn about social order in the pack by playing with their litter mates. Play gives both dogs and cats confidence and helps them lead happy and stable lives. Like cats, dogs learn important hunting skills through play. As puppies and kittens grow, the lessons they learn from playing teaches them what they need to know as adults.

Even though most dogs no longer need to depend on predatory skills, they are still learned and instilled in a dog’s mind during play. Every time they chase a stick or ball, they are learning how to chase prey. Each leaf or toy that is caught teaches a dog or cat how to pounce and attack. To them, these activities are just plain fun, but the specialized skills they are learning will never leave them. These skills are stalking, patience, sizing up their “prey” and knowing when and how to attack.

Play gives dog and cat owners an insight into their pet’s health. As dogs and cats age, most will continue to play even though it may require some coaxing from us at times. A pet who doesn’t play and doesn’t respond to a stimulus can indicate a health problem that may need to be addressed. It can also tell you if your pet is unhappy or depressed.

Just like kids, dogs and cats need to play to keep them out of trouble and help burn up excess energy. A bored pet can do a lot of damage to a garbage can, recliner or couch cushion. I had a bored cat who took on a couch pillow all by himself one afternoon. Of course he tried to blame the dog, but the dog had been confined in the basement that afternoon, far from the scene of the crime.

Dogs and cats need play to maintain a healthy mind and body. The skills they learn are invaluable as they mature. A puppy or kitten who doesn’t play will still develop normally, but they could be at a disadvantage to others their own age.

A dog will show you they want to play with a “play bow.” They lower the front part of their body to the ground and stretch out their front legs. Their back end is in the air with their tail usually wagging. Cats are always ready to pounce on anything moving and all it takes is a crumpled ball of paper to get them into a game.

Dogs and cats that play together learn how to interact with each other. The best time for puppies to be socialized is around 8 to 16 weeks and kittens between 5 and 12 weeks. Don’t be afraid to romp on the floor with your pet. Playing is fun for them, and for us!

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Lessons I Learned From My Cats

Have you learned any lessons from your cat? As a writer, I am always looking for interesting things to write about. My dogs have taught me many things and as I got to spend part of my Saturday this past weekend outside doing chores, I was able to watch my cats at length. I realized watching them that they have taught me lessons too, if I take the time to see what they are.
When you have a chance to watch cats outside en masse, you can learn many things. While they will sleep with each other, when they are outside they truly are independent and in their element. They hunt and play and race around so fast that you worry that they may run into something because they are going so fast. Yet at the same time, cats are graceful and move with a fluidity that a ballet dancer would admire.
My cats have taught me patience, persistence, love, caring and a selflessness that borders on sainthood. I have learned patience watching a mother cat carry her kittens back to safety after I have shown them where the cat food dish is. The kittens are being weaned and they come downstairs to eat, but the stairs to the attic are a bit steep and just a bit too much for them to handle all at one time yet. So they cry in the kitchen and their mother comes down and carries them back up to the attic where she can hide them away from the toms that though they are altered, still want nothing to do with kittens.
They have taught me patience when I am watching them chase a leaf or feather around the yard outside. One cat will bat their toy of choice; another one will race in and carry it off. Sometimes a third cat will get involved in the chase, but the first cat will seldom give up the chase and go and find another leaf or feather to play with. I have watched them play this game for hours, without getting bored. It seems to me that it would almost be easier to go and get another toy to play with, but they want the one they started with and usually the first cat playing isn’t the one to get bored first.
I have learned love, caring and selflessness from cats with litters, who share the responsibility of raising all the kittens. If a kitten is crying because they need to eat, and their mother is not available, usually another cat will step in and lay down to allow the kitten crying to be able to nurse. I have watched them clean another cat’s kitten, and if the kitten is too small to go to the bathroom on their own yet, the adult queen will clean there too.
I have also learned persistence from several of the cats, which if left outside and they want to be inside will bang on the door with a paw or like Tiger (my most persistent) will actually climb to the level of the door window, hang on the door molding by the toenails of one of his paws and bang on the window with his other paw. I have never actually timed him, because I know someone is outside that wants to come inside, so they get let in. I find the most interesting thing about Tiger is, that no one else does it so no one else taught him, he figured it out on his own. Imagine my surprise the first time I went downstairs to see who was knocking at my door, only to be met by Tiger’s face when I opened it.
Last but surely not least, they have taught me to remember to go out and play every once in a while. We all need to be recharged and it is so easy for the cats to go out and play. If I want playtime for a game of ball with Skye or to watch the cats outside, I have to make sure it gets into my schedule. Thanks to my cats and Skye, I now take the time to do just that, because I have found that even I need a break from the office or my chores every now and then. Even a fifteen minute break watching the cats, can put a smile on my face and we could all use a smile or a chuckle now and then.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.