Want a calmer and happier cat? Try this trainer’s six easy play tips

Playful Siberian cat enjoying playing on sofa with her owner
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you have a feline friend in your family, chances are you're always on the lookout for new ways to give their physical and mental health a boost. 

While feeding your kitty a nutritious diet and making sure they have a comfortable place to sleep are both important, learning how to play with a cat is one of the best things you can do for their overall wellbeing. 

If you notice some of the most common signs your cat isn't getting what it needs to be happy, such as excessive vocalization or scratching the furniture, a lack of stimulation could be to blame. 

Given how busy life is these days, we understand how difficult it can be to find time to play with your cat. However, you might be surprised at what a difference a 15 minute play session twice a day can make when it comes to eliminating challenging behaviors.

With that in mind, Rosie Ellis, a certified trainer and founder of Rosie's Southside Animal Shelter in Indianapolis, has shared a video to TikTok where she reveals her top six play tips for a calm and happy cat. Let's take a look...


♬ Cumbia Buena

1. Choose the right toy: "Some cats will play with anything, others have a preference," Ellis explains. Be sure to provide a variety of wands and automated cat toys that are safe for cats."

2. Mimic prey movements: "Move the toy around to mimic prey behavior as this will help switch the cat into predator mode and draw out hunting behavior," Ellis recommends. "Avoid dangling toys as prey doesn't dangle in front of a cat."

3. Move around: "Allow your cat to stalk, pounce, chase, and attack the toy. Move the toy around at various speeds, but keep in mind your cat's physical health."

4. Avoid teasing: "Avoid standing over your cat and avoid teasing. Standing over your cat may make them feel threatened and teasing your cat can frustrate them and make them not want to play," explains Ellis.

5. Make sounds, but not with your mouth: "Brush a feathered wand on top of a tunnel or a paper bag."

6. Wind down: "Be sure to wind down your play session and end with a catch."

Check out our guide to the best cat toys for a range of great playthings your cat is sure to love and take a look at these signs of a happy cat to see if these new, regular play dates with your feline friend are positively impacting their wellbeing.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.