We asked a focus group of house cats to comment on one of their favorite issues: playtime. Here’s what they had to purr on the subject. Meow out there!

Regular playtime is part of your commitment to provide us with a stimulating environment. Play gives us mental and physical stimulation, an outlet for energy, and the chance to satisfy our instinctual hunting drive. Let’s face it: when it comes to amusing ourselves, we’re awesome!

We can make toys out of pretty much any household item, from paper bags (with handles removed, please) to those empty cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels. That’s not to say you don’t have to buy us things! Our wish list includes plastic balls, with or without bells inside; sisalwrapped toys, which we can dig our claws into; or “fishing pole” toys with a cool lure at the end.

What about catnip, you may ask. Well here’s the “411” from those who know. A member of the mint family, catnip contains a chemical that attracts a lot of us. When it’s dried and crushed, it gives off an odor that has a powerful effect on some (though not all) cats. The ones that do react usually develop sensitivity to it when they’re about six months old.

Although catnip is safe and non-addictive, some cats we know get over-stimulated to the point of aggressive play, while others just “chill.” So my human parents, you’re responsible for enriching my life. Give me ample opportunities to exercise my superior mind and stealth body – and you’ll be happy, too.

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