While a British Shorthair’s preference for a toy varies from cat to cat, such a breed often opts for interactive toys like a wand toy. A wand toy or cat catcher teaser is a string with a fabric-made mouse attached at the end of it and uses a stick as the handle.
Cats of the said breed find this type of stuff stimulating. It is because cats are innately hunters and often go crazy when they find something that, for them, looks like a “prey.” Hence, their obsession with wand toys.
On the one hand, it is also a good idea to figure out which materials fit your cat’s liking for its toy before introducing one.
Does your cat love to bite? Is it still a kitten or an adult? These questions and the likes should be answered first before choosing what toy to give to your pet.
For a British Shorthair who likes to bite, for instance, cat enthusiasts recommend a string that would not break apart easily. The same rule applies to the stick as well. The length is crucial too apart from that. It should be not too long and not too short either.
On the flip side, there are other products that your British shorthair cat would enjoy too. And these are:
• Cat tunnel. A cat tunnel is an interactive four-feet long toy with a toy ball hanging at each end of the passage. Ideal for fur parents who own multiple cats, it is great for when your cat loves to run and chase around.
• Tower of tracks. It is an interactive toy with a three-level tower and colourful tiny balls spinning on each level. Essentially, the spinning balls entice cats to play. Ideal for households with multiple cats.
• Scratching post. While a scratching mat or post is a basic necessity for a cat, some scratching post is accompanied with fur balls for your pet to play with. It is an excellent deal since it works in two ways: to keep your cat’s nails groomed and keep them active at the same time.
• SmartyKat mice. A SmartyKat mouse is a fabric-made mouse that your cat can play and chase around. Stuffed with chemical-free catnip, it is a perfect interactive toy for prey hunters like cats, particularly for an indoor British Shorthair.
• Bolt interactive laser cat toy. Perfect for independent play, it is a battery-operated laser toy. It is not only a great toy that keeps your pet from being bored while you are away or busy but is also an excellent mental stimulant and source of physical exercise.
How to play with British Shorthair cats?
For an inactive cat like the British Shorthair, a toy to entice and stimulate their interest is the only way to play with them. But do not just toss and wave it around and be confident that your cat would chase it. Instead, treat the toys as if they are your cat’s prey and move it erratically and quickly.
A British Shorthair cat is a type of breed known for being inactive. In fact, as it grows older, its energy or activity level decreases along with its interest to interact with its human companion or another pet cat.
As such, always make playtime stimulating for them. For instance, do not dangle a wand toy in front of your British Shorthair as it is not how their prey in the wild behave. Do not place the toy in one spot all the time as well as it will only bore your cat.
It is also recommended to allot a playtime session for your cat. Give at least one to two sessions every day with a length of about 10 to 20 minutes.
On the other hand, do take note to introduce toys to your pet as early as when it is a kitten. It is because such a breed tends to have a difficult time trying to learn how to play when they are already adults.
The importance of play in a cat’s life
A cat with a sedentary lifestyle such as the British Shorthair often becomes overweight, which most of the time leads to health problems. And, as a fur parent, it is a no-no. It is why playtime—particularly indoor British Shorthair cats—plays a significant role in a cat’s wellbeing; be it physically or emotionally.
One good example is that it is a great way to incorporate exercise into your cat’s daily life. A study shows that indoor and inactive cats tend to be obese or overweight compared to their counterparts. And while watching the amount of food they eat helps, exercise is still the best way to keep your cat healthy.
Playtime nurtures your relationship with your pet as well. And most importantly, it helps them to channel their wild instinct, which is to hunt. After all, a cat is still (partly) a wild animal.
The right toy for your cat
Although it is recommended to choose a toy your cat prefers, the following can help you what toy to choose for your pet:
• Puzzle toys filled with treats.
• Toys made from natural materials like wool and feathers. They mimic cats’ real prey.
• Choose interactive toys that stimulate a cat’s hunting instinct.
How do I know if my cat is happy?
A cheerful British Shorthair cat displays positive behaviour when they are happy such as a good appetite, relaxed posture, and expressive eyes and ears. They also tend to change locations when they sleep or are being playful to you or another pet. They often have a healthy appearance as well and will meow in a high-pitch tone.
That being said, below is a brief explanation of a cat’s behaviour when it is happy.
1. A good appetite. More often than not, a good appetite is a sign that a cat is emotionally well. You will notice that its behaviour towards food is good and, as a result, will frequently ask for meals and treats. Your British Shorthair cat may rub its face against your legs or meow to lead you in its bowl.
It is a positive indication of your cat’s overall wellbeing. However, put in mind that overeating may cause your cat to become overweight. Hence, it is still wise to watch the amount of food your cat eats every day.
2. Social sleeping. While excessive sleeping is typical for a depressed cat, a happy cat tends to change locations. It is a perfect indicator for breeds like the British Shorthair since they are naturally inactive and such a trait makes it difficult to distinguish whether your pet is depressed or just being itself.
That said, happy cats oftentimes sleep with other cats and even beside their human companions too.
3. Cheerful behaviour. Another very obvious behaviour of a happy cat is when it is being playful or cheerful. When alone, for example, they tend to play with their toys. They also like playing around with other cats—and even you—when they are happy.
4. Vocal cues. This one might not be as common as the others but when a cat is emotionally well, a happy British Shorthair cat tends to be very vocal. That said, your cat would meow in a high-pitch tone when it is happy. On the other hand, it will make a low-pitch tone when it meows if it is unhappy or is annoyed.
All in all, while purring is not a solid indication of whether a cat is content and happy, many cat enthusiasts still find it as a positive behaviour concerning its overall wellbeing.
5. Relaxed posture. Another indicator is its posture. When a cat is happy and content, its posture is typically relaxed. How?
For example, it would sleep with its paws tucked under its chest. A cheerful cat’s tail will stand straight as well every time it sees its owner or is near. It will shrink itself to appear small and not threatening when it feels safe and content too.
On the flip side, however, a cat straightens its leg when standing and erect the hair along the spine when they are irritated or annoyed.
6. Healthy appearance. How frequent your cat groom itself is also another easy-to-spot indicator that it is cheery. An emotionally well cat regularly groom itself throughout the day. It tends to lick its owner too and even groom other cats as well.
However, do take note that regular grooming does not necessarily have to be frequent. If you think your British Shorthair is licking itself excessively, it could be another case and might need professional help.
7. Expressive eyes and ears. Last but not least is how its eyes and ears look. Everyone knows that a cat’s eyes are very expressive. And usually, when it is happy, it dilates its eyes making it look huge.
Aside from that, if you notice your cat’s ears are facing forward yet slightly tilted, it is also a good indication that it is happy.