Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Much Playtime Do Cats Need? Why It’s Crucial for Your Cat’s Health (Vet-Verified)

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on May 8, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


How Much Playtime Do Cats Need? Why It’s Crucial for Your Cat’s Health (Vet-Verified)


Dr. Alice Athow-Frost Photo


Dr. Alice Athow-Frost

Veterinarian, BVM BVS MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cats need to play and move around daily to stay healthy. They can play with you, with other pets in your home, or with other family members. The important thing is that they find a way to play and get their feline bodies moving! Not only can it be a great way to keep your cat fit, but it is also important to their overall physical and mental well-being.  It’s also a really good way for you and your cat to bond. It is recommended to play between 30 to 60 minutes per day diving it into 10-15 minutes different play sessions along the day.

3 cat face divider

How Much Should You Play With Your Cat Daily?

While your cat might portray themself as an independent creature, the truth is that they do enjoy interacting with you and the toys around them. With that in mind, it’s best if you spend between 30 and 60 minutes daily playing with your cat a day.  A reasonable guide is four 10-minute play sessions daily.

We know that you’re likely to miss some days of extended play, and that’s okay, as long as you’re making it a priority to play with your cat most days and keep them mentally stimulated in your absence, you’re in pretty good shape.

Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

cat paw divider

The 4 Benefits of Playing With Your Cat

Every cat requires physical and mental stimulation, especially if they are indoor cats. Playing with your cat brings numerous important benefits. From bonding with you to reducing their stress and anxiety levels, many of the reasons are the same ones you get by exercising and playing!

1. Staying Physically Fit

Exercise helps your cat stave off obesity and related diseases such as diabetes mellitus and arthritis. Just like you need to exercise to stay healthy, the same is true for your cat.

2. Bonding

mother and daughter playing cat
Image Credit: Yuri A, Shutterstock

Bonding with your cat is a great way for the two of you to get a bit closer to each other, and what better way to do that than by playing? Playing is something you and your cat can enjoy, making it a real win-win for everyone! Whether you do this by waving a wand around while they chase it or by throwing a ball and having them chase it, the time you spend together will make the two of you even closer than you already are.

3. Relieves Stress

When you’re having a rough day, you should have a few different ways to relax and destress. The same is true for your cat, and while they shouldn’t have too many rough days, playing is still a great way to reduce their stress levels. Enriching your cat’s life through frequent play will help to reduce their boredom and stress, therefore reducing destructive or stress related behaviors.

A stress-free cat is happier and healthier, so don’t overlook this critical benefit.

4. Boredom Reduction

Image Credit: Sviatoslav_Shevchenko, Shutterstock

Let’s face it: an indoor-only cat doesn’t have much going on in their life. The time you take to play with them is likely the highlight of their day, and after you play with them, they’ll likely need a nap. That means a single brief play session can lead to hours of boredom reduction, thus eliminating problem behaviors.

Cat ball divider 1

The 5 Ways to Play With Your Cat

Sometimes, finding the best way to play with your cat is all about finding the best toys to use that get them interested. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on all sorts of different toys; simply getting a few that you know they’ll enjoy the most is more than enough.

1. Pet-Safe Laser Pointers

Image Credit: LauraVincent, Shutterstock

Laser pointers seem to drive just about every cat completely crazy. They’re constantly chasing after the light trying to catch it, and when they do get to it, they can’t figure out what it is. Just ensure to get a pet-safe laser pointer that isn’t too strong, and never point it at their face or eyes, as this can harm them.

2. Feather Wands

Feather wands are another classic cat toy that most cats adore. You’ll likely need to invest in quite a few feathers, as cats tend to rip them off, but it’s an excellent active bonding activity. Slowly flick them around and let your cat catch them a few times so they don’t get too frustrated.

3. Cardboard Boxes

Who says you need to invest in expensive cat toys? Most cats are more than happy to play with a cardboard box. They love climbing inside them, getting on top of them, and clawing at them. If you have multiple cardboard boxes, you can build different things for them to play with, too. Who wouldn’t want a cardboard castle to rule over?

4. Cat Trees

Cat trees are the perfect space for your cat to lounge, but they also entice your cat to climb and play. Different cat trees have different features, and many of them encourage your cat to keep moving in different ways. Plus, cats enjoy high-up places that allow them to look over their territory, so you should really have one of these in your home anyway.

5. Swap Out Toys Regularly


Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

A quick Google search shows hundreds of cat toys you can get. You certainly don’t need to get them all, but buying a new one every once in a while is a great way to entertain your cat and get them moving. If one has been around for a while and your cat has lost interest, pull out a new toy. After they get bored of the new one, bringing back their old one could pique their interest again.

Our Favorite Cat Toys Right Now

Here are a some of our favorite toys, each catering to a variety of senses and play preferences. Which one will your feline fancy? 

Hepper Mouse kicker toy Hepper Furballs
Hepper Plush Mouse Kicker Toy Hepper Furball Toy Set
Multisensory :
Multisensory :
Encourages self play
Encourages self play:
Encourages self play:
Durable :
Durable :
Set of 2
Set of 2:
Set of 2:

At Catster, we've admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!


Final Thoughts

Don’t let your cat’s personality fool you, as they likely enjoy playing with you, and the more time you can spend with them, the happier and healthier they’ll be. Find ways to get them moving and find games they enjoy, and then set aside some time each day to play with them. It might take a bit of work, but it’s well worth it and is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.

See Also: 

Featured Image Credit: Kmpzzz, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.