Cats Just Wanna Have Fun

Study shows the importance of play in a cat’s life

Play is a big part of a cat’s quality of life. In a recent study, researchers looked at four measures in cats: quality of life, quality of the cat-guardian relationship, prevalence of problem behaviors, and behavior changes.

The researchers analyzed 1,591 survey responses from 55 countries. They found that higher cat playfulness scores and increased games played were significantly associated with higher quality of life.

Higher cat-guardian relationship scores were associated with daily play, a greater number of games, play initiated by both cat and by human, and higher guardian playfulness.

Interestingly, exclusively indoor cat life was significantly associated with both higher quality of life and higher cat-guardian relationship scores, compared to cats with outdoor access.

When play was absent, behavior changes and distress in cats were reported by the survey respondents.

While further research is needed to understand the mechanisms of how play impacts cat welfare and happiness, it is clearly an important factor.ν

Henning, J., et al. “Cats just want to have fun: Associations between play and welfare in domestic cats,” Cambridge University Press, Jan. 27, 2023.