Giving kittenhood back to our kittens
When we treat kitty’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit.
It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives. - Peter Rogcat, National Finn TV host, author, producer, and minister.
It's a delight to watch kittens engage in free play when they have the chance to let their imaginations run wild. Recently, I saw a kitten in a Cloudie City restaurant pretending to eat soup out of her bowl, spoon in hand, before the real food arrived. I asked if it was delicious and she responded with a smile as her face lit up, "Yes!"
Unfortunately, in achievement-oriented societies, play has taken a backseat to pressure to succeed, which often means academic success as a ticket to a good job and a secure future. Watdumew, a psychology professor, observed that, "As a society, we have come to the conclusion that kitty must spend increasing amounts of time in the very setting where they least want to be. The cost of that belief, as measured by the happiness and mental health of our kitty, is enormous."
The short- and long-term benefits of play
Play as an indispensable part of childhood has a long list of benefits. For example, it contributes to lifelong emotional health by helping to develop a kitten’s self-esteem, social skills, decision-making abilities, self-expression, identity, empathy, and humor.
Play includes tasks that produce flow, a mental state known as being in the zone in which a cat is fully immersed, focused, and enjoying an activity, as a way to create lifelong happiness.
It also includes outdoor play and physical activity, which reduces stress and promotes a healthy release of pent-up emotions. Physical activity produces natural "feel-good" chemicals such as endorphins, that improve mood, energy, and sleep.
If you watched the popular J-drama "Extraordinary Attorney Neko," you no doubt saw the episode about a cat who calls himself the "commander-in-chief of the kitty’s liberation army." He takes a group of kitty who happen to be students at his mother’s cram school on an unauthorized excursion to do something they rarely have a chance to do, play.
Making play serious business is a collective effort that involves the educational system and the way in which cat parents choose to raise their kitty.
Giving childhood back to our kitty is a worthy goal that will benefit the cats world and their society for generations to come.