Skip to main content

Yes, you can set up a cat playdate (they’re actually vital for socialization)

Playtime serves several important purposes for cats. It helps them to get rid of extra energy, and kittens learn how to get along with other cats by playing with them. But if your cat lives alone, chances are your fur baby doesn’t see much of other cats. In this case, you might want to schedule a cat playdate. Playdates can help young kittens to learn how to interact with other cats, and some older cats may also appreciate the chance to play with other cats from time to time. Before you set up your first cat playdate, though, there are a few things you need to know to ensure it goes smoothly and your cat stays safe.

Two kittens playing in a cardboard container
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What is a cat playdate?

According to Petfinder, cat playdates are get-togethers that give your cat the chance to release some extra energy and interact and play with other cats. That interaction can have valuable perks for your cat’s socialization, particularly if your cat lives alone and doesn’t have another cat to play with regularly.

Cat playdates are most often successful with younger kittens who are still highly playful and more open to socialization. However, if you have a friendly and outgoing older cat, he may be a candidate for playdates, too.

Do cats need socialization?

Cat socialization is an important part of your cat’s overall health and wellness. According to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, socialization refers to introducing your cat to not only other cats, but also to humans and other animals, too. Cats who aren’t socialized might be aggressive or timid, and they can have difficulty living with or meeting other cats, pets, and humans.

While it’s best to socialize kittens when they’re between two and seven weeks old and are more receptive to new things, most kittens aren’t adopted until they’re at least eight weeks old. Kittens tend to be pretty easy to socialize until they reach about 14 weeks, so be sure to take advantage of this window early on and expose your kitten to other kittens, pets, and humans.

Two kittens playing on a tile floor
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to safely set up playdates

Make sure both cats are healthy

If you’d like to give your cat a playdate, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Nova Cat Clinic explains that it’s important to make sure that the cats won’t transfer illnesses or fleas to each other. This is best accomplished by making sure that both cats are current on their vaccinations, that they have a negative FelV/FIV test, and that they’re both on a flea preventative. If any of the cats have symptoms of illnesses, they shouldn’t attend the playdate.

Match the cats’ personalities

You’ll also need to carefully find a cat who’s a match for your own cat and introduce them slowly. Petfinder recommends that you think about your cat’s personality, and look for a cat who would work well with that type of personality. If your cat is timid, you won’t want to pair her with a boisterous cat who might further intimidate her.

Meet in a neutral spot

Choose a neutral location where you can introduce the cats. Ideally, this is a location where neither cat has been, and where they haven’t had a chance to mark the space with their scent. Make introductions very gradually. It’s best to let the cats smell each other under a door, then gradually progress to letting them see each other through a gate. Watch for signs that your cats are comfortable with each other, like a relaxed body posture, before you let them interact face-to-face.

Keep in mind that cats aren’t always a good match for each other. If two cats just aren’t getting along, look for a different cat who might be a better fit for your cat’s playdate.

If you’re thinking of getting a kitten, then it’s important to plan out how you’ll provide socialization opportunities. If putting together cat playdates for your kitten is tough, then consider adopting multiple kittens together. The kittens will play with each other, can help to get some extra energy out, and will offer each other important companionship when you’re not home. Having a buddy can reassure a more timid kitten and even help to boost his confidence, and you’ll be in for twice the cuteness and twice the fun. With proper socialization, your kitten can grow up to be comfortable and confident around other cats, dogs, and humans.

Editors' Recommendations

Paige Cerulli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Paige's work has appeared in American Veterinarian, Business Insider, Healthline, and more. When she's not writing, Paige…
Why do cats fight? They’re not just being jerks
The real reasons your cats might be fighting
A close-up of gray striped cat hissing

When cats display behaviors that we humans consider socially unacceptable or quirky, the temptation is often to say, "Cats!" or "What jerks."

Sometimes, these statements are all in good fun and tongue-in-cheek. Think: Is my cat plotting against me when they stare? Does Kitty want me to get fired when they hop on my work-from-home virtual meeting? The truth is that cats don't display behaviors out of spite, though. Instead, behaviors are a form of communication — a clue into your pet's feelings and challenges.

Read more
Why do cats twitch in their sleep? The real reasons behind this curious behavior
Here's when you should be concerned about your cat twitching
Small cat sleeping on her back

While appreciating your cat's various sleeping positions, you may have noticed some twitching. Have you ever wondered why this happens? Are they dreaming? What is going on in their bodies? We've uncovered the reasons behind this peculiar behavior to share what it means, why it's important, and when to be concerned. Read on to answer the question: Why do cats twitch in their sleep?
What are the sleep stages for cats?

On average, cats sleep 15 hours a day as compared to the eight hours of sleep humans (should) get. It would appear that cats understand the value of sleep and prioritize taking time to rest. Sleep helps them recharge, maintains their immune system, and supports their general well-being. Essentially, adult cats experience three stages of sleep and kittens experience four.
Catnaps
The lightest type of sleep is the short “catnaps” felines take. During this stage, cats are very aware of their surroundings. You may notice that while your kitty is taking a catnap, their ears still turn in response to sounds. Initially, wild cats used catnaps (as opposed to deeper sleep) as a natural defense mechanism and passed this behavior to modern domestic cats.
Light sleep
Light sleep is between a catnap and deep sleep in terms of the level of awareness cats experience. In this stage, cats are still able to pounce at a moment's notice if necessary. This stage lasts an average of 25 minutes before deep sleep sets in.
Deep sleep
Deep sleep is also known as the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. When truly sleeping, cats cycle from light sleep to deep sleep and back again. Deep sleep only lasts 5 to 10 minutes at a time and is when cats twitch and likely dream. You may also notice that your pet is harder to wake when they're in this stage.

Read more
Why do cats roll in dirt? 10 reasons for their dust bath
Why your kitty does this (and what to do)
Orange cat near water

Cats are famous for being tidy little creatures. They meticulously groom their fur, giving themselves tongue baths daily. Indoor or indoor/outdoor cats take pride in using their litter boxes. Given their noble commitment to top-notch hygiene, you may assume your feline friend would avoid dirt at all costs. Yet, you may peer out the window one day and be surprised to see your kitty rolling around in the dirt — and looking happy as a pig while doing so.

Cats love throwing us for loops almost as much as they love grooming themselves, don't they? That question was rhetorical. This one is not: Why do cats roll in dirt? There are several reasons why your cat may be taking a dust bath, ranging from "just for fun" to an attempt to boost digestive health (seriously). Here's the dirty truth about why your cat rolled in dirt.
Why do cats roll in dirt?

Read more