Cats may seem independent and aloof, but they still need the attention and interaction of play. Fortunately, there are many fun, simple games cat owners can play with their feline friends.
Benefits of Playing With Your Cat
Playing with a cat is more than just a game. Not only will play help sharpen their pouncing, tracking and other skills, but play provides…
- Exercise: Pampered pets often lead a life of leisure, with plenty of food without needing to work for it. A good game can be great exercise to control a cat's weight and keep their joints flexible, muscles strong and bodies agile.
- Mental Stimulation: As cats figure out a game, their mental faculties are sharpened. Playing different games can help cats learn more about their environment and will keep their senses sharp as well.
- Bonding: Playing with a pet strengthens the pet-owner bond, helping the cat associate the owner with comfort and security. This helps the pair develop a good relationship and keeps the cat at ease.
- Socialization: As cats play games with more people, they become more socialized to human presence and behavior. This can help minimize behavioral problems or difficult personalities, keeping a cat more mellow and relaxed.
8 Easy Games Your Cat Will Love
There are many fun games to play with cats. Not all cats may prefer the same games, but at least some of these options will be entertaining for even the most inscrutable feline.
- Paper Bag
Paper bag is easy to play, and all you need is a simple paper bag. A grocery bag, tote shopping bag or even a paper lunch sack will work. Lay the bag on the floor for the cat to explore, and they will bat at it, crawl inside, jump over the bag and otherwise thoroughly examine it. To make the game even more fun, occasionally poke or wrinkle the bag for more stimulation.
- Light Chase
Use a small flashlight, pen light or laser pointer to create a bead of light for your cat to chase. They will follow the light in circles, over furniture and even up walls or curtains in pursuit of their prey. Allow them to capture the light occasionally by snapping it off as they pounce, but be sure not to shine the light in the cat's eyes or it could cause retinal damage.
- Feather Chase
A small feather or short strip of paper attached to a length of string or yarn can be an irresistible toy for any curious cat. Drag the bait in front of them and allow them to chase it, wiggling or moving the feather to keep their interest. An active cat will happily chase the feather all over the room, even jumping into the air to catch it.
- Bathtub Ball
Use a small bouncy ball or colored ping pong ball as a toy in a dry, empty bathtub and the cat will eagerly chase it as it bounces all over. If a bathtub is not available, the game can be played in a small hallway or similar enclosed area where the ball will bounce erratically.
- Blanket Pounce
Cats will investigate anything that moves, and you can encourage their pouncing and play with an old blanket or towel. Let the cat lay on the blanket, but put your hand carefully underneath and move it around to catch their attention. Wiggling your fingers, gently poking the cat's paws and other stimulations can keep the game going.
Any crumpled piece of paper can be an intriguing toy, and a fun game can be had by batting the crumpled ball around for the cat to chase. Use a piece of tin foil or a junk mail envelope with a cellophane window for additional textures and noises to keep the cat's attention, but be sure they do not bite off or swallow bits of the paper, which could be dangerous.
Playing fetch isn't just for dogs, and many cats will follow a tossed ball and retrieve it to be tossed again. Use small, softer balls or soft toys that fit better in a cat's mouth, and balls with bells or sparkly bits will attract their attention better.
- Tablet Games
Try a high tech game by downloading cat-friendly games on your tablet or smartphone. These simple games have mice, frogs, birds or bugs that roam across the screen for cats to pounce on, and may be accompanied by sounds or lights to keep cats interested.
Any cat will get bored if the same game is played too often, so switch up different entertainment options to keep your cat engaged. With some simple play, both cats and cat owners will enjoy new bonds and a great deal of fun.