12 Fun Games You Can Play With Your Cat
Playing games with your cat is a fun, simple way to enrich her life, provide stimulation and strengthen the bond you share. Here are some fun games you can enjoy together.
Chase the prey
Use a toy to simulate the movement of prey. By dragging a toy across the ground on a string, pausing periodically like an animal might, you're encouraging your cat to stalk and pounce like he is would in the wild. This will increase his speed and agility and stimulate his hunting instincts. It's a good idea to keep the toy hidden until playtime in order to keep him interested in it.
Feather and String
Purchase a wand toy or make your own with a stick, a string and a bell or feather. Pull it slowly away from your cat's view and watch as your cat lunges after it around corners and under furniture, and even jumps to catch it in the air.
Stuffing catnip, a natural herb, into a toy or ball (or buying one that already has catnip in it) can stimulate your cat's interest in a toy. Keep in mind, however, that not all cats are attracted to catnip.
Run and fetch
It's surprising, but many cats love to play fetch - or at least, chase after and catch a ball that you throw. Ball toys simulate the quick, unexpected movements of prey. Put a bell inside to get your cat's attention, and roll or toss the ball so that she can see and chase it. Some cats respond particularly well when a ball is rolled or tossed into another room or around a corner.
Puzzle feeders and food distributor balls are toys that incorporate your cat's food into a compartment inside. By rolling or pouncing on the toy, your cat can make it release a few pieces of food at a time. Using a puzzle feeder stimulates your cat's desire to hunt and work for food. Remember to account for the food inside a puzzle feeder when determining your cat's daily nutrition allowances.
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.
Cats love toys that make crinkle sounds. Bat crumpled paper around the floor for your cat to chase, wrestle and catch. Just make sure your cat doesn't chew it or swallow any paper. When your cat is finished playing, throw the paper away so it doesn't become a safety hazard.
Skip the fancy three-level scratching post. An empty paper shopping bag can be one of your cat's favorite toys. Lay the bag on its side so your cat can play inside. Then scratch and poke the sides as your cat bats at the movements and sounds from the inside.
Cats enjoy chasing light reflections. Try catching light with a watch, a CD or another reflective item. Bounce it low onto a wall, a floor or another safe surface. Avoid laser pointers, as they can cause damage to your cat's eyes. Also, chasing something that can never be caught can frustrate your cat. Make sure to switch to a catchable toy before playtime is over.
These exercises unleash the predatory nature in cats, many of whom delight in the ability to hide and wait for their prey. That explains why your cat may hide under a skirted table or under your bed, and then spring out and make a surprise attack on your feet. Ouch! Save your toes by flushing your cat from her hiding spot by tossing a paper wad or cat toy for her to attack.
This next tip is pretty sweet, but make sure you don't leave your cats unattended when you bust this thing out. As you're probably already aware, cats love things that dangle and sway above their heads. Like the drawstring on your hoodie, or that enticing cable trailing from your laptop. To give them something a little more appropriate to bat at, find yourself a helium balloon. Bring home your loot, and tie something lightweight enough to be lifted airborne onto the end of the balloon string. Release your kitties into the room and watch the mayhem unfold. Here's where the "don't leave them unattended" bit is particularly important: cats can get tangled up in the balloon string (or string of any sort, really) and should never be left alone with it in the house.
Go for a walk
While it seems unorthodox to many people, cats can be trained to walk on a leash, and many of them enjoy the activity. When you take your cat for a walk, she can experience the great outdoors while staying safe from cars, other animals, and getting lost. It's also great exercise for both you and your pet.
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