A lot of people think that cats don’t need games to keep them interested. After all, it is very rare to see a cat that’s not sleeping or lying all day in its bed or makeshift perch. Sure, they will try to stand up, stretch their bodies, and sink their claws on the nearest scratching post; but like dogs, kitties need playtime, too. This is what keeps them mentally stimulated while also catering to their need for exercise. You don’t want your kitty to follow in the footsteps of Garfield, do you? Well, here are 5 very simple games that you can play with your cat. These are excellent ways to improve your bond with your feline friend while making them go crazy for such interactions.
Homemade Interactive Puzzles
This works like any other interactive cat puzzle toys that you may order online or from your pet supplies store. But instead of spending tens of dollars on a kitty gadget, you can make one on your own.
You will need a medium-sized box with a lid. A used shoebox should come in handy. Get a craft knife or a utility knife and carve out holes on the shoebox’s sides. You may also create holes on the shoebox cover. The holes should be large enough to allow your cat to insert its limbs, but not too big that it can push its body through.
If the holes have rough edges, seal it off with masking tape so as not to irritate your cat’s limbs. Some pet parents try to decorate the box to make it enticing to the cat. There are those who put paper cutouts or stickers of mice “running” towards the holes. It’s up to you if you want to go down this route. If it helps, go for it.
Get some yummy treats and the cat’s favorite toys. Put these inside the shoebox. Some cat parents also find the inclusion of catnip to be quite stimulating. Cats love catnips so much that they go crazy whenever they see and smell one. There are also folks who spray a bit of cat pheromones on several strips of paper. Place these inside the box, too.
Once you’re satisfied with your homemade interactive puzzle box, you can close the lid and secure it with tape. Make sure to secure it well so that your cat will not be able to pry it open.
Place the newly-constructed interactive cat puzzle box on the floor and watch your cat’s eyes grow with amazement. The scent of catnip, cat treats, or the pheromones will grab the cat’s attention. It will try to peek through the holes to see what’s inside. The curiosity in the cat will take over. Sit back and watch the feline action unfold as your kitty tries to free the feline goodies inside.
Homemade Feather-and-String Cat Wand
Parents of very active kitties will find cat wands to be perfect for engaging their furry friends. This game requires a bit of endurance on your part, since you’ll be holding a long stick and waving it to and fro, side-to-side. It is always possible to make a few modifications, of course, since the essential element here is the bunch of feathers at the end of the string.
Making a feather and string cat wand is easy. Many suggest using the plastic stick of ordinary party balloons. These are lightweight so they are easy on the arms. Kids can also use them if they want. Some individuals will use a wooden stick. Again, it’s your choice. Use whatever material you have at home. Tie a length of string at the stick’s end. Tie a bunch of colorful feathers at the other end of the string. Others include a small bell to further stimulate the cat.
Using the cat wand will be like fishing. You dangle the feathered end within your cat’s field of vision. Or, you can try to wave it above the cat’s head. It will be like luring it to jump and try to catch the feather. Be as creative as you want. The point here is for you to entice the cat to “catch” the feathers. It’s up to you where you want to wave the stick.
A word of advice – make sure to play in an open room. It’s imperative that there’s plenty of space for the cat to jump about and run. Otherwise, you’ll have some of your personal belongings knocked over.
Cats always have their predatory nature on standby, no matter how domesticated they are. A cat is always ready to unleash its predatory instinct. This is the fundamental principle behind a game of feline hide-and-seek. Being topnotch predators, a cat’s natural instincts dictate it to “search” or “seek” its prey. The question now is what can constitute as your kitty’s prey.
There are different ways you can play hide-and-seek with your kitty. Most cat owners are more than happy to become the prey of their pets. They can hide behind cabinets and doors or under the table. Some crouch behind the sofa or any other furniture. Cat parents then call their kitties to go search for them.
Other pet parents use ordinary brown paper bags or boxes. Prop the paper bag on its side and entice your cat to go inside. The nature of paper will create sounds as your cat enters. This gives the cat the sensation of going on a hunt. For an added thrill, try scratching the outer surface of the paper bag. The cat will try to follow and pounce on whatever it is that is moving outside the paper bag.
You can also do the same thing on an empty box. Create an opening on the sides so your kitty can enter. Close the lid and secure it with a tape. Many pet parents will punch large holes on the sides and the top of the box. These holes are large enough to insert the cat’s legs, but not its entire body. It’s like the reverse of the interactive puzzle box. Instead of the toys and treats inside the box, it’s the cat that’s inside.
Here’s a game that will have your kitty rolling like crazy. Of course, this only works if you have a bathtub in your bathroom. But you can always improvise if needed. Make sure the bathtub is dry, though. Also, it’s often wise to remove any object on the edges of your bathtub such as bottles of shampoo and other stuff. Plug the drain hole to prevent the ping pong ball from getting in.
Place the cat inside the bathtub and drop a colorful ping pong ball. Watch it bounce a few times before rolling along the surface of the tub. Because the tub has a rather smooth surface, pouncing on the ball can make the ping pong “escape” in another direction. Add another ball and watch your kitty get confused as to which of these balls it should pounce on first. It’s a very simple game that anyone can play with their cats.
There are cat owners who use plastic Easter eggs instead of ping pong balls. These are lighter so they tend to “escape” from your cat’s grasp a lot easier. They are less noisy, too. The problem with these items is that they tend to split into halves. One way you can address this is by securing the two halves together by taping the joint.
Using lasers also works as cats can react to the red or green dot of light like a predator pouncing on its prey. Find out more about laser pointers for cats here.
Crumpled Paper Balls
No need to get fancy here. You only need the strength of your hands to crumple a piece of paper and shape it into a ball. It doesn’t have to be a perfect sphere. As long as it looks like a ball and can roll like a ball, then it should be fine. This is one of the simplest cat toys you can ever make for your kitty.
You can also use these crumpled paper balls in the other games that we have on this list. Add it in the interactive puzzle box or tie it at the end of the string. Use it to play with the cat in the bathtub. Of course, if you’re not in the habit of playing these games, then a simple crumpled paper ball should suffice.
Kitties love chasing things. It makes them very happy since they can “live” the life of a predator running after its prey. The crumpled paper ball also elicits a distinct noise which can add to the realism of a prey animal trying to evade its predator. Roll the crumpled paper across the floor and get ready to be mesmerized by your cat’s swift response.
Playing with your kitty doesn’t have to entail great expense on your part. One only has to be a bit creative in using different things to stimulate the cat’s interest. As a final word, make sure to keep these playthings out of your pet’s reach once done with the game.