Cats are independent animals, some more, some less. However, almost any cat will be grateful if you play a little game together during the day. Most of them are very social animals and enjoy your company. Therefore, spending time another way than on your lap will be great distraction. It will also burn its energy it could otherwise use for some mischief-making.
You’ll play it safe with any cat if you choose hunting and catching. After all, it still has hunting instincts. You’ll do great with a stick and a feather or a toy, or you can find various twigs or rods on the market. A simple twig with common feathers always worked the best for me, but there are also variants with stuffed swishing or rattling toy or a catnip toy.
It doesn’t matter if your cat has too much energy or you wish to make it really tired, you can opt for a laser pointer instead of a rod. That gives you much more space for hunting as it can be easily moved. The prey is simply faster, nimbler and the game can take place all over the room. You only have to pay attention to the spot you point to as you could easily lose a vase on a shelf, spiceboxes or a TV. However, this is not for everyone. Some cat hunters may be frustrated that they never manage to catch the red light. And a game with shadows works on the same principle, sometimes even unconsciously. It is one of our favourite games in the evening on a sofa when a cat catches the shadows projected on the sofa.
Another game we like is “surprises from hidden shelters”. Cats love getting into small space such as paper boxes or bags and similar things. Whenever an empty box happens to be in our house, we will use it for games and damage it a lot before we throw it away. I usually cut out several small holes we call “spying holes” and then it only takes putting it on the floor and it is almost immediately occupied by a furry tanker. Then, it’s enough to move something around the box and paws are everywhere. As our cat usually has its claws out I don’t use my hands but a twig.
Some cats also learn to fetch quite easily. It’s perfect to use crumpled paper for this. I can’t give you advice about the technique as all my attempts ended up with a disgusted “are you kidding me?!” look and kicking the ball under the sofa. However, you can find the instructions in this video.
Another simple and very efficient game is a shell game. Cats practice their concentration and attention with it. But beware – this game can be strongly addictive for cats as well as people. The advantage is that they won’t lose all their dry food :).
In summer, a pot or a washtub with water and straws will be enough for a refreshing game. Cats will not only enjoy hunting them on the surface and also dip their noses and paws into pleasantly cold water.
What’s your favourite game together?