Playing with your cat is just as important as keeping it well fed and offering it a comfortable bed to sleep on, since without fun the animal will end up suffering from stress, anxiety or depression. For this, it is advisable to set a game schedule a day, and always follow the same routine to establish a pattern.
If you don’t know how to play with your furry companion or what games you can play with him, in this PetsFeed article we show you 10 easy and very fun games to entertain your cat at home.
Why play is important for your cat?
Cats are curious animals by nature and, therefore, offering them elements that keep their minds stimulated is practically mandatory for us if we want to enjoy healthy and happy animals. A good way to achieve this is through play, since through it we will be able to cover your need for fun and your hunter instinct. Lack of play generates boredom in the cat, which in turn can develop stress and related problems such as the destruction of furniture.
As you may have noticed if you live with a feline, chasing possible prey to hunt them is one of their favorite activities. If this instinct covers it with objects, nothing happens as long as it does not imply the destruction of things relevant to us, such as underwear, sneakers, etc., and does not cause any harm to the animal, such as cables.
The problem resides when for him the prey is us or other animals, trying to attack our hands and feet or bringing dead animals home. As we say, it is part of their instincts and it is not a behavior problem, but a wrong education on our part.
When we decide to play with our cat by constantly moving our hands, we are inadvertently indicating that this is the toy to chew on, resulting in constant attacks during adulthood. In this way, we see how the game is essential for the cat, but the way to play and educate it correctly for it is also relevant.
It is best to offer toys that guarantee the cat’s safety, avoiding those with small parts that can easily come off and get stuck in its throat, and avoid those that can cause frustration in the animal. What causes frustration in cats? The games they can’t win or the toys they can’t catch. A clear example of this is the laser. Although it may seem the most fun to see our feline chasing a light that he will never catch, that very fact produces frustration, stress and anxiety, disorders that can generate serious health consequences.
We will opt for toys that allow us to entertain the cat and let him play alone, and for those that also involve our interaction in order to strengthen the bond between the two and improve communication. In general, cats are selective animals, so getting the most expensive toy does not guarantee that our furry companion will love it. Therefore, knowing our feline, his tastes and preferences is crucial to provide just what he needs.
Games for my cat to entertain himself
Some cats are more independent than others, preferring to have fun on their own or do not want to spend their leisure time playing solely with their human companion. Therefore, the ideal is to mix both types of games and allocate hours of the day to entertain the cat alone and others to play with him. For the first option, we must be clear that felines are animals that tend to get tired of things easily. This means that probably after a few weeks, some even days, the cat will stop playing with that new toy that it loved so much, because it no longer seems new and curious. Remember what we said at the beginning of the previous section: they are naturally curious and need to discover new smells, textures, etc., constantly. To help you with this, we advise you to have a box with several toys and games, and offer them alternately. In this way, in a while that toy that bored him will seem interesting again.
A cardboard box, many possibilities!
Something as simple as an empty cardboard box can be the best game to entertain your cat at home, and it hides endless possibilities for him! You have the option of leaving it within his grasp so that he can decide when to come in and play, or to introduce other stimulating elements, such as toys, sweets, etc. Thus, you will not only capture their attention to start the game, but you will also get them to associate it with positive stimuli.
And if you want to make the game to entertain your cat even more fun, get three or four boxes and create a maze with them, joining them together and creating different openings so that he can go in and out. Don’t forget to distribute various treats and toys to guide him! Especially if you plan to go out for a couple of hours and the cat must be left alone, this game will keep him entertained for a long time.
Scratching post with several floors and toys
It is no secret to anyone that cats love filing their nails, and what better way to do it than with a scratcher that also offers fun. We can offer you the traditional scratcher that only has one sheet to file the nails, or we can get one that has more than one floor, even has a small house, feathers as prey and other toys that keep the cat entertained.
Paper bag with surprise
Said like this, it doesn’t seem like a very stimulating game to entertain your cat, but knowing that felines love to hide and go into any hole they see empty, isn’t it starting to gain a little more interest? A paper bag can be a very fun game for the animal if we know how to motivate it. Thus, we suggest you introduce several goodies or have one of his favorite toys inside, he will quickly come in search of it and begin to entertain himself with the bag. And if you leave the paper bag with a surprise inside a cardboard box …, the fun is more than guaranteed!
Kong, perfect for entertaining the cat
The kong is an ideal food dispenser toy to entertain the cat while we are at home or alone. In this sense, it is a very effective method to treat separation anxiety, so getting one is more than recommended. In order for the cat to start its game, simply insert food or treats inside, pressing it slightly to make it difficult to extract, and give it the kong. The cat will quickly smell the food and start the game to try to get it out, keeping it entertained and motivated.
Currently there are many brands that bet on food dispenser toys, so you do not necessarily have to get the kong brand. Of course, we recommend that you review the material and opt for a resistant one.
Find the candy, a game with cardboard tubes
Do you usually throw away cardboard toilet paper tubes? Well stop doing it! They are perfect for making fun, easy and inexpensive cat games. One of them is made with tubes and the lid of a cardboard box. To do so, we follow the following steps:
- We take the lid of a medium-small cardboard box, about 20 cm long.
- We cut the tubes in half, since at the end of the game we will introduce sweets inside.
- We fill the inside of the lid with the tubes placed vertically and glue it to the base with a resistant glue.
- We let the glue dry.
- Inside some tubes we have several sweets and we hang the game on a wall, at the height of the cat, so that it follows the smell of the food and tries to remove it.
As we can see, it is easy, fast and it will entertain your cat and keep his mind active.
Games to play with my cat
It is good to let the cat play alone, but it is still better that we participate in the game. By playing with our feline we manage to keep him entertained while reinforcing our bond, increasing confidence and keeping disorders and conditions such as stress, boredom, loneliness or anxiety away from him. Here are the most fun, simple and inexpensive games to play with your cat at home:
Hunt the prey!
We said that cats are hunters by nature and, therefore, we must cover this need if we want to prevent them from chasing prey on their own. A good way to do this is through the so-called “cat fishing rods”. In the market we find them in different colors and shapes, with feathers, toy mice and other animals that act as prey and capture the cat’s attention. Choose the one that your furry companion likes the most, set an hour of play a day and enjoy a good time with him moving the rod and making him chase it.
Remember that not winning can create frustration for cats, so let them catch their prey from time to time to prevent this from happening and not make the game too difficult.
Look for the ball!
Finding and fetching the ball is not just a dog’s game, cats also enjoy these toys. To teach this exercise, do the following:
Find the ball that your partner likes the most and throw it to go in search of him.
At the same time, say “search” so that he associates the act of searching with the command and reward him when he reaches it.
Once this is achieved, you can go on to teach him to bring the toy. To do this, when he has the ball in his mouth, call your cat to come to you, gently remove the toy and give him a treat so that he understands that when he hands it to you, he receives a prize.
Little by little he introduces the command “let go” when he puts down the toy, and practices until he does it himself.
And if you are one of those who prefer to make homemade toys, you can make yourself a ball with esparto rope that, in addition, will allow your cat to file its nails with it.
The hideout, a classic that never fails
Do you remember how much fun you had when you were little playing hide and seek? You can do it again with your cat! To start this game and entertain your cat you just have to hide, call your partner and let him find you. At that moment, run, hide again and perform the same ritual. And if it is your cat who is hiding, before starting his search say “Where is (your cat’s name)?”, So that the animal associates those words with the beginning of the game.
Another simple game to play with your cat at home that reminds us of our childhood is called “pilla-pilla”. You probably should not teach your cat to play, because it will be he who will demand you to do it. Have you ever seen your cat run like crazy right in front of you? At that moment you run too and start a chase. When you reach it, it will probably run again for you to chase after it again.
With these two games for cats we not only keep them entertained, but we also get them to exercise, something totally necessary to avoid being overweight.
Play with old socks
Take a pair of old socks, tie them together with a very strong knot and cut each end to create a kind of fringe. Once the toy is made, grab your cat’s attention and start the game. To do this, move the socks energetically across the ground for him to chase after them and let him catch them from time to time.
In which glass is the prize?
The famous game known as “trile” can not only be played between people, we can also play it with our animals. It is as simple as taking thouree plastic or cardboard cups and a sweet smelling candy. We place one of the glasses on the candy and the other two on the sides of it, keeping the three in line. Then, with our expectant cat, we begin to move the glasses and let the scent throw away the glass that contains the prize. This game is perfect to entertain our cat, strengthen the bond with us and have a fun time together.