By Nicky LaMarco.
Cats and kittens need plenty of mental stimulation and physical play. While they do sleep for two thirds of their lives as well as eat, drink, and groom- they also want to play. How do you know what kinds of games are the best to play with a kitten? How about with your older cat? Does it matter?
Just a few words of caution – never try to play with your cat when they are eating. Also give your cat some time after they wake up in the morning or from any nap before you begin the playtime. Do not wake your cat up so that you can play with her. If your cat does not want to play when you want them to, just remember how finicky cats can be. Try them again later. Cats and kittens want to play when they want to play, not when you do.
You do not have to spend a big budget on toys for your cat. You can use many things around the house or you can buy a few toys.
Some of the favorite cat and kitten games that everyone loves include:
Cats are chasers, and this is a game that they love at all ages. Even your old senior will get into a game of chase. What are they chasing? A beam of light or a laser pointer up the wall, around the room, and over the furniture. This game is easy on the person, and the cat(s) will sleep well that night. You can sit in your easy chair and play this game with your cat; they will love it.
Kittens love to play peek-a-boo. As cats get older this game seems to lose its fun, but for kittens you won’t find a better game. The best part is it’s free. It is essentially a game of hide and seek. Hide behind something, stick your head out, and call your kitten. When she sees you and starts to respond, quickly pull your head into your hiding space. Wait a few seconds and pop back out calling her name.
Hockey for Cats
Regardless of age, your cat will love playing hockey, and all you have to provide is the puck. It can be a bottle or jar top as long as it is flat on one side and you have a wooden or laminate floor that is slick enough for it to slide it on. Spin it out onto the floor in front of your cat and sit back and watch the show. Your cat will go crazy batting it around the floor. To add interest to the game, catch the puck yourself every once in a while and slide it back to her.
If you have ever browsed cat toys in the pet store, you have seen the long flexible rods with the long string or yarn attached that usually has something attached to the end of it – maybe feathers or a small stuffed mouse – anything that will tempt your cat. Now just flick the string in front of his face and begin to move away. This is another chase game that all cats will love. You can also do this with just a piece of string if you do not want to spend any money at all.
Mouse in the Bed
A great bed game that cats really love is pouncing on your moving hand which is under the cover. Keep your hand under the cover so that you don’t get hurt and so that your cat is caught off guard about what is moving under the cover. She will pounce on that little moving hill she sees in the blanket.
While catnip is not a game, it is something that cats love, and it adds to their sense of play. Just a little catnip goes a long way. Rub it on their toys and watch what happens. No matter how you choose to play with your cats, just know that they are very playful creatures and they are waiting for you to play with them. Cats and kittens need play time every day for thirty to sixty minutes. Otherwise you may get woken up all night. They need to expend their energy just like we do. It’s also a great bonding experience between you and your pet. Play some games with your cat, enjoy her company, and then get some sleep.
Photo: Courtesy of Ollie Crafoord via Flickr (CC by 2.0)