A black and white cat playing with a wand toy

Taking the time to play with your cat is a fun and easy way to ensure she is getting the mental stimulation she needs. It’s also a great way to strengthen the bond that you and your cat share. While you may be excited to start this fun bonding process with your furry friend, it is important to learn how to play with a cat so that you ensure you’re teaching her appropriate behaviour.

How to play with your cat

Cats have vastly different personalities, which means that their play styles and preferred games will differ. Start exploring different games with your cat with short play sessions. Gradually, you can increase these play sessions to multiple 10-15 minute play sessions throughout the day.

Games to play with your cat

When you’re testing out games and trying to engage your cat in play, make sure that you don’t play rough and don’t tease your cat by moving your fingers rapidly underneath duvets and rugs. While this may capture your cat’s attention, it can encourage your cat to grab and bite you. Read on for suggestions of appropriate games to play with your cat.

Pouncing on the “prey”

Pick out one of your cat’s toys and use it to simulate the movement of prey. Drag the toy across the ground on a string, pausing periodically like an animal might. By doing this, you’re encouraging your cat to stalk and pounce like she would in the wild. This type of play will increase her speed and agility and stimulate her hunting instincts. Keep the toy hidden until playtime so that your cat will stay interested in it.

Catnip as a play enhancer

Catnip is a natural herb that can be stuffed in your cat’s toy or ball. There are also many toys with catnip already inside that you can purchase. Catnip can stimulate your cat’s interest in play. However, not all cats are attracted to catnip, so make sure to try out a small amount first, before making any larger purchases.

Playing fetch

It’s surprising, we know, but many cats actually love to play fetch. While they may not bring the ball back you, they will at least chase after and catch a ball that you throw, since balls simulate the quick and unexpected movements of prey. Balls with a bell inside can work well to catch your cat’s attention, and throwing the ball close to the ground or rolling it can ensure that she will see it and chase it. Some cats respond particularly well when a ball is rolled or tossed into another room or around a corner.

Playing with food

Puzzle feeders and food distributor balls are toys with small compartments to place your cat’s food in. By rolling the toy or pouncing on it, your cat can make it release a few pieces of food at a time. Using a puzzle feeder can stimulate your cat’s desire to hunt and work for food. When using puzzle feeders, make sure to account for the food inside the feeder when determining your cat’s daily food intake. Learn how to make your own homemade puzzle feeders.

Going for a walk

While it may seem strange, cats can be trained to walk on a leash, and many of them really 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 – and it’s great exercise for both you and your pet!

We hope these games and activities gave you some fun ideas for spending some quality time with your cat.

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