Keep your feline busy with these stimulating activities.
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Pups are often to thought to be more playful than their feline counterparts, but kitties like to get rambunctious, too. (Especially when they're young kittens and just getting to know their surroundings.) Most felines don't care for walks as dogs do, but enjoy some stimulation indoors. The good news is there are easy, inexpensive games you can play with your cat and options they can also enjoy by themselves. The list below includes seven interactive activities, including a hide-and-seek game that taps into your animal's instincts and a game of fetch that all kitties will enjoy. (Yes, cats actually do enjoy fetch!) Plus, you'll be able to play these games in any size space, whether you have a large home or a small apartment. Just grab the materials and your cat, and start having some fun.

kitten chewing on toy
Credit: SunRay BRI Cattery RU/Getty Images

1. Interactive Puzzle

For this game, you'll need an old shoebox, your cat's favorite toys, and a few treats. Use a crafts knife ($10, Michaels) to cut a variety of different-size holes into the shoebox. Next, fill the shoebox with cat toys, catnip, and treats. Close the box, using a small piece of tape to secure the lid. Finally, put the box on the ground next to your cat and watch as they work to free the goodies inside.

2. Feather and String

This game is perfect for cats with a lot of energy. You can either purchase a toy wand ($3, Petco) or make a DIY cat toy wand using a stick, a string, and a feather or bell. Wave the wand above your kitty's head and entice them to jump up and catch the flying object. Mix things up by pulling the wand slowly away from your cat's view and watch as they pounce at it around corners and under furniture. Make sure to choose an open room with lots of space to bounce around. You don't want your kitten to run into valuable objects that could break.

3. Fetch

Contrary to popular belief, fetch is not just for dogs. Games like fetch bring out your cat's instinct to catch prey. Play fetch with your kitten by tossing a catnip-filled toy ($7, Petco) across the floor. Be sure to choose a toy that you can easily throw across the room. (You'll also want a toy that is easy for your kitty to carry in their mouth.) Watch as your cat chases after the toy, giving a few kitty kicks with their hind legs when they finally capture their prize. You'll be surprised to see that your feline friend will often bring the toy back to you. Reinforce this behavior with petting and praise or treats.

4. Hide-and-Seek

A game like hide-and-seek will also unleash the predatory nature of cats. You can play inside—just hide behind a couch, desk, or bed. Your kitten will playfully stalk you as though you were their prey.

5. Paper Bag

Great news for cat owners on a budget: You don't need a fancy three-level scratching post to make your kitty happy. You can easily turn an empty, brown-paper shopping bag into one of your cat's favorite toys. Lay the bag on its side so your cat can crawl inside. Then, scratch and poke the sides of the bag while your kitten bats at the movements and noises from the inside.

6. Tablet Games

If you have a tablet handy, you have access to hundreds of games made just for your kitty.  Here are three to get you started.

1. Games for Cats (free for iPad) app features three different activities. The laser pointer game is free and displays a bouncing red light for your cat to chase. If your cat is able to hit it, they receive a point. Two additional games are available after a $2 in-app purchase for the full version. These two games are similar to the laser pointer game, but they feature a mouse and a butterfly for your kitten to play with instead of a laser. If you decide to upgrade, you can even control the pointer, mouse, or butterfly using your iPhone.

2. Paint for Cats ($2 for iPad) is exactly what you think it is: a game that allows your feline to play with (digital) paint. With 10 different color palettes to choose from, your cat might turn into a bona fide iPad artist before you know it!

3. Friskies Jitterbug (free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch) is a universal app in which tons of creepy insects crawl all over the screen. The goal is to hit the bugs during five, 15-second rounds. You also can put the game into "endless mode," so your kitten isn't restricted by a time limit.

7. Crumpled Paper

Looking for a more straightforward object to entertain your cat? Some crumpled paper will do the trick. Just crush a piece of paper into a ball that can be rolled across the floor. Cats love to chase after the ball as much as they love the sound crumpled paper makes. Just be sure to keep the ball of paper away from your cat when you're done playing, or you might quickly have a confetti-covered floor.

Along with being lots of fun, these games offer your cat the necessary exercise. Try out each of these activities to see which one they enjoy most, and play with them a few times per week for a happy kitty.

Comments (1)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
August 4, 2019
Interesting. Thank you.