Are you looking for some fun and entertaining games to play with your cat to keep them out of mischief?
Did you know, it’s not just dogs that can learn new tricks and that cats are actually very intelligent and like to exercise their brains as well as their paws?
If you don’t provide your cat with the mental stimulation that they need, you’ll soon find that your home is covered in scratch marks or that your cat becomes uninterested in food and sleeps a lot.
If you spend ten minutes a day making sure that your cat is entertained, she will love you forever.
All of the game suggestions here, can either cost you very little and be created with things that you have lying around at home, or you can buy specifically made cat toys which have been designed to get their brains thinking!
Ice or Water Play
Some cats love to play with water, in fact, they are fascinated by it. There are plenty of different games which you could incorporate water play into.
One particular favorite is filling the bottom of a container with toy marbles, and then filling the container up with water.
Once the container is filled, shout your cat’s name, wait a while, and then watch them play!
This will entertain your cat for ages, as they swipe at the marbles with their paw.
Another game involves ice; freeze a small toy, or even some dry food into ice cube trays. This is an especially fun game for hot days which will allow your kitten to cool down as well as exercise her brain and try to retrieve the food.
There are hundreds of cat puzzles available to buy which will keep your kitty happy for hours, but if you’re on a tight budget, there are also puzzles which you can make with things you have at home.
Why not create a Tupperware box puzzle with an old plastic box? Simply place a few of your cat’s toys or treats into a tub, and cut three medium sized holes into the top.
Watch as your kitten bats the box around and tries to figure out a way to get the toys and treats out of the box.
If you don’t have a plastic container, you could also use a cardboard box, or even an empty toilet roll.
Instead of feeding your cat from their regular bowl, you could make things a bit more interesting for them and split their meals between a few bowls and hide them around the kitchen.
Start off by placing them in plain sight so they understand the game, and as time goes on you can make this trickier.
You could hide them in more concealed places around the kitchen, or even start to hide them around the house.
This will help your cat to exercise their natural foraging and hunting instincts, and give them the mental stimulation that they crave as well as the physical exercise.
Teach them Tricks
It isn’t just dogs that can learn new tricks, cats are also very intelligent, they are just a little bit more stubborn to train, but it can be done!
You can teach you cat to fetch something that you throw.
Choose something that is small and light enough for them to pick up in their mouths, and then throw the toy for them.
Their natural instinct will help them do the first part of the trick without a problem – that is, to pounce onto the toy.
The second part of the trick, to return the toy to you, will take a little bit more training. You can use small treats to encourage them to give the toy back to you.
Start off just throwing the toy a very short distance, within arm’s reach, and extend this as they start to understand the game.
Cat App Fun
There are lots of different apps which are available to entertain your cat, from a laser which you can shine around for them, to catching virtual mice.
Whilst these games can be great for a short period, you need to ensure that if you do use them, that they are given the opportunity to catch something in real life just after playing.
It can be very frustrating for them, chasing a mouse around on a screen without any physical reward.
Therefore, you can use a wand with a feather on the end to play with them after any screen time, or a toy mouse on the end of a string.
John is the founder and senior editor for My Pet’s Name and a graduate in aminal welfare and behaviour.