Our friends over at Petcentric.com put together these great ideas for games to play with your kitten or cat! All but one use common household items like paper bags, string, paper, and tin foil, so they require no expensive purchases. (We have even more free DIY cat toys here too.) Your cat needs activity to stimulate her mind and body. An indoor cat with no one to play with and nothing to do, may become either sluggish or destructive. So what can you do? If you can’t adopt a kitty playmate… Play cat games! If you can provide some interesting, active playtime with your cat each day, you’ll have a happier cat. It’s fun to watch your cat play! Bonus – you’ll probably notice that playing together increases your affection for each other. So set aside 15 minutes a day for pure cat play. Here’s a whole week’s worth of fun cat activities as ideas for your play sessions. Make up your own, too.
Paper Bag Playground: Lay paper bags on the floor, with the openings facing each other. As your cat enters one bag, scratch your finger on the outside bottom of the bag. Once he’s scuffling inside that bag, scratch the bottom of the other bag. This should cause kitty to fly out of one bag and dive into the other.
Trapped Prey: Get a small lightweight ball, like a ping-pong ball or foil ball and a cardboard box, laundry basket or plastic storage tub. Let your cat see you drop the ball into the container so she jumps in after it. Your cat will play with the ball, batting it and chasing it around. This is an extra fun cat activity since this prey cannot escape.
Dancing Light: Shine a flashlight or laser light on the floor in front of your cat. Move the light erratically across the floor, over the couch, up the walls. Let her get it sometimes so she doesn’t get frustrated.
Boomerang Ballet: If you really want to see your cat get active, get a foam boomerang – like this one: http://www.boomerangs.com/erdafutrbo.html. It’s soft enough that you can throw it in the house. If you throw it right, it will spin in a wide circle in the air causing your cat to do some amazing leaps.
Paper Hockey: Wad up a small piece of paper or foil, so it’s a little smaller than a golf ball. Lay down on a hard surface floor and blow on the ball so it skitters by your cat. When she bats it, bat it back with your finger. No rules, no penalty boxes.
Bait the Kitty: Get a stick about a yard long and a string that’s slightly longer. Tie the string to the end of the stick. Tie something interesting to the other end of the string, like a small sock filled with catnip or anything your cat likes to play with. Sit on a chair or on the floor and drag the toy along the floor in a circle all the way around you. When your cat goes for the bait, gently pull to make it a more challenging cat game.
Spontaneous surprises will keep your cat happy, active and alert as well. You can provide some tantalizing cat toys from things around your house, like the plastic rings from milk jugs, bottle caps or lids. When you’re done with a box of cereal, empty the liner of all crumbs, wad it up and toss it on the floor. It will slowly un-wad itself in a most enticing manor. Got an empty roll of toilet paper? Instant cat toy! (Don’t give your cat something he could choke on, and pick it up once he’s lost interest. If it’s not a safety-tested commercial cat toy, he shouldn’t play with it unsupervised.)
When you’re away at work, the best thing to keep your cat active and playing is another cat. If that’s not possible, leave cat toys over a floor vent so they move whenever air is blowing. Consider putting on a cat video. Cats are smart and need activities to occupy their time, and keep them happy, just like you. Having regular challenges keeps your kitty’s nine lives more interesting.
Want to know more? Click here for the article: How to Play with Your Cat by Gary Loewenthal on one of our favorite cat websites, Cats.About.com
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