You grab the teaser toy, drag it across the floor. You start slowly, twitch it around like a curious little mouse, then speed off with your ecstatic kitty trailing behind you. The next day, you start out the same way – teaser in hand, toy dragging and twitching – but your friend isn't quite so ecstatic. Sound familiar? Felines are ridiculously smart, and it's almost shocking how quickly they get bored. New toys will do the trick some of the time, but the way that you play with them can make all the difference. In this article, we will discuss some stimulating cat games that you can use to help pep up a stale playtime.
This one is probably going to require a bit of building on your part – or, at least, some furniture rearranging. There are four ways to go about this. The first is to put together a proper maze with boxes or cardboard flats. There are plenty of DIY maze tutorials floating around the internet, but, of course, you'll need to tweak them to accommodate your own living space. Your second option is to create wall mazes with sturdy floating shelves or a handful of [cat perches]. The third option is to simply rearrange chairs, foot stools, or any other solid pieces of furniture. Finally, the fourth method is to set up a series of cat tunnels with certain exits blocked off, thus creating that maze-like experience.
Once you have your maze set up, then what do you do? Well, you can simply let your cat explore, or you can pick that teaser wand back up and let him hunt his way through his new maze. If your kitty is food motivated, you might also try strategically placing his favorite treats throughout the labyrinthine tunnels. Since we mentioned that new toys can aid in spicing things up, a maze is a perfect place for introducing a remote-controlled mouse toy or a mouse-sized RC car.
This is a personal favorite, and if your cat likes swatting at things, it will probably be a favorite of his, too. The concept is simple, and all you need is a small, slightly weighted object and slick floors. To play kitty hockey, take your small object, sit on a tile or wood floor, then flick the object across the room. Once your cat hears all of the clattering, he'll come running and will likely start swatting away at the object until it makes its way back to you.
Now, you may be wondering what sort of object you can use. Pretty much anything. I've used over-sized checker pieces, small flying discs, and full cans of cat food. You can also make a homemade hockey puck from an empty cat food can. To do this, thoroughly clean the empty can, then sand off any sharp edges. Next, fill a small sealable bag with sand or dry beans. Finally, place the bag into the can, and cap it off with a can cover. If you find that your games are a little too aggressive for your homemade puck, then you can place a small bead of hot glue around the edges of your can prior to capping it off.
The neat thing about kitty hockey is that it can be changed up pretty easily. If you have another person in the house who is willing to play along, hockey can quickly become a game of keep-away. If your cat is a little freaked out by all the noise of the puck, then use a small, soft ball instead and bam! you've now started a game of soccer!
High Tech Games
There are plenty of electronic toys for cats, but there are also quite a few neat game apps for tech-loving felines. Most games are pretty hands-off for you, but will keep your kitty entertained for hours. These games might consist of simple laser-like spots, fish, birds, or bugs that dance around the screen, or may be made up of more intricate puzzles, or unique concepts like cat painting.
If you'd rather your gadgets remain off-limits to your sharp little pal, there are still plenty of other high tech games you can include your cat in. For example, if you don't have any of those kitty-centric contraptions laying around your house, but you do have a couple of RC cars, you can attach some teasers to them to create high-speed “mouse” toys. If your kitty is the brainy sort, you can easily create a small cardboard maze or race track, then let him puzzle his way to the car. This works fairly well, as the RC toy will likely be making a curious buzzing sound – which is all but certain to grab any cat's attention.
Aquatic Cat Games
If your cat likes water – and some do – then why not incorporate it into playtime? For these games you will need a washtub, sink, baby pool, or a bathtub. One game you can play is bobbing for toys. All you need is a handful of large caps, soft balls, or – if it's a particularly hot day – ice cubes. Place them in your water, and let your kitty come to the edge of the bath. If he's watching but not sure what to do, go ahead and run your hand through the water. Once he sees his toys gliding through the liquid, his natural hunting instincts will kick in and he'll start batting away at the bobbing items.
Another thing you can try is running a long teaser toy through the water. Start by gliding the toy just over the surface, then once kitty gets the gist of the game, you can start making things more exciting by dunking it below the waterline or slithering it up the walls.
If your cat truly doesn't mind getting wet, you can also play raindrops. This game is exactly what it sounds like. Once your kitty has come over to peek at your pool of water, dip your hand in it, then slowly bring it up and let the water “rain” from your fingers. If that's too mild, you can start flicking your fingers, letting the water fly around crazily. For some felines, these droplets can be a real treat to chase – both up in the air and down on the ground.
Whatever watery game you choose to play, just be sure to keep safety in mind. Make sure that your water is lukewarm. If you're using a sink, have a towel handy to keep the counters dry and avoid slipping. If you're playing in the bathtub, only fill it about a third of the way. Finally, never leave your buddy unsupervised; though many cats are surprisingly good swimmers, accidents can happen, so err on the side of caution.
Toys are fun, sure, but there's nothing that beats a good game. If your kitty's repertoire has grown stale, or if you simply want to introduce something novel into the mix, then it's important to keep a solid list of games you can play with your cat at the ready. These are just a few options, but there are plenty more out there. Get creative, experiment, and just keep playing!
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