Play is an important part of a cat’s physical, mental and emotional development. From an early age, cats enjoy playing with just about anything that tickles their curiosity.
Games provide cats with not only the mental stimulation and exercise they need to lead a happy and healthy life, but also an opportunity to help bond and build trust and affection between you and your cat, says Kristina Vesk, CEO of the Cat Protection Society NSW Inc.
“Indoor cats need enough stimulation so they don’t get bored. Although cats sleep a lot, you will need to provide at least 30 minutes a day of play time for your cat, even older cats,” she says.
Cats will hunt, pounce, chase, play hide-and-seek and do flip flops over things that move and make a noise. If you have a kitten, just be sure the games you play does not involve small bits or loose parts of toys that can be swallowed, Ms Vesk says.
“Some cats have a dangerous appetite for eating wool, so any kind of string or wool games (i.e. fishing toys) must always be supervised, and don’t leave them lying around or you could find yourself at the vet,” she says.
Ideas for Games
Ms Vesk shares some games that you and your cat can enjoy playing together:
- Throw a small ball (ie ping pong or tennis ball) on the floor or against a wall and watch your cat bounce with it. You can also crumple a piece of paper and roll it across the floor to get a funny reaction from your cat.
- Cut a long piece of yarn, ribbon or string and drag it behind you across the floor or furniture. Your cat will bolt right after it!
- Play hide-and-seek with your cat. Hide behind furniture and your cat will stalk you like a lion. You’ll be attacked before you know it!
- Put a newspaper on the floor and place your cat on top of it, attracting his attention with your fingers wiggling under the crinkly newspaper or blowing up the edges of the newspaper a little. Your little dancer won't know which corner to hip-hop on first!
- Like small children who play with the Christmas wrapping rather than the toys inside, cats love packaging, especially cardboard boxes - great place to hide and jump out to scare you!