1. Play a Fun Cat Game with a Cat Toy
Keep a basket of cat toys at the ready and spend about 15 minutes at a time, two times per day playing with your cat. This provides them physical exercise and mental stimulation, helping to stave off boredom and obesity.
Try a string-on-a-stick cat teaser toy, a laser pointer or light toy, a fishing rod toy, or a snapback stretchy toy and let kitty watch, plan, chase, and capture. Try to make sure they end with the satisfaction of a good catch, if possible.
Tip: rotate your stash of cat toys to keep it interesting.
2. Make a DIY Cat Toy to Keep them Busy
Try toying with kitty with one (or more!) of these household items that double as great cat toys:
- Ping pong balls and small whiffle balls
- Pipe cleaners wrapped into a spring shape
- Paper towel or toilet paper roll
- Ice cubes
- Ball of paper
- Ball of aluminum foil
3. Play with Your Cat without Toys
If you don’t have any toys handy or just want to change it up, trying to play with your cat without a toy at all. You can hold out your finger and encourage kitty to follow it, moving it around behind their head or out of sight and encourage them to “hunt” it. You can also put your hands or feet under a blanket or the covers and move them for kitty to investigate.
Warning: an exuberant playful kitty may use their claws as part of play so teach your cat to be gentle and retract their claws or try wearing a glove to protect your hand if you’re nervous about kitty scratches or nibbles.
4. Play Hide & Seek, Tag or Fetch with Your Cat
Games you played with your friends as a kid are also fun to play with your cat. Try the classics: tag, hide-and-seek, and fetch to get your cat curious and engaged, and to bond with them.
- Hide-and-seek. You can play this both ways: you calling out and looking for your cat and being delighted when you find them or you hiding and letting your cat find you. Remember, cats love to hide and so looking for them daily can be fun for both of you. If you’re going to hide and hope your cat finds you, make sure your cat is playing the game with you. Pull along a string toy to get them to chase and then hide and see if they find you.
- Tag. Get your cat to chase you and let them catch you and when they take off at a run, you can follow them and “tag” with an affectionate boop and a rub.
- Fetch. Like dogs, some cats will run after items you throw for them. Some will pounce and toss the item and others will bat it back toward you. You may even have a cat who will pick up the item in their mouth and bring it back to you – or at least toward you. Try fetch with springy items that zing farther or use simple household items like balled up paper or a hair tie.
5. Spend Time Brushing Your Cat
Most cats enjoy being brushed and you get to spend time being close to kitty. Brushing your cat removes dirt and dead hair from their coat and improves kitty’s skin by helping get rid of skin flakes and improving circulation.
6. Watch “Cat TV” Together
Either put on an aquarium or bird channel on your television or set up a bird feeder in front of a window to entertain kitty. Watch kitty’s show along with them.
7. Create a Cat Treat Puzzle
Try putting cat treats down inside a closed box and cut holes big enough for kitty to put their paws down into. This will encourage your cat to reach down inside and plan how to get the treats out. You can also convert a toilet paper roll into a cat treat dispenser by folding down the ends and making a hole in the center. Kitty will learn to bat the treat holder around until the treats exit the hole.
Give kitty praise when they figure it out!
8. Make a Cardboard Box Playground
It’s a fact. Cats love cardboard boxes and paper bags (without handles). Set some up around the house for investigation and testing. Turn some on their sides and keep some right side up for variety. Try putting some treats or toys inside to encourage exploring and hunting. Boxes at different elevations is also fun!
Tip: if you work from home with your cat, try putting a cat-size box on your desk so kitty can curl up nearby and be part of your workday. Hopefully the box will be more interesting than your keyboard, but there are no guarantees.
9. Set Up Cat Apps on Your Tablet
You may not believe it, but there are apps for your phone or tablet that are designed especially for cats. They simulate the hide and seek prey instincts your kitty loves. Search your tablet’s app store for “apps for cats” and see which ones will be your kitty’s favorites.
10. Blow Bubbles with Kitty
Dip your bubble wand into commercial bubbles or make your own with diluted dish soap and create a single bubble or a cascade of them. Kitty will enjoy watching you blow bubbles and may try to catch ones that fall or even in mid-air. This can be an especially fun activity for sitting together on the porch or enjoying the mid-afternoon slant of sunshine that is kitty’s favorite.
11. Take a Cat Nap Together
Cats sleep 12 to 16 hours per day and are often ready to curl up for a cat nap. If you’ve been sitting still or engrossed in an activity for some time, kitty may come around and meow or bid for your attention. This is a perfect opportunity to go play with your cat, or head to the couch or bed for a quick snuggle. Cats love to cuddle up with their parents, make biscuits on their laps and bump their heads against our chins.
An activity with your cat doesn’t have to be “active” in the sense of physical exercise. You can be actively napping and sleeping and snuggling are valid activities to do with your cat.
Other Fun Activities to Interact with Your Cat
Always make sure that whatever activity you choose to do with your cat is one that’s fun for your cat. It’s not “things to do to your cat,” it’s “things to do with your cat.” Despite some funny viral videos online, it’s not a good idea to scare your cat with produce, drop your cat or do anything your cat isn’t into.
Here are some other ideas for fun things to do with your cat.