Have you ever wondered why your cat seemingly randomly starts knocking things off the counter? Most likely, it’s because they’re bored! The sensation and sounds that come from knocking things down can alleviate their boredom. But there’s a better way! By adding just a few minutes of dedicated play time with your cat each day, you can bust boredom, provide some exercise, work their brain and bond with them. Playtime is a great way for your cat to expend energy, satisfy their curiosity and spend time with you. There are many different modes of play to keep your cat’s mind and body active—from sitting at a window to watch birds fly by to playing with a new crinkle toy to burrowing in a new cardboard box—which leads to overall better health!
Here are 9 fun activities you can easily incorporate in your daily routine:
Fetch. With positive reinforcement and consistency, you can teach a cat to fetch a toy. Ideal fetch toys include pipe cleaners or fuzzy toys that resemble mice.
Hunt. Wands that feature a dangling toy on one end are perfect for mimicking a skittering mouse or a fluttering bird, and you can control the movement, encouraging your cat to jump for its “prey.”
Hide and Seek. Spark your cat’s hunting instinct by dropping kibble or treats in places around the house to encourage your cat to search for hidden treasures. If you’re consistent with this tactic, your cat will always enjoy seeking and finding while entertaining you as he hunts for treats.
Chase. Laser pointers can be great tools for encouraging your kitty to move. By controlling the pointer, you can mimic a bug or a fly on the wall. Be careful never to shine the laser directly in your cat’s eyes though. Allow your cat to occasionally catch his prey and reward it with a treat or your cat will become frustrated and tired of the game. No laser toy, no problem! You can toss or skid treats or kibble across the floor and watch your kitty chase their “prey”.
Bat the Tissue Paper. Ever notice when you’re wrapping gifts using tissue paper, your cat becomes a captive audience member? Cats love the sounds of crinkling paper. Toss a wadded piece of tissue paper into the air and watch your cat pounce and bat at the paper. Your cat will enjoy wrestling with the paper and you are certain to enjoy watching him delightfully wallow around in it.
Teach a New Trick. Tricks and training are not just for dogs! The same techniques work on cats too. With positive reinforcement, you can teach your cat things like how to high-five, come when called and sit. Check out our article on How To Train Your Cat for tips.
Build a Cat Playground. Use boxes, tubes, cat trees, paper bags, and shelves to create a playground or obstacle course for your cat to explore. Make sure to put the items away and put them together in a different order next time to keep things interesting. You can even hide treats in different parts of the course to encourage them to explore.
Make a Ball Pit. Fill an empty box with ping pong balls and watch your cat disappear in and out of the balls as he jumps around in his homemade ball pit.
Blow Bubbles. Watch your kitty go gaga over catnip bubbles. Blow these scented bubbles into the air and watch your cat jump, dart and pounce as the bubbles descend to the ground.
For years, cats have lived in the shadow of dogs, but cats are actually brilliant adventurous creatures that are capable of far more than eating mice, basking in the sun and sleeping on the sofa. So, give some of these a try and play with your cat every day. Your cat will thank you for it – and you may just find their anxiety and boredom, as well as some destructive behaviors that go with it, subside.
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