There are so many benefits to be had from playing games with your pet – from engaging their natural wild urges to strengthening the bond between you. Having a pet should be fun for everyone so here are some games that you might like to try with your cat. They’ll give your pet a good physical and mental workout too, ensuring they are stimulated and content.

Fetch

Yes! Cats can be taught to play fetch, or at least chase after cat balls you throw for them. Playing fetch stimulates the part of the brain that a cat uses for hunting and chasing prey.

If you want to train your cat to retrieve, after they’ve got the cat ball or cat toy call them and reward them with a tasty cat treat if they return. After doing this a few times your cat is likely to get the idea but that doesn’t mean they’ll always be happy to retrieve.

Prey chasing

Cat teaser toys are great fun for cats as they mimic the process of stalking and pouncing on prey that is deeply ingrained within them. By dangling toys and making your cat chase and jump you’ll be tiring them out as well as fulfilling their natural hunting urges.

By interacting with your cat in this way through play you’ll be spending quality time together and strengthening the bond between you.

Ping pong

Ping pong balls are a big hit with most cats as they’re light and bounce well. Throw a ping pong ball against your wall so that it rebounds and see if your cat can catch it or try to bat it back.

Hide and seek

If you’ve got a kitty who comes when called you could try a game of hide and seek. Hide somewhere in the house and then call your cat to you. If they find you, give them a tasty cat treat and repeat the game by hiding in a different location.

If your cat gets the hang of the game and insists on following you to your hiding place, enlist the help of a friend or family member to sit with your cat until you call.

Trick training

If you’ve never tried to train your cat, perhaps you should give it a go. While it’s a different experience to dog training it is possible to teach cats tricks using positive reinforcement. They have to be in the mood though and your cat will soon let you know if they’re not interested.

Start by getting your cat to sit on command. Hold a cat treat in front of your cat so that they can smell it and slowly lift it up above their head. If they follow the cat treat with their eyes they will naturally sit back as you begin to move the treat above their head. When they reach a sitting position, praise them and give them the treat.

Repeat this over several days and introduce the command word ‘sit’ when their bottom hits the floor. Through prompt treating and repetition your cat should build a positive association between the action of sitting and receiving a cat treat so they will be more inclined to repeat the behaviour.

Important note

A game that used to be recommended for cats was to use a laser pointer to create a spot of light for a cat to chase and pounce on. While the running and jumping is good exercise, this sort of game can result in a cat becoming very frustrated at not being able to ‘catch’ their prey. There have been cases of cats biting or clawing people through having their predatory sequence stimulated without there being an end to it. When using laser pointer toys, it's recommended to provide your cat with another cat toy or treat for your cat to "catch" when playtime is over, bringing the hunt to an end.

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