How to Play with a Cat [plus 3 Beginner Games]Last updated: by Jessi Larson Affiliate Disclosure: We hope you love the products we've recommended! As an Amazon Associate we earn a small share from qualifying purchases.
How to play with a cat might seem like a mystery if you’ve never owned a cat or played with one before. To help, we’ll break down everything you need to know!
Cats are fickle creatures with a wide range of personalities. No two cats are alike, but there are general tips and tricks you can employ when playing with a new furry friend.
To learn how to play with a cat, you should be patient and open to trying out several different ideas.
Also, think about toys, whether that’s making your own or buying some. Your cat might be a little skeptical of play, so toys are a must in this scenario.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to play with a cat.
How to Play with a Cat: Your Mindset
First of all, no matter what your situation is, you need to be patient. If your cat is new to your family, remember that this is the beginning of your relationship with them.
You haven’t established trust yet, so your cat might not be open to playing with you early on. After all, learning how to play in a brand new environment is hard!
Or maybe you’re trying to learn how to play with a cat because you have a one who doesn’t like to play.
Sometimes, especially as they get older, a cat’s personality just isn’t as playful. You can try, but just like with people, it’s difficult to change a cat’s personality.
Keep an open mindset as you try to play with your cat and don’t overwhelm them.
When you are first learning how to play with a cat, you should also make sure you have the right approach or technique.
First, call the cat by his or her name to get them to come to you. You can try making different noises that sound like a cat, too, to make them feel more at ease.
Try not to pick up your cat and move them. Especially if it’s your first time playing with your cat, picking them up can make them feel frightened or irritated.
If you have a tiny kitten, however, it’s okay to pick them up and move them given their size.
How to play with a cat depends on the age and personality of the feline and on your relationship!
Make sure you don’t try to play with your cat while they are eating. Just like big cats in the wild, cats do not like to be disturbed while they’re eating.
Once you and your cat are in the same room and paying attention to each other, it’s time to start with some fun toys. You can make your own using supplies from a craft store or buy toys specifically for cats.
Tease toys are a great option. You can bond with your cat by having them chase a feather or a bell on a stick.
If there’s a ribbon, make sure your cat can’t swallow it. That means as soon as the ribbon falls off, it needs to go right in the trash. Never leave ribbons or strings lying around since that’s a choking hazard.
You can also try to play with your cat using rubber or plastic balls, motorized toys and stuffed animals.
Playing together can be challenging at first. But once you get a hang of it, you and your cat will both have a ton of fun.
Games to Play with Your Cat
If you’re looking for games to play with your cat, then you’ve come to the right place. There are lots of great options out there!
Some of the games involve toys we’ve already mentioned, while others only require objects you probably already have in your home.
Here are three great games to play with your cat when you first get started.
Crumple Paper Chase
Here’s a super simple starter game, and it only requires a piece of paper.
To get started, take a piece of paper and crumple it up into a ball. The noise will get your cat’s attention.
Once you have your cat’s attention, take the paper and bounce it across the floor like a mouse. (Just be careful – your cat might scratch you while she’s chasing the paper.)
If you want to minimize the risk of being scratched, toss the paper and watch as your cat chases after it, and repeat the process until one or both of you gets tired or bored!
Of course, not every cat will be interested. But many cats are.
For best results, try this game on a hardwood or tile floor. That way the paper will bounce farther.
Paper Bag Tag
Another option is the paper bag tag game. All you’ll need for this is a brown paper lunch bag.
To start, put your hand inside the bag, poke around and see if your cat goes after your hand.
If your cat doesn’t, then you can try luring them inside the bag with a treat and then poking from the outside to see if you’ll get a reaction!
One note: If your cat has sharp claws, it may be a good idea to put on gloves.
Cats like to fetch too! Some people might not believe it, but it’s absolutely true.
To play fetch with your cat, start by taking a toy that they like and toss it. If your cat likes catnip, you can also use a catnip-filled toy at first to entice them.
Next, encourage them to bring the toy back to you by rewarding them with a treat and affection.
Start by throwing the ball a short distance until your cat gets a hang of it, and then gradually increase how far you throw it.
Final Thoughts: How to Play with a Cat
Playing with a cat is a great way to bond with them and show your love. It’s also excellent for a cat’s mental and physical health.
The three games noted above are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many great games to play with your cat.
Once you know how to play with a cat the right way, the sky is the limit. Keep trying out different ideas until you find out just how your cat likes to play!