Gray kitten sitting on the floor and playing with a mouse

How to Play with Cats?

Learning how to play with your pet is essential for the personal development of your feline. It is also the best way to spend time with your new best friend. Cat’s like quick-moving, bright, and texturized toys that keep their hunter instincts practicing but there are many ways to interact with your pet.

Cats are relatively low maintenance animals when it comes to grooming and care, but they are certainly complicated when it comes to understanding them. Knowing your pet and how it communicates is essential for bonding and playing with your cat. To keep them healthy, it is recommended to spend 10 to 15 minutes playing with your cat. If you’re at a loss on how to begin, here are some games and tips to help you.

Bonding with Your Cat

Girl is hugging the cat

Cats can be difficult to understand. This is largely in part to their limited understanding of human behavior, so you need to understand their language. Which is mostly interpreting what their body language is speaking to you.

Like humans, cats have their own personalities. When your feline is in a good mood you may notice a confident strut with big eyes and a slightly arched back. If you witness this then it’s a good time to interact with her.


Cats adore being pet and groomed. A good scratching behind their ears, back, and chin will be greatly appreciated both for you and your pet. This is because the interaction helps to lower anxiety and bring comfort to both of you.

Some cats even enjoy being brushed. This is not only a good way to keep you interacting, but it helps the health of your pet’s coat. This will help to keep down any fleas, ticks, or other insects that get caught in her fur.

It is also a wonderful way to grow a bond between you before you attempt to play. The more you interact with your cat, the easier it will be to train her. So really get to know your new friend.


White black cat with the harness

Training your cat can be tedious, but certainly not impossible. Try implementing reward-based training when you want your cat to behave a certain way. Starting with simple maneuvers is a good way to get your cat adjusted to the idea.

For instance, a small move such as “shake” would be a good starting point for training your cat. Trying grasping your cat’s paw and shaking it. Then give your pet a tasty reward such as chicken, seafood, or beef flavored treats.

Soon you can let your cat try on their own. Just hold out your hand to your cat and speak a command. When she places her paw in yours, reward her with a treat.

Your cat will begin to associate obeying a command with receiving food. This will make training for more difficult tasks easier in the future.

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When to Leave Your Cat Alone

This is not always the case, as many cats are prone to mood swings. Take caution when your cat has her ears back, hair puffed, and especially if your pet is hissing. This means it’s time to respect her personal space and give her some alone time.

Some mood swings can be more subtle. A cat’s tail can tell you a lot about what they are feeling. If you’ve ever noticed a cat’s tail whipping back and forth, they are anxious.

This could be a territorial situation where a cat wants you out of their space. It could also be the same signifier to other cats. During this time, it’s best to not come near her territory.

Your cat’s relaxing time may seem like a good time to interact with them, but this is not accurate. When your cat is lounging about you should allow them their space. She is calm, but any attempt to interrupt her quiet time may be a threat.


Cats use their meows as a form of communicating with their own. The noises mimic the same noises they use when talking to their kitten. This is because, to your cat, you are their kitten.

If you find your cat wandering around meowing, then she probably wants your attention. Meow at her and she will probably mimic the action back. It’s like singing together or having a little conversation.

Playing Fetch with Your Cat

Play with cat

No, playing fetch is not just limited to entertaining your dog. Cat’s are also capable of understanding the demands for chasing after a thrown object. It’s the return that gets tricky.

In order to train your cat, you are going to need to remember one major thing: patience. Your cat will not likely bring back the toy on the first go. If she does, then you have saved yourself a great deal of time.

For those of us with more stubborn pets, it might take quite some time for the return to happen. This is where the patience comes into play. Throwing the toy will be a breeze, but you’re going to have to regain it multiple times and repeat until your cat grasps the concept.

A key factor to remember is that you need to wait. Don’t take the toy from her mouth, but instead let her find a spot to drop it. Your cat will begin to associate dropping the toy by you as a quicker way to keep playing.

It may take several tries, but it’s a simple and fun way to get your cat to exercise.

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Cats and Paper

Have you ever noticed your furry feline getting excited over a paper bag? Maybe it’s the idea of a comfortable hiding spot or the loud noises the bag makes when attacked. Whatever the reason, cats love paper.

This makes it an ideal toy when you’re playing with your cat. You can ball up old newspapers and throw them for your cat to bounce around. It’s an excellent source of exercise and an inexpensive way to offer your cat play time.

Using the Feather and String Method

When a cat is playing, she’s just practicing hunting. String may seem like a simple, silly thing to us, but cats absolutely love it. The withering of the string reminds cats of a rat tail or snake which they hunt.

It’s also adorable to watch but be careful. String can be dangerous for cats so don’t leave them with it unattended. It’s very easy for the string to get wrapped around their necks and cut off circulation.

For added fun, try to attach some feathers to the string. This is especially fun for cats with an interest in birds. The feathers will send your cat into predatory mode and she will pounce what she assumes to be a bird.

For a complete setup, you can add a stick to your end of the string. This allows you to dangle the string away from your cat. Which will, in turn, cause her to jump and try to catch it.

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If you’re not feeling the idea of string or you just don’t feel it is safe, then you can use a light to play with your cat. No worries of constriction and it will keep your friend entertained for some time. Sounds like a good choice, but how can a cat play with light?

All you really need is a flashlight. This is especially fun if your power is out or you’re in a dark room. Aim the light at the wall and see how high your cat can jump.

Don’t push your cat too far. She will get excited over this game and will try to get the light no matter how high it is. Know your cat’s limitations, but still have fun.

It is possible to purchase a red light for your cat as well. These are particularly designed for cats and offer a little red laser that your cat can chase. You can dot it across the floor and watch as she scatters to catch it.

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Tablet Games for Cats

Yes, there’s an app for that too. By purchasing your cat a tablet, you grant access to several applications your feline can enjoy. This will keep them entertained, but also allow them some independence.

How does that work? Well, you can download applications that allow your cat to chase an animation on the screen. This can include a fishpond, mouse, or lights.

You may feel silly buying your cat a tablet, but they’ll be happy you did. Plus, it’s entertaining to watch your furry critter trying to catch the fish over and over.

Playing Tag

If you prefer to be more interactive with your cat, then you may enjoy a game of chase. For some felines, tag just comes in their playful nature. You may have noticed a set of cats at play and one pounces the other.

This type of behavior could be translated to what humans would consider tag or chase. Some owners even have cats that will jump at their legs in the morning, then run away. It’s a way of greeting you when waking up.

When your cat is in this playful manner, you could tap them back and run away. Try hiding behind a corner then peaking your head out slightly. Your cat will probably stall and stare at you with wide eyes.

If your cat does this, try playing a game of “peek a boo” with your pet. Duck your head back in, wait, then look back at your cat. It’s likely your cat has stalked in a bit closer.

Keep repeating the peak a boo gesture until your cat finally looks around to see you. When it does this, take off into another room. Do this for about 10 to 15 minutes and you’ll both get in some exercise.

Preventing Boredom

Cats get bored with toy

Just like humans, cats get bored with the same games. Therefore, it is important to rotate between interactions and not monotonously do the same thing every day. Eventually, your cat will become unamused and wander away.

When a cat becomes bored, they are more prone to stress. During these times they may begin overeating or over licking themselves. For the better mental and physical state of your cat, it’s best to keep them active.

One proven way to kick boredom is by making your pet work for their food. You can purchase a puzzle feeder to help keep your pet stimulated. Your pet will find having to stalk their prey rewarding to their animalistic instincts.

Product data was last updated on 2023-02-03.

"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this."
-- Terry Pratchett

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