Cat play is the chance to have some serious fun with your kitty. Cats seem to have two phases in life, they are either juvenile or senile – either way, it’s game on. Every cat has its own personality, but it is safe to say that most cats crave routine… except when it comes to cat play. Although cats love the status quo, they also love to have their senses and intellect stimulated. Cat play brings out their wild side. One of the best ways to stimulate your nomadic kitty is to change up the toys and games often.
This does not mean you are required to pack a box of bulky toys, but it does mean that you may need to think outside the box, or if you are thinking like a cat, inside the box (yes, a cardboard box is a great start).
What to use to play with your cat
- Big Box
- Small Box
- Multiple Boxes
- Obstacle Course
- Mountains Climbing
- Homemade Toys
What to use to play with your cat
Never let a good cardboard box go to waste no matter how big or small. There are so many things to do with the box. It is easy to find boxes when traveling.
Cut holes in the side. Make sure the hole is big enough for a paw to fit through. Beware, the tiger in that box can do a lot of damage if the claws connect with your skin. An effective replacement for fingers is a scrunched-up piece of paper tied to a shoelace or heavy string. Be careful not to use string small enough that it can be ingested.
Even small boxes (like a shoebox) can be fun. Throw in a ping pong ball or scrunched-up paper and watch the games begin.
Been on a big shopping trip and have multiple boxes? Don’t let the opportunity go to waste, build a clubhouse. All nomads have that essential item sitting around, a roll of trusty duct tape. Get it out and tape those boxes together. Add some spice by cutting out windows and doors. Spice up the game by hiding your cat’s favorite toys throughout the fort.
In addition to your fort, you can use multiple boxes to build an obstacle course. Create tunnels and use empty paper towel tubes to create balance beams. Use small boxes to create jumps. You may have to entice your cat with some treats. That’s part of the fun.
When traveling the open road of the nomadic life, boxes are usually short-term fun. Cats love that because they are likely to get bored if the boxes are always around. Give it a try and let your imagination go wild. Kitty will thank you for the entertainment.
There are many cat fishing poles on the market. Check out the JJYPet Retractable Cat Toy Wand. The cool thing about this toy is that it has assorted interchangeable feathers, so kitty doesn’t get bored by the same old toy. And, as a bonus, you receive a collapsible tunnel, which would make a great addition to the obstacle course. Easy to store and tons of fun all wrapped up in one product.
Okay, perhaps not mountain climbing as we know it. But, we can pretend because cats love to climb. Your retractable toy wand will come in handy for this game. If you have a cat scratching post, perhaps kitty climbs it. Most traveling nomads do not have the room for a bulky item like a stand-alone climbing pole, so improvisation is in order. Use your feathered wand and drag it over any safe item for kitty to climb, like a seat or camping chair. You will want to make sure (as with all games) that kitty gets to win at least half of the time (or more) because there is nothing worse than a cat with a sore loser attitude going on.
We’ve discussed cardboard boxes and crumpled paper on a shoelace. Your imagination only holds back homemade toys. Once you start thinking about cat toys, you will see them everywhere. Empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls, and of course, the good old paper bag are a few ideas that will not disappoint.
Don’t forget the lowly blanket for a good game of hide & seek. Watch the fingers as this game can quickly become dangerous when the tiger decides to pounce or shred.
If someone in the family happens to be a golfer, give up a golf ball to kitty and watch the games begin.
Not all cats, and therefore cat play, are alike. Especially when it comes to lasers, it appears to be a “love it or hate it” kind of cat play toy. Some cats (like ours) get frustrated and walk away. Other cats (not like ours) will spend hours chasing that little red dot.
The PetDroid Boltz Motion Activated Cat Laser Toy Automatic, USB Rechargeable Battery/Fast, and Slow Random Pattern is a great LASER toy for cats.
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Be your cat’s partner
Okay, this one is a bit out there, but if you have a social (as in likes other cats) cat, then you may want to consider getting a partner for him or her. This is not recommended if your cat is older or has lived alone for a long time because you can go through all the introductions and have it never work out. If you are interested in having two cats, it is best to start with two who are bonded or kittens.
Two cats who get along make awesome cat playmates. They like to chase, and wrestle ensuring regular exercise and play for both. That said, it can be difficult living in a small space with two cats. Think twice the trouble; then again, you have access to twice the cuddles. Great for some people (we would be happy to be overrun with cats), not so great for others.
Take A Walk
We walk the cat daily. It is very stimulating and great exercise. The more you walk with the cat on a leash, the more they will come to enjoy it.
When we are not traveling, we keep our cat walking off-leash as we have a large property. Our cat follows us all over the yard and loves to wait until we are on the other side of the yard and then runs to us. Great exercise.
This works for some cats, not for others. If you are going to teach your cat to fetch, make sure you use an easy (small enough) toy for your cat to carry. Scrunched-up paper is great. Playing fetch takes training, which means treats are (or should be) involved. Be aware that some cats are more trainable than others.
If you have succeeded in the fetch game, you have a trainable cat. Feel free to go on and teach kitty to roll over, shake a paw, sit or jump through your arms. Intense training is great for bonding and mental (for both of you) stimulation. Just remember, patience is a virtue.
Computer (Tablet) Games
We discussed playing fetch, which can be crazy enough for some cat owners to envision; now you may be starting to think we are getting far-fetched. But no, there really are apps for cats. These apps feature fish, mice, and other graphics that some (not all) cats love to chase around the screen.
You can download a game on your tablet or computer. Check out these 7 apps for cats listed in PC World. Some are free, so download and see how kitty goes.
Turn Scratching Into A Game
Scratching is a natural behavior. And just because you embrace nomadic traveling life in a small space doesn’t mean the cat will stop; they won’t.
Cat scratching poles are downright big and bulky. Rarely will traveling nomads have a place to fit one. This means you have to be imaginative. Wrapping jute around a table leg is a good start. Also, having a throw rug (mat) made from jute helps.
You can also buy products such as the Bergan Turbo Cat Scratcher that doubles as a cat toy.
Scratching is a necessity for your cat. Reasons your cat scratches; to keep nails healthy, stretch, leave their scent, and stress reliever (not for you) for kitty. As you can tell, scratching is a complex and vital part of feline life.
Turn Eating Into A Game
Place a treat under an upside-down plastic cup. Kitty will have to figure out how to knock over the cup to get to the treat. This game takes some training. Until your cat understands the game, frustration may set in. It is up to you to read the cues and respond by helping kitty out.
Questions People Ask
How Do I Know My Cat Wants To Play?
Watch for the clues in your cat’s behavior. Kitty might spontaneously play with an object or start darting about attacking anything in their way. Watch for dilated pupils, ears flattened laterally, and frozen postures or crouched legs. Your cat may also vocalize to let you know it’s time for cat play.
How Do I Know If My Cat Doesn’t Want To Play?
Have you ever watched someone doing something silly, and you thought, “what an idiot”? If you look closely, you will be able to tell that is what kitty is saying as you try to get a game going. You may get a few feeble attempts to placate you, or kitty might not be receptive at all.
Never force your cat to play or be trained. What a cat likes one day might not have anything to do with the next day. That is why cats are cats. Finicky creatures that they are.
Won’t Kitty Get Bored With These Games?
Not if you change cat play regularly. Rotate the cat toys so your cat will not get bored. Hide some toys away and only give kitty a few at a time. And rotate the cat play. This helps to keep playtime fresh.
What If Kitty Gets Frustrated?
You must let your cat catch their “prey” during a play session. This will alleviate frustration. Play sessions are supposed to be fun, and so is winning. So, let kitty win more than she loses.
What If The Play Gets Rough?
If you let it, cat play is likely to get rough as cats play to kill. It is their instinct. For this reason, never use your fingers or toes to play with your cat. It is up to you to train your cat on what is acceptable play and what isn’t.
As soon as you perceive body language that indicates your cat is on the hunt, it is time to bring out the toys or make time for a game. If you are consistent in what behavior you allow and what you don’t permit, your cat will start to understand that you (personally) are not the toy to play with.