Pet Cat Reclining
Credit: "Pet Cat Reclining" by Jean Beaufort on, licensed under CC0 1.0 (public domain).

Cats and kittens (and humans for that matter) need physical exercise and mental stimulation on a regular basis. Daily playing sessions are an excellent way to address that need. Regular play can also teach you a lot about your pet's personality and help the two of you bond even more. Here's a list with ten fun ideas to make your playtime more varied and exciting for both you and your favourite feline.

Kitten with String
Credit: "Kitten with string" by Stephan Czurat on, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5.

1. Catch the Bait

This is a classic, super fun cat game you can play in many different ways. You will need a stick approximately a yard long and a slightly longer piece of string. Tie your kittie's favourite toy or another intriguing object on the other end. Move it around on the floor or wave the stick upward so that your cat can jump and try to catch it mid air. Feather cat toys are useful for this game since they make excellent flying objects.

2. Bouncing Ball

Cats are famous for their agility and acrobatic skills. Their bodies are suitable for leaping high in the air and twisting in seemingly impossible ways. Throwing a small bounging ball around will make them jump after it in all directions! Make sure you choose a safe place to play in your home, idealy without many pieces of furniture around.

3. Food Hunt

Cats love to hunt but, of course, our pets don't have to work for their meals. There are many fun ways you can turn feeding time into an opportunity to hone their hunting skills. Take some dry food and toss it across the floor piece by piece. Your kittie probably won't miss the opportunity to chase after it! Take a treat and put it in a cup. She will either try to take the food out or knock the cup over with her paw. Another thing you could try is the food ball. Food balls are filled with dry food and, while pets play with them, some of the pieces come out.

4. Fetch

Contrary to popular belief, fetch isn't just for dogs. Bare in mind that not all felines will pick up this game right away and they might require a bit of training first. Find an empty space with no obstacles or distractions. If your cat has a favourite toy, use it- just make sure that it fits in her mouth so she can bring it back to you. Throw it and watch as she chases after it. Chances are she will pick it up and bring to you to throw again. Encourage your kittie with some healthy treats.

Cat Playing Fetch
Credit: "Marcus's cat playing fetch" by Tony Harrison on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

5. Hide and seek

All felines, even the smaller ones, are predators and love stalking their prey. A fun way to exercise your cats natural insticts is to become “prey” yourself. Hide out of sight, behind a sofa, table or other place in your home. Be on your guard though as cats are real pros at this game and you won't see her coming. A good idea is to keep your toes covered and redirect the surprise attack to a cat toy or other object.

6. Paper Bag

This one is definitely a feline favourite. The sound of crackling paper and the dark and mysterious opening intrigue cats more than anything. You really don't need to get anything fancy. Plain old paper shopping bag can become your pet's best friend. Place it on the floor and let your cat get familiar with it. To make things more interesting you could place a toy or a treat in this cosy hiding place. Once she gets inside, you can scratch and poke the paper from the outside while she counters the moves from within the bag.  

Cat Playing in a Paper Bag
Credit: "Playing in a Paper Bag" by Alisha Vargas on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

7. Bubble Fun

When we were children we loved blowing bubbles and watching them drift away. Pets also become fascinated with them, so why not entertain your beloved kitty with some bubble fun? Bare in mind that you should avoid the usual soapy kind because you don't really want it on your cat's eyes or even fur. Instead, try some pet friendly bubble mix, preferably catnip-scented. You will also need a clean wand or a bubble blower suitable for pets. Watch your cat become entranced as she gazes these strange objects flying around and chases after them.

A Cat and Some Bubbles
Credit: By Joseph82 on pixabay, licensed under CC0 (Public Domain).

8. Shadows and Light Reflections

During daytime try catching the light using a reflective surface like a small mirror or watch. Project the reflection onto a wall, the wall or another surface safe for your cat so she can chase it. Avoid lasers because they might harm your pet's eyes. During dusk turn off the lights in your home and cast some moving shadows (dangling a cat toy, for example) on a wall. The dark looming shapes will delight your cat and she will definitely try to grab them. Don't keep it up for too long because trying to catch something that can't be caught can be really frustrating. Switch to other toys before finishing the play session so that your kitty doesn't get too worked up.

9. Homemade toys

Who says you need to spend a ton of money on toys? Felines are actually very easy to please. For one thing, they seem to have a constant fixation with paper. Just Crumble a piece of paper into a ball, toss it on the floor and you'll have a hard time convincing them to let it go. Empty toilet paper tubes are also ideal for crafting simple cat toys like balls or rattlers. Your kitties will surely love them!

Cat with Homemade Cat Toys
Credit: "William with Homemade Cat Toys (3)" by Alisha Vargas on Flickr, licenced under CC BY 2.0.

10. Soccer

This can be a lot of fun for both your cat and you, but also a great way to work on her natural speed and agility. You will need a small light ball-if you get a hold on a miniature football, even better- and something to fashion into a goalpost. A small plastic or wire basket will do nicely, but you could also use a simple box or anything similar that is safe. There are many ways you might play this game. Let your cat become familiar with the ball by letting her dripple a bit. Another thing you can try is placing her in front of the goalpost and have a shoot out. If soccer isn't your cat's game or yours, don't worry. After all, there are so many other fun things you could try.