A cat sleeping on a person’s lap with a beige blanket in the background.

Cats are often portrayed as being lazy or laid-back — and while we generally love their chill and aloof attitude towards everything (including us… the people who house and feed them) — there’s one thing that can get them excited: playtime!

Playing games with your cat can bring out their frisky and curious side, but that’s not all! Playtime is important because it holds many benefits — it helps them exercise, destress, and stimulates their mind.

Besides, what better way to bond with them than having some fun together?

That said, here are 11 must-try cat toys and games for your furry feline!

A woman holding a Bengal cat in a modern kitchen with a yellow wall.

How Long Should You Play With Your Cat?

According to experts:

  • Adult cats need at least 20-30 minutes of play daily
  • Kittens need more time and attention. 40 minutes of playtime per day is recommended.

To make playtime more effective, you can split it into shorter sessions throughout the day, depending on how your cat’s feelings and energy levels. You can also keep your cat interested and challenged by mixing up their games and toys!

11 Games To Play With Your Cat!

1. Laser pointer

This one’s a classic! Cats love chasing that red dot around. Not only does it get them moving, but it also appeals to their natural hunting instinct by being an irresistible moving target!

You can point the laser dot around on your floor, walls, furniture, etc. However, use this toy with caution and moderation — avoid hurting them by pointing it at their eyes or anything fragile.

A gray and white cat playing with a purple feather toy.

2. Feather wand

Another simple but effective toy is the feather wand! Feather wands are among the most entertaining and interactive toys for cats, and they come in a range of shapes, sizes, and features. You can wave them, drag them or flick them in front of your cat and encourage them to pounce, swipe and jump!

Tip: Try hiding the feather wand behind a corner or under a blanket to make it more exciting!

3. Puzzle feeder

A puzzle feeder is a toy that dispenses food or treats when your cat solves a puzzle. For example, your cat may have to push a button, slide a lever or spin a wheel to get the reward. This game can challenge your cat’s intelligence and satisfy their appetite too!

4. Paper bag

Give your cat a paper bag and they’re going to make a party out of it!

Cats love exploring new things, and they especially enjoy things that give them tactile and auditory stimulation.

A paper bag can be an engaging game — you can even fill it with some treats and toys and let your cat play detective!

Another way to play is by cutting some holes in the bag and poking your fingers or a feather wand through them to arouse your cat’s interest.

A grey and white cat sitting next to a pile of cardboard boxes on a wooden floor.

5. Cardboard box

If your cat is done ripping that paper bag to shreds… try a cardboard box! With new smells and textures, a cardboard box can help fulfil your cat’s desire to investigate, scratch, and bite. You can cut some windows or doors in the box, letting your cat crawl in and out — or you can stack some boxes together into a tunnel or a fort for your cat to explore!

Cardboard boxes are also known to offer a sense of security and privacy for cats because they resemble a shelter. Adding this to their toy collection can help reduce anxiety and boost their mood!

6. Fetch

Fetch is not just a game for dogs! Some cats love retrieving objects that you throw for them, such as balls, toys or crumpled paper. Find something that your cat likes and teach them to bring it back to you.

A tabby cat jumping to catch an orange ball in a room with a window.

7. Ping-pong ball

Cheap and simple — a ping-pong ball will never fail to make your cat perk up!

You can bounce, roll, and throw them around and give your cat a fun chase. These toys can stimulate their hunting instincts and challenge their coordination, agility, and speed.

A word of caution: Ping-pong balls should be used with care and supervision because they can pose a choking hazard or cause injuries to cats.

8. Tag

Tag is another game that you can play with your cat without any toys. You just need to run around your house and chase your cat or let them chase you!

A woman playing with a Bengal cat with a fishing pole string on a yellow bed with a striped painting on the wall.

9. Fishing pole

With a rod, a string, and a lure, a fishing pole toy is full of movement and stimulation. You can use it to mimic the movements of a fish or a bird and awaken your cat’s inner hunter. Playing with fishing poles has been reported to reduce stress and aggression in cats, whilst exercising their intelligence, reflexes, problem-solving skills, and more.

However, they do come with the risk of injury or ingestion as cats may be tempted to swallow the lure. Make sure that you don’t leave your cat alone while playing!

10. Digital games

Get creative with your cat’s playtime — go digital! There are plenty of apps and games on your smartphone that can capture your cat’s attention. These games are designed to mimic the movements and sounds of animals, insects or lasers that your cat can play with!

11. Hide-and-seek

No toys? No worries!

The always trusty hide-and-seek can be a fun game to try with your cat! You just need to hide somewhere in your house and call your cat’s name. Your feline seeker will try to find you by following your voice or scent. When they do, you can reward them with praise, treats or cuddles. This game is also a wonderful way to bond with your pet.

A small orange tabby kitten playing with a colorful feather toy on a wooden floor.

We hope you and your cats have a fun time playing these games! Not only are they a great source of entertainment, but they also make for a key part of your cat’s daily routine to keep them happy and healthy. Remember: always supervise your cat during playtime to avoid accidental injuries. That said, happy playing!

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