The kids are home for the summer and want to play with the cat. Yet cats are the ultimate couch potato. They sleep practically all day except for some 30-minute spans when they perk up and decide to do something active. Here are some fun small games they can all play together for just a few minutes at a time.
Hide cat treats in a puzzle feeder, in the cups of a muffin tin under some crushed paper, a kitchen towel, or inside an open box, so your kitty has to dig for his snack.
Quietly pull a belt along the floor, or across the bed, wiggling it just a little. Once it gets his attention, watch him stalk it and then pounce!
Dangle a textured or webbed belt in the air for him to catch. But be careful not to pull it away fast or you will hurt his claws.
Some cats love to play in the sink with just a tiny stream of water coming from the faucet. Others enjoy bubblers, which are floor-level water fountains for pets to drink from. Surprise your pet with one of these and perhaps put some simple plastic cat toys in it that will bob when kitty taps them.
Get some bubble stuff that is safe for cats (at pet stores or online) and enjoy watching them chase and pop the bubbles. This is great fun for the kids as well. Anything from simple cat balls with bells inside or covered with netting for easier claw-catching, or translucent bounce balls that light up, makes a hallway into a raceway as the kids sit at each end to roll the ball back and forth. See if you can get your kitty to catch paper wads. It’s marvelous to watch them catch them.
Climb and Leap
Set up a series of things to encourage your kitty to climb up, with a reward at the top, so he will navigate the series to get his treat and then either leap or climb down. For example, start with a shoe box that sits next to a step stool, next to a chair that sits close enough to a table, where a bowl of food awaits.
Make sure your cat is having fun with these games. If he doesn’t like one, try another. If he does not want to play at all, please respect that. Whenever your cat accomplishes the goal, praise him and give him lots of affection. Then everyone can go back to the couch to watch Cat TV together.