Some cat-play is purely for my entertainment. The other type is so I can sleep past 5 am.
Sometimes when I play with Blue, it’s all for me. I think Blue would prefer not to be doted on like she’s a toy or a human baby, so this type of play is to keep me entertained. Blue isn’t a huge fan of her pink frilly dress, being wrapped in a burrito blanket, and will only tolerate bouts of extreme cuddling and face mushing. But she has no choice as that’s the fee she pays for a lifetime of poopscooping and two meals a day. As you can see, doodling on my cat also falls into the first type.
Otherwise, besides Blue’s endless pile of cat mice, feathers, her scratching post, and tree we also engage in the type of play that Blue loves. Blue loves to chase, catch, wrestle, and fight with things that fight back. Since we are currently a one cat home, I become the other cat/mouse/monster. mewr!
Finally and most importantly, it seems that exercise could make your cat smarter. NY Times just published a great article that found that mice who exercised performed better on cognitive tests compared to mice that did not. Even mice with a rich and varied diet and lots of fun colorful toys which they loved did not matter as much. So, whatever methods you use to play with your cat, make them work for it!
So, at the risk of exposing all the embarrassing things I do with my cat, here are the 4 games that Blue loves to play.
4: Reverse Peek a Boo.
Demonstrated very clearly in the YouTube sensation ninjacat, cats love to play with eye contact. If I’m looking at Blue, and she is in an inquisitive mood, eye contact is not an optional requirement. If I hold my palm up to block her view of my eyes, or move in a way so that there is an object between our line of sight, she will move just enough to regain eye contact. So, with dodging and moving, I can make her move all around and eventually come so close that she’s in my face. Doesn’t matter that she can see the rest of my body, somehow the rule of the game is eye contact, and she will win.
This is when go “rawr” and chase her like I want to eat her. At first Blue was terrified and simply hid under the bed, but when I then ran away, she started to catch on that it was a game. Now she loves to tear back and forth around the house between chasing me and being chased. I just wish she wouldn’t initiate play with a hearty chomp to the ankles.
2. Pet my belly. not!
This one is when she rolls over and bares her belly acting oh-so-submissive and cute. Then, as you coo and lean down to rub her inviting belly, she will attack/kick/ bite in glee, and wrestle with you as you try to touch her from all sides. Biting too hard will promptly stop the game so she has learned to be gentle.
1. Hide and seek.
An adapted method of monster, this is where you chase your cat, and she will hide under the table. You run and hide behind the door. She will come out to chase you, only to find that you have vanished in thin air. Extra points if your appearance causes her to jump backwards before she charges off again. Extra extra points if she’s smart and learns to use the new hiding spot after you use it. Extra extra extra points if you scare her so much that her tail puffs up to twice its size!
* A few people have shared various methods to keep kitty alseep at normal human hours, and I think I finally hit upon a good method. Will post on this topic next once I run a few more ‘test trials’ to confirm validity. Seems that this is an issue that we don’t fight alone!