Fun indoor games to play with your cat
If your cat is an indoor pet, or the weather is too cold to let them outside, you'll need to find fun indoor cat games.
Playtime is one of the joys of being a pet parent and there are lots of games you can play together.
But playtime for cats is about so much more than fun. All animals have natural behaviours that they need to express to be happy and healthy. Playing games lets your cat do this and prevents boredom. Bored pets can be problem pets, often acting in ways we don’t want (like scratching furniture).
Playing games will help keep your cat entertained, their mind sharp and their body healthy. It’s a great way to build a strong bond between you and your cat too.
Top tips for playing with your cat indoors
Cats are explorers and hunters by nature, so they’re more likely to enjoy games that let them do this.
This is why some say playing with your cat using a laser pointer isn’t a good idea. While chasing the light is great exercise, there’s nothing tangible for your cat to catch. With no catch, there’s no sense of reward or achievement for your cat.
Treats (but not too many) are a good way to reward your little hunter's instincts.
Don’t forget to change up toys and games regularly. Have a ‘rota’ of toys, hiding some and bringing out others to play with, to keep old toys feeling new and interesting.
New indoor toys and games don’t have to be expensive. DIY toys work just as well. We’ve all seen how much fun a cat can have with a simple cardboard box!
Finally, build 10 – 20 minutes of playtime into your cat’s daily routine. Pick a time to play when they’re most active (usually mornings or evenings) and respect their naps times.
Here are five fun games you can play with your cat indoors:
5 indoor cat game ideas
- Hide and seek
- Chasing and hunting games
- Food puzzles
- Obstacle courses
- Mechanical toys and apps
Hide and seek
This game brings out your cat’s natural hunting instincts to ambush, stalk and pounce.
Make eye contact with your cat, then hide behind something – a curtain, couch or door. Your cat will stalk you as if they’re stalking prey.
You can also play this game with a stuffed toy. Wriggle the toy so that your cat identifies it as the ‘prey’, then hide it under a blanket or behind something.
Chasing and hunting games
Cats love to chase moving objects. Instead of using a laser pointer, get your cat to chase a ball or small object. Ping pong and tennis balls work well as they bounce and roll easily. Let your cat catch the object occasionally, to keep them interested.
Old-fashioned games like pulling string along the floor are also great chasing games. Put a twist on this game by attaching an empty toilet roll to a piece of string. Put a treat inside and fold the ends to create a rewarding and challenging hunting game for your cat.
A fun but simple hunting and attacking game. Put down a piece of newspaper or a piece of carpet/mat, then put your cat on top of it. Entice your cat to attack the ‘magic carpet’ by pulling it along the floor or wiggling it beneath them.
Your cat will love the sound of the crinkling paper and attacking the corners of the carpet.
Food puzzles are a great way to challenge and entertain your cat. You can buy food puzzles, or make your own using empty toilet rolls or small boxes.
Cut holes in a small box (like an empty crackers box), hide some dry food or treats inside and close up the ends. Your cat will need to push, shake and wiggle the box to retrieve the treats.
Obstacle courses are a great way to encourage your cat to climb, jump, hide and explore.
Put a blanket over a chair, convert cardboard boxes into tunnels or put objects on the floor for them to navigate. Encourage your cat to move through the obstacle course by guiding them through with a treat in your hand.
Mechanical toys and apps
There are many mechanical toys and apps that make for great cat-ertainment on a cold evening.
From battery-powered wiggling fish to apps that mimic koi-filled ponds, these toys are handy if you don’t have time to take part in your cat’s playtime.
Always make sure the game you’re playing is safe and suitable for your cat.
Make sure toys don’t have loose pieces that your cat could accidentally swallow. Tidy away things like string or anything that could cause an accident when you’re not supervising your cat’s games.
Respect your cat’s nap and rest times and if they’re very old or very young, be patient and be aware of their abilities.
Above all: have fun! Playing with your cat and bonding with them is one of the best things about being a pet parent.