If you’re stuck in quarantine and slowly starting to lose your mind with boredom, then it’s time to do what hundreds of others are doing and find new ways of keeping yourself entertained. For those with pets, the possibilities are endless- or at least they are according to USA Today, who recently ran an article on the number of inventive cat owners flooding social media with videos of the new games they’ve created to play with their similarly bored cats.
Cat cricket, cat tic-tac-toe, cat air hockey, cat bowling, cat dominoes… basically, if there’s a game with a name you can stick “cat” in front of, you can bet someone, somewhere, is playing it. If you can tempt your own cat into a quick game, just be sure you throw them the odd mercy win every now and again. As @iqraanabi, a proud (although slight scathed) cat parent shared on Twitter after a not-so-friendly game of tic-tac-toe, some cats can be very sore losers.
If you and your kitty fancy a game of Cat Tic-Tac- Toe yourselves, the rules are simple: draw up the necessary lines, then get things off to a start by marking your first X. You then need to somehow get your cat to decide where they’d like to make their first O (placing a treat on one of the boxes will usually get them to make up their mind). Carry on in this manner until one of you emerges the victor (or your cat gets bored and decides to attack the paper instead… whichever comes first).
Of course, not all cats can be enticed into playing the kind of things we’d usually want to play ourselves. Fortunately, there’s plenty of options available to keep both sides of the party from climbing the walls with boredom. If you’re tempted to get in on the action, why not try one of these 5 fun games currently doing the rounds? Hours of entertainment aren’t necessarily guaranteed (it really depends on how amenable your cat is to giving up their spot on the sofa) but find at least one they love, and it’ll make lockdown that little bit more tolerable than it’d otherwise be.
The Feather and String Game
If being confined to the house is driving your cat to distraction, help them burn off some of that surplus energy with this simple game. All you’ll need is a feather, a piece of string, and a stick (you can go the DIY route and make the dangler yourself or go the easier route and just buy one online and get it delivered). As Better Homes and Gardens suggests, get your cat interested by simply dangling the feather above their head for a few seconds. Once you’ve caught their attention, run around the room waving the toy like a maniac in the hope they follow. Sometimes, they will. Other times, they’ll simply wait for you to lie down in exhaustion before deciding your feet make way better prey than a feather ever could. Either way, make sure to hide any valuable objects out of the way before you start.
The Paper Bag Game
You know what it’s like… you spend a fortune on new games for your cat and the only thing they express even the remotest interest in is the carboard box they come in. Beat them at their own game by doing as Nutro recommends and making that cheapest of all things (a paper bag, in case you didn’t know) into a fun treat. Simply lay it on its side, wait for your cat to crawl inside (as they inevitably will) then run your fingers back and forth along the top. Hours of fun will then be had as your cat tries to “catch” your fingers from inside the bag. Just beware of playing the game if your cat has the kind of arm power capable of punching through the bag and catching your fingers for real- and for obvious reasons, remove the handles of the bag before you get started.
The Hide and Seek Game
What cat doesn’t love a game of hide and seek? Appeal to their mischievous side by hiding behind an object big enough to keep you out of sight… a sofa, a fridge, a bed, etc., etc. Then simply hunker down and wait for your cat to start stalking you. Just be aware that once they find you, there’s a 50/ 50 chance of at least one of you coming out of the experience with several more scratches and bite marks than you went into it with.
The Cardboard Box Game
If you’ve got a load of cardboard boxes hanging around doing nothing, put them to good use by creating a fun labyrinth for your cats. Stack them up, line them up, create passageways, throw in some toys and blankets, punch interconnecting holes to make tunnels… whatever you do, the one thing that’s guaranteed is that your cat will love it. If you scatter a gingerbread path of treats along some of the tunnels, there’s even a chance they’ll love you too.
The TV Game
If you’re exhausted from all the fun and games but your cat’s still rearing to go, it’s time to introduce them to the magic of TV. Unfortunately, the chances of them liking the same shows as you is pretty remote. If you can stand to give up your laptop for an hour or so, pop on a reel of “cat videos” (usually, these revolve around birds, mice, and other kitty favorites), stick them in front of it, and with a fair wind and a dash of luck, you won’t hear a peep from them for hours. As some cats can get a bit confused about what’s real and what’s not, you might want to stay on hand to supervise in case they decide pulling one of the film’s stars through the laptop screen is a real possibility.