When it comes to playing games, we may think of dogs as more cooperative than cats, but that doesn’t mean our feline friends can’t get involved in a bit of summer fun, too. Just don’t encourage (or expect!) too much activity in the heat of the day – even cats need to keep their cool.
1. Play cat hunting games
As cats are natural hunters and foragers, they love to investigate interesting scents, tastes and anything else that takes their fancy. If you create your own cat hunting box, you’ll be providing them with a safe space to explore to their heart’s content.
First, find a box or tray with sides (an old litter tray will do the trick). Fill it with some of your cat’s favourite food treats and toys before mixing these up with filler objects such as seasonal leaves and twigs. Many cats will enjoy satisfying their natural exploratory urges by rooting through the contents. Place the box in the garden if you want to avoid them making a mess indoors.
2. Make some frozen cat treats
Frozen treats for cats are a refreshing food for your pet in more ways than one, providing them with an intriguing tasting experience while helping them beat the heat. And it’s easy to make your own DIY frozen cat treats at home.
Try freezing brine from a can of tuna, soup-style cat food or a meaty broth in an ice cube tray. It’s best to avoid shop-bought broths that may contain garlic, salt or other ingredients your cat shouldn’t eat. Instead, boil some fresh meat in water until cooked, allow the resulting broth to cool, and skim off any fat before freezing into ice cubes. You might choose to include a little meat, such as tuna, in each ice cube to give your cat something to work towards.
3. Build a fort for your cat
Your cat’s favourite spot in the garden may get a little too hot to handle at the height of summer, so why not create a shady ‘fort’ for them to relax in? If you have them, this could be a fun activity to get your children involved with as well. You could use garden furniture, or sheets held up by clothes pegs – just position them to block the sun’s rays. Cardboard boxes for cats to retreat into also go down well! With the sun blocked by these objects, your cat should be able to stretch out in their preferred corner without overheating.
4. Try cat water games
One of the most common myths about cats is that they hate water. While they may not necessarily love a bath, plenty of felines do enjoy making a splash – look out for them batting, or lapping from, a running tap. A cat fountain makes a great gift for these moggies, allowing them to drink or play with the flowing water without getting drenched.
Alternatively, fill a small bowl with water and float some waterproof cat toys on top for your pet. Many cats will enjoy tapping the toys and doing a spot of ‘fishing’.
5. Blow some pet-friendly bubbles
Some felines are fascinated by bubbles – and if you use a non-toxic, pet-safe bubble mixture, your pet can enjoy pouncing on them to their heart’s content! Special catnip bubbles are available, infused with plant extract, to intrigue those cats that are susceptible to catnip.
While play is stimulating for cats, it’s important to note that sometimes your pet might not be in the mood, and will simply want to snooze. Don’t force toys or games on them, but let them make the choice to engage. Also, bear in mind that cats’ attention may not last for long! Older and younger cats also need more rest time than adults, and may be more susceptible to the summer heat. While kittens may have the energy to keep playing, be mindful of their age, and take a break if you suspect they’re getting tired.