It’s not hard to entertain a kitten–they often create their own kitten games and are very fun to watch!
Becoming a part of your kittens’ playing activities is one of the joys of owning one.
As with children, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways of playing these kitten games.
No Rough Kitten Games!
It’s very cute to see a pint-sized fluff ball try to grab your fist and “ferociously” kick with his back feet, but this kind of encouragement will not go over well when he’s a 15-lb house cat!
Same goes with finger biting, and other stimulating games directly involving your hands.
Make sure your entire household is aware of what kind of play and games are acceptable to play with your kitten.
It is not fair to your cat to encourage these “cute” behaviors at one age, and then punish her for it when she’s older.
This is also true of other behaviors, including acceptable furniture to sleep on, etc.
Train your kitten with the boundaries you will want your future adult cat to abide by.
Anticipate Her Mood
If she ever bites or scratches or attacks your ankles, a firm “NO” and a very, very gentle tap on the nose will help her learn not to use people as playthings.
Then, redirect her behavior toward a toy, or other object she can attack.
It won’t be useful to try to calm her down, so don’t try to snuggle her if she’s in predatory mode.
If biting is an issue, find out how to break a kitten biting habit here.
Why Kittens Play Games
As cute as kitten games are, they serve an important purpose. It is their training ground for learning to be predators as adults.
Even though your little one won’t be expected to fend for itself as an adult (unless maybe you live on a farm), learning how to play is also part of a cat’s emotional and mental development.
Learning how to interact with siblings, other adult cats, and humans is accomplished through playing kitten games and wrestling.
This is why it’s important to wait until a kitten is 12 weeks old before being separated from its litter and mother.
Knowing that these kitten games are stimulating predatory instincts, this should help guide you toward appropriate play techniques.
Of course, there will be times that your direct involvement will not be required–kittens can entertain themselves (and you) for hours!
How to Play Games with Your Kitten
The beauty of kitten hood is you don’t need to spend money on lots of toys or gizmos.
There are lots of fun things you can buy for her, as long as you realize it is more than likely a “human entertainment” toy more than a kitten toy!
Here are some ridiculously easy and cheap household toys for kitten games:
- A crumpled ball of paper–either tossed, or dragged by a string
- A large paper bag for darting in and out of
- A cardboard box, upside down and with a couple holes cut into it
- A plastic straw–great for play and for teething too!
Just look around your home and you will find many things to entertain your kitten!
Important: Do not let her play games with anything that can be swallowed, including string, and always supervise your kitten with his play objects.
If you do want to make some toy purchases, we have found the most fun toys for kittens (and humans) are feather fishing-wand toys, and laser pointers.
Unless she is older than 6 months, she may not be responsive yet to catnip, so best to avoid this until she’s older.