32 activities to do with your cat

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Looking for activities to do with your cat and finding it tough? We can relate! We have pets because we love spending time with them, but sometimes we aren’t quite on the same wavelength. Finding mutually enjoyable activities is an enriching side of owning a cat, entertaining both parties as you have good times together.  

Some activities are a responsibility of cat ownership, others have more of a fun element. But whether you spend time training, grooming or playing with the best cat toys, whatever you do with your cat helps build a bond between you – so do your best to make it an enjoyable, pleasant experience, even when it might feel like a chore.

Let’s take a look at some of the activities you can do with your cat.

32 activities to do with your cat

1. Groom your cat

Person brushing cat

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Grooming your cat with one of the best cat brushes isn't just about teasing out the tangles and dusting off dead skin and dander, it’s also a great opportunity to spend quality time together, deepening the bond between you – and monitoring their health at the same time. Bear in mind there are some breeds of cat, like the Devon Rex, which have delicate coats that don’t need brushing.

2. Leash-training

tabby cat on leash

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Is walking a cat on a leash cruel? Not if they enjoy it! Training your cat to walk on a leash is a handy skill to add to their toolbox. It’s not as simple as bunging on a leash and off you go, you’ll need to spend time teaching them to be happy with the harness and learning to walk alongside you. Once you’re both proficient you can head out to the park together and enjoy the impressed double-takes from dog-walkers.

3. Trim claws 

Trimming cat claws

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Learning how to cut cat nails at home is a vital skill that will not only save you money at the groomers, but make your cat more comfortable and deepen the bond between you as he learns to trust you more. Not all cats need their claws trimmed – some are very busy scratching and playing on hard surfaces – but for those that do, they’re easy to trim and it’s a challenge worth taking on.

4. Home-made puzzles

Cat playing with girl and toy

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Cat toys abound in pet stores, but on a rainy day with a few unwanted household items you can make the perfect puzzle for your cat to play with. Take an empty plastic bottle, add your cat’s favorite treats and leave the lid off. If you want to make the puzzle tougher you can squeeze the top of bottle shut so he has to make more of an effort to extract the treats. Of course, if you don't fancy making one, you can always invest in one of the best cat puzzle feeders.

5. Make cat treats

Cat sniffing cookies

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If you’re looking for an activity that both you and your cat may enjoy, how about making some cat treats? That way you can ensure exactly what ingredients your precious kitty will be eating, and he’ll probably love watching you slave away on his behalf on the kitchen island – possibly even lending a helping paw. Anyone want to lick the bowl?

6. Hide the sock

Kitten playing with sock

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Don’t throw away your holey socks. Rub pate or lunch meat on old socks and hide them around the house for a stinky game of fetch. 

7. Obstacle course 

blue tabby jumping through the air

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Many cats love a bit of gymnastics. An obstacle course is a fantastic form of physical exercise, as well as providing mental stimulation. Train them for agility using some simple household items, like broomsticks on stacks of books, cardboard boxes as tunnels, water bottles as weaving poles, a shelf as a balance beam. It's one of the best ways to bond with your cat but start simply with just one obstacle at a time and a reward as he learns the trick.

8. Viral star

taking mobile phone photo of ginger cat

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Start an Instagram feed and see how quickly your cat goes viral. The internet loves cats – some felines have some five million followers – and you can both have great fun striking up crazy or beautiful poses. 

9. Play hide and seek with food

Cat looking for something

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Let them follow as you place bits of the best dry cat food or treats around the house, or use a laser to indicate where they have to seek out the reward. Nooks and crannies, or hiding titbits underneath items will ramp up the difficulty factor as your cat gets the hang of it.

10. Make a ribbon wand

Two kittens playing with ribbon wand

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Feeling blue with nothing to do? Make a ribbon wand in moments to amuse your kitty – and make you smile. It can be as simple as tying some string on to the end of a stick and flicking it about until your cat starts pouncing on it. Or you can get more crafty and make a stunning wand out of feathers and colourful ribbons which you can then spin around like a circus ringmaster. 

11. Mouse play

Kitten playing on computer

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Real mice aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, even if cats love them. But, mercifully, cats also love to follow the cursor of a mouse on a computer screen, and will often spend quite some time tracing their paw around the screen. Much less squeamish-inducing than the real, live thing. 

12. Bird watching

Cat watching bird feeder on window

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Looking for new ways to be the best cat owner? Put bird-feeders up outside your window and sit together on the window seat to enjoy a spot of bird-watching from the cosy indoors. Almost like cat TV. The feline will relish the tantalising action, and the human can note the different birds frequenting the garden.

13. Cat agility

Cat jumping near agility obstacle

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If you find your cat is a master at home-made cat agility round the home in the form of obstacle courses, you should enter some competitions to check out his ability against some rivals. Cats are speedy (up to 30mph), natural jumpers and tend to enjoy the challenge of cat agility. Check out local tournaments in your area.

14. Showing classes

Cat at show

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For those who enjoy a bit of a beauty pageant, immerse yourself into the showing scene. This is ideal if you have a pedigree breed, but there are also fun show classes available for those who want to do it at a more low-key level. It’s a fun hobby, choosing shows, preparing the cats and equipment – and of course going before the judges!

15. Make a cat tent

Ragdoll cat in tent

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Cats often relish a bit of privacy, as well as exploring new places. Turn your old t-shirt or bedsheet into a funky tent for your cat and watch them check it out. As cats are both predators and prey in the wild, they often have an instinct for a safe, enclosed space to rest – and a home-made tent may be just the ticket. 

16. Blow catnip bubbles

toddler blowing bubbles with cat

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Some cats are so playful they’ll enjoy popping and chasing any bubbles, like a small child, but if you can get your hands on some catnip bubbles from a pet store, even the more hardened grown-up cats will find it hard to resist. Mesmerising.

17. Photo shoot

lady taking pictures of cat in sunflower field

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Of course you have hundreds of photos of your dearest kitty on your mobile phone, but usually they’ll be doing something silly, naughty or funny. A proper portrait shoot, where you choose the venue, or set up special backgrounds can be a lovely thing both to do and for posterity. If you have some safe outside space, you can even do a new one every season, capturing the changing weather. 

18. Musical harmony

Man playing music with cat

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You might love to listen to music, but research implies that cats are fairly specific about their tastes (aren’t we all). So if you want to hang out with your cat just listening to some tunes, bear in mind they might not appreciate your choice. You need to find out what is “species-appropriate” before assuming that just because you like Taylor Swift and the popstar likes cats, that’s the answer to your music selection.  

19. Train tricks

Cat doing high five

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It may come as a surprise that you can learn how to teach a cat a trick, because dogs seem to have monopolised that domain, but cats are also good learners. They might just need a different approach. Repetition, consistency and rewards are key. Start simply with high-fives, learning to sit and to come when called. Tricks are a great way to strengthen your bond and have fun simultaneously.

20. Tablet games

Cat playing on tablet

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Screen time gets bad press, but it’s unlikely that your cat is racking up the hours in front of the iPad. There are a plethora of free games to amuse your cat – and you at the same time – on your phone or tablet. Just make sure you have a protective film to keep the screen safe from feline claws.

21. “Tree” climbing

Cat climbing up cat pole

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Most cat breeds love to climb, although some are less keen to leave the ground than others. Encourage climbers to scale the heights with a multi-tiered scratching post, hiding treats on each level, or a convenient high shelf which can provide a vantage point on the rest of the household. 

22. Laser action

Orange tabby playing with laser pointer

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Cats love the quick movements of a laser dot, which changes direction like a live animal. You can use a special laser pointer or even a flashlight with a sharp beam – and it’s even more fun in the dark! 

23. Water play

Cat playing with water sprinkler

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It’s well known that most cats don’t tend to enjoy being submerged in water (there are exceptions), however playing with H2O on their terms is another matter entirely. Faucets and the garden sprinkler can provide plenty of fun, but a more economic use of water is to get a water fountain.

24. Cultivate catnip

cat sniffing catnip

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Cats seem to love this weedy form of the mint plant, which apparently sets off a euphoric reaction when they lick it or rub on it, thanks to an oil called nepetalactone. You can grow the herb in your garden or in the home, and make use of its intoxicating powers whenever you wish.

25. Work station

Cat next to homeworker

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Cats are a great diversion, but it can become problematic for those of us who work from home. Put a cardboard box with a comfy blanket by your computer so that your cat knows he has a place at your work station and deters him from lying over your keyboard. Then you can tap away in top company, with some relaxing purring spurring you on to complete your tasks.

26. Bop it

Cat reading to pounce on bed

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Sometimes it’s the simplest things that provide maximum amusement value. Put your hand under a blanket and move it around enticing your cat to pounce. Just make sure you’ve trimmed his claws first!

27. Plant an indoor cat garden

Cat nibbling indoor grass

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Many cats live indoors, but that doesn’t mean they need to be denied the joys of the wild side. Plant indoor containers of rye, oat, barley, catnip which can all be grown from seed, and give your cat a fun plant to nibble at or play with. Add a water fountain and you have your very own indoor “catio”.

28. Play ping pong

Cat on ping pong table

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Bounce ping pong balls against the wall and watch the cat try to bat them back – they’ll soon get the gist and a ping pong ball is very forgiving for the amateur player.

29. Indoor ball pit

Kitten in ball pit

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Fill a cardboard box with ping pong balls to make a great ball pit for your cat to play in. You can also hide treats within the ball pit, to give them incentive to explore. 

30. Hiking

Cat in stroller

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Hiking with cats has really taken off in recent years, which isn't surprising. After all, it’s a shame to head out and about for a walking activity without your favorite companion. Some cats do go for walks with their owners on a leash, but if you haven’t reached that stage in training or your cat’s is not up for such strenuous activity, then check out cat backpacks and strollers. There’s no need to leave the cat behind if you’re planning to be out all day. 

31. Abstract art

Cat with paintbrush

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Dip whiskers and paws in pet-friendly paint and create an awesomely abstract and uniquely personal canvas. Quite the Jackson Pollock.

32. Catnap

Cat sleeping with boy

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What do cats do best? Sleeping – and purring. It’s not for nothing that a quick doze it’s called a catnap – and it’s an activity at which your cat is quite exemplary. A brief rest (for humans) is said to be a healthy habit for both the body and mind to prevent daytime fatigue and even boost immunity. Of course, kitty knew that all along.

Martha Terry
Features editor

Martha is an experienced journalist working in both print and digital media. She specializes in the canine, equine and rural sphere where she has covered a wide range of topics from cloning animals and the ingredients for a perfect yard dog, to helping owners find the best canine GPS trackers on the market. When she’s not busy writing about dogs and horses, she’ll be found either aboard a horse or looking after the menagerie of pets in her care.