The Scoop

5 Fun Activities to Encourage Playtime in Shy Cats

Congratulations on your new cat! You’re sure to be excited to have a new pal to play and cuddle with, but your new kitty might need some time to acclimate to their new environment and the people it will now share a home with. Patience, love, and bonding are all very important for your new housemate to warm up her new family and environment.

Luckily, play time can help with all three! It can bring her out of hiding to get some exercise, explore the rest of the home, and give you both the quality time you need together to become fast friends. Even the most nervous cats will have a hard time saying no to these irresistibly fun, feline-friendly activities:


Reverse the roles: hide and get your kitty to come to YOU. Cats are natural predators and their instincts tell them how to stalk like a pro. Make sure your cat is watching and hide behind a couch, desk, or around the corner into the next room. Peek out so they can see you, then quickly duck back into hiding a few times. You’ll be amazed how stealthily your cat will sneak closer and closer as she “seeks” for you!

Paper Bag Pounce

If being environmentally friendly wasn’t enough, now you have a new reason to skip plastic and opt for paper bags at the grocery store. An empty paper bag makes for a great cat cave and fun pouncing toy. Lay the bag on its side to let your cat climb in, then gently scratch at the sides and watch how fast they bat and leap towards the noise.

Lure & Leap

A length of yarn or a cat wand toy is a classic way to get your kitty moving and playing. Just drag the end of the yarn or strung toy across the floor, switching between fast and slow movements, to see your cat immediately light up with interest. Once she gets moving around a bit, hold the string higher off the ground and watch her leap to reach it.

Paper Soccer

Crumbled up paper may not sound like a whole lot of fun to you, but to a cat, it’s an exciting mysterious ball of noise that can be batted around the room, up over their heads, and chased under furniture. Plus, it’s a great way to get a second use out of old papers before they’re tossed into to the recycling bin.

Feline Fetch

Believe it or not, fetch isn’t only for dogs. Cats will often enjoy playing too! Simply toss a small, light cat toy and watch your cat run to investigate. She might leave it there, bat it around, or pick it up and bring it back to you. You can reward the safe return of the toy with a small treat to reinforce that behavior.