Does your cat like to play in the water? Many people assume all cats dislike water, but in reality many cats find water interesting and fun to play with, so long as they don't have to get all the way in. Cats are naturally curious and you can use that curiosity and interest in water to create interactive games and activities for your cats inside this summer!
Cats might have a reputation of being sleepy or lazy, but it's very important to make sure that your cat gets regular exercise and both physical and mental enrichment. Keeping your cat active can support your cat being in better physical shape, and can prevent some behavioral challenges from developing. One way to increase the exercise and enrichment in your cat's daily life is to add in more toys, opportunities for play, and splash games are an easy and inexpensive way to do that.
If you have a cat that enjoys playing with water and you don't mind them being on the counters. one option to create ongoing splash games is to leave water dripping from your sinks. Of course, this can lead to wasted water and isn't ideal for the environment. Some modified options include: leaving your sink running for a short/limited period of time, or putting a bowl in the sink to collect the water and use that for watering plants etc. so it doesn't go to waste. If you encourage your cat to play in your sink, be warned that depending on what kind of faucets you have (twist vs. push) some cats will learn how to turn the water on themselves!
A more environmentally friendly option is to purchase cat water fountains commercially available at pet supply shops. These fountains are filled with water but then recycle the water through the fountain dish during the day. This gives your cat access to constantly moving water without water getting wasted.
Naturally, many cats will be playful or interested in their water bowl. Cats and especially kittens may enjoy dipping their paws into the bowl to investigate the water. Particularly if a bit of lint or some food has fallen into the bowl, many cats enjoy making a game out of playing with it and eventually fishing it out of the water. To channel this fishing instinct, it's possible to create interactive fishing or splash games for your cat to enjoy.
- Large bowl or large water dish
- Cat treats that your cat is excited about
- Plastic cat toys
Step 1: Take a bowl or a large water dish and put fresh water in fresh water. Put the bowl down on the floor. Placing a towel under the bowl can be helpful to prevent your cat from making a mess with the splashing. Encourage your cat to explore the bowl of water.
Step 2: Show your cat a couple of cat treats and then drop them into the bowl. Give your cat an opportunity to explore reaching into the bowl to retrieve and eat the treats. Praise and encourage your cat when they start fishing for the treats.
If your cat isn't sure about eating wet treats, or really enjoys toys you can also experiment with putting toys into the water for your cat to fish out. Avoid any fuzzy or soft toys as those will become waterlogged. Plastic cat toys, ping pong balls, wiffle balls, or homemade toys will generally float in the water and work well for splash games.
Step 3: Show your cat some plastic toys and drop them into the water bowl. If your cat seems uncertain you can touch the bobbing toys with your fingers to help your cat get the hang of fishing for the toys. Praise and encourage your cat to interact with their new fishing game.
Although most cats don't want to go swimming, cats are naturally curious and can have a lot of fun playing fishing games. These splash games channel a cat's natural instinct to hunt, and can provide hours of enrichment activity in your cat's day. When your cat is successful at fishing out their toy you can make the game more challenging by adding multiple toys into the bowl. When your cat is getting started, it can be helpful to first start with just a small amount of water in the bowl. This will make it easier for your cat to get the treats/toys in the water. The better your cat gets at the game you can start adding in more water into the bowl to make the game more challenging for your cat. To prevent messes from water spills, it's best to supervise your cat while they are playing with the water toys.