Water Works: 5 Summer Games for Your Cat
In the heat of the summer, it’s important to keep your cat hydrated. Cats can be picky about their water source, so it’s a good idea to offer them a few ways to drink.
Some cats are content to drink out of a bowl, but others prefer running water or even your drink! You may also notice that your cat is bored and sulking around or the total opposite bouncing off the walls when it gets hot outside. Water games can help that! These games offer excellent enrichment opportunities to your cat and engage multiple senses.
1. Wash Your Paws
Running water can be very attractive to cats. They may try to drink out of the stream or bat around with their paw! Besides being a wonderful way to clean themselves, your cat will likely lick their paws, thus drinking more water.
If you want to go one step further, you can actually train your cat to wash their own paws!
Every time they put their paw in the stream, click/praise them and toss them a treat! Eventually they will realize they are rewarded each time they engage with the water. Getting a reward for it will increase the likelihood they will continue offering the behavior to see if they will be rewarded.
Once they start putting their paw in the water when you turn the faucet on, you can say a cue, such as “wash paws!” When they do it, praise/click and reward.
2. Water Park
If your cat is a huge fan of water, then you can make a small water park for them!
Fill the bathtub with an inch or two of lukewarm water. Then put a platform or two in the tub. I use a flower pot and a baking dish. These platforms should be sturdy, without risk of tipping over. They offer a place for your cat to sit without getting wet.
Then, toss a few toys that float into the water. You can use corks, light plastic toys, bottle caps, even ice cubes. The cat can go to each platform and bat the toys around with their paws. Since they are in water, the toys move erratically, attracting the cat.
3. Ice Game
This one is a quick and inexpensive toy for your cat to engage in! All you need is a few ice cubes and a bowl filled with water. Some cats will bat them around for a while and walk away, others play until the ice magically disappears.
Fill the bowl with a few inches of water and place the ice cubes in. Voila! Watch your cat interact with the ice as they cool themselves. For extra enrichment, freeze diluted chicken broth or tuna juice to make the cubes smell or taste great!
4. Fish Bowl
The feeling of ice might not be your cat’s favorite, or maybe they aren’t comfortable with getting into the bathtub to play with toys. You can combine the two ideas for the fish bowl game.
Take a dish and fill it with water. The depth depends on your cat’s preference. Some cats may prefer a couple centimeters, while others may like a few inches. Place a few floating toys, corks, plastic bottle caps, or other safe items into a bowl or a dish. The dish should be big enough for the toys to move around.
For cats who don’t want to get their paws wet, a battery-operated fish toy is a fun option. Your cat can watch, instead of needing to interact to see movement. This is exciting for the cat as the fish toy moves around the bowl.
5. Bobbing for Treats
This game is great for cats who need to be encouraged to drink more. Each cat has their own technique, some will use their paw to scoop the treats up and others will dip their heads like they are bobbing for apples!
For this game you will need a rimmed baking sheet or other large dish that has low sides filled with a centimeter or two of water. Then, you will need some bottle caps or some sort of small, floating container. I used two yogurt lids. Put treats in the containers and place them in the water. Add a few treats that float to the water. Now you should have treats in the containers and in the water.
Some cats aren't the biggest fans of water, so if they prefer to stay away from water, here are some other games they can play!
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