Long gone are the times when a scratch-post and toy mouse were enough to entertain your cat. The feline world is entering the digital age, with websites entirely dedicated to our furry companions, and tablet games made specifically for them.
Most of the games below are free to download, either to your iPad or Android tablet. Simply give your cat a nudge, show them the ropes, and before you know it they’ll be painting and catching digital fish like the rest of us.
Before you let your cat loose on your tablet though, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, kittens will always find these games more thrilling than older cats. Older cats will more easily be able to learn that what they see on screen is not real, and could therefore lose interest.
Second, your cat will probably play tough with your tablet. It’s recommended to cover the camera lens with some sticky tape, and to use a protective case, especially if the tablet will be used on a hard surface. You screen should be tough enough to cope with a cat’s claw, but if your tablet has a plastic screen protector, that may not fare too well.
1. Game for Cats (Free, iOS)
If your cat needs some extra entertainment when it’s stuck indoors, download Game For Cats. You can choose different versions of the game within the app, with the aim being for your cat to catch whatever’s on the screen. That can be a mouse, butterfly, or laser. The mouse version does require a small payment, but most users report the various mice can hold the cat’s attention much longer than the other (free) options.
2. Paint For Cats ($1.99, iOS)
As your cat tries to catch the mouse as it scurries around the screen, they’ll simultaneously paint you a masterpiece. You can choose from a variety of color palettes, and even have the option of saving and printing the finished work of art. Given the amazing reviews this app has received, it might be justified in its claim to be the “world’s best painting app for cats!”
3. Mouse For Cats (Free, iOS)
This free, 2D, high definition game was built by cat lovers, for cats. Comprising of eight levels, the aim is to catch the on-screen mice (there’s a trend here). The coloring and sound of the mice were created specifically for your cat’s entertainment. In-app purchases are available for different skins and noises.
4. Best Game for Cats (Free, iOS)
Similar to the other apps mentioned, the aim with this game is for your cat to catch the on-screen mice, cat bells, wool balls, or lasers. There are also some accompanying sounds to let you know how well your cat’s doing. If the sound annoys you, it can easily be disabled. The graphics aren’t great, but how’s a cat to know?
While some games end after a certain amount of time, Best Game For Cats keeps going until the app is closed, so your cat(s) can be entertained for as long as it can hold their attention.
If you’d rather your cat went fishing instead of catching mice and lasers, Cat Fishing 2 from Friskies is the obvious choice. As your cat’s score increases, the game gets more and more difficult, with more fish appearing and disappearing from the screen. Unfortunately the game does end after a certain amount of time, which can frustrate some cats, though most reviewers claim their pets love this game.
6. Crazy Cat (Free, Android)
Although your cat can play this game on their own, it’s more fun for you both to play together. Via Bluetooth, you are able to control the critters on your tablet’s screen from your smartphone (this is a paid add-on feature). The faster those critters are moving when your cat catches them, the more points they score. The free version of the game is supported by the occasional ad, but you can upgrade to an ad-free version.
7. Cat Toys Lite (iOS)
This is a simple but mesmerizing game for most cats. As your cat presses its paw on the pink mouse, it’ll wriggle until it’s allowed to escape. If the game is too easy for your cat, try increasing the speed of the mouse.
With the same premise as most of the other games here, you can choose between fish, mice, and lasers to appear on the screen. There are a few small differences though. Rather than mice simply running around the screen, in Cat Playground, they pop out of holes. It’s pretty much whack-a-mole for cats. The more your cat catches, the higher score they receive. As usual, the mouse version seems to be the most popular among cats. The app can be used on your smartphone, but works better on a tablet.
Let your cat play with moths, hummingbirds, and dragonflies as they fly around the screen. The more your cat catches, the higher their score. There are lots of ambient sounds to choose from, and garden settings to explore. On each level, the speed and patterns the creatures take change to capture your cat’s attention for as long as possible.
Keeping Your Cat Entertained
Although most of these apps pretty much follow the same formula, if one doesn’t keep your cat’s attention, try a couple more. The sounds and designs can all have an impact in how your cat interacts with the game. Find what works for them.
While some cats will go crazy for a game forcing them to interrupt you when you’re using the tablet yourself, some will simply watch sleepily as mice and fish glide along the screen. Each to their own, I guess. And if your cat is a sucker for games, you might want to consider using something like the PetCube to play with your cat even when you’re out of the house.
Either way, don’t blame us if your cat commandeers your tablet, or if you spend most of your days cleaning dirty paw prints from your screen!
Which other games does your cat love to play on your tablet?
Image Credits: tankist276/Shutterstock