catPlaying with your cat can build bonds of trust, work off extra energy or aggression, and improve the overall mood for both you and your pet. This is especially useful if your cat is starting to show unwanted behavior such as biting, scratching, or paw-popping you in the face. Next time your domestic feline is feeling feisty, try one of these games and let the good times roll.

Play tag!

To start playing tag, first pet your cat in a rambunctious fashion. When your cat is purring heavily, spring to your feet, freeze for a second, and then run across the room. Your cat will gallop in front of your feet (“You’re it!”) so be prepared to stop quickly. It may take a couple of tries, but as long as your cat is following you, she is interested. Sometimes it helps to peek around a corner and make a surprised face before you run away.

Play bird!

This game occurs when an object is in the air and your cat takes a flying leap to catch it. To play, use a toy with feathers or string. Move the toy quickly on the ground, until you’re sure that you have your cat’s attention. Use a gentle, underhanded toss to launch the toy into the air, and watch your cat snatch it from the sky.

Play apps?

So maybe you don’t have as much energy as you would like, but your Android and iPad tablets can entertain your cat for hours. With free apps such as Cat Fishing, JitterBug, and Pocket Pond, your feline can swipe away at moving objects. Feline eyes look exceptionally beautiful when they reflect the light from an illuminated screen.

At the end of your play session, slow things down with a treat your cat especially likes. Treats given regularly at this time will signal the end of play, which your cat will look forward to instead of trying to provoke you for more activities by batting or biting you.

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by AleGranholm, on Flickr