Thursday, August 6, 2015

Playtime! Three great games your blind cat will love

Lucy the blind cat getting ready to play
"Does she play?"

That's a question people ask me a lot about Lucy, especially when they find out that she's been blind since birth. In a way, I get it. Most cats seem like visual players, as they spend a lot of time chasing light, movement and trails. Without eyes, these things seem hard to do. Therefore, a lot of people assume that these blind cats just don't play.

Boy, are they wrong.

Blind cats have the same hunting/playing needs as sighted cats. And playing with a blind cat is a great way to deepen your bond, just as it's an excellent bonding activity with a sighted cat.

But it's true that there are some modifications required. Here are three games that seem to work particularly well with Lucy that might also work well with a blind cat you might love to play with.

Blind cat game 1: Grab my fingers.

This is the game Lucy is playing with me in the photo at the top of this blog. Here's how it goes:
  1. Pick a spot that can semi-separate you from the cat. I'm using a stair rail here, but coffee table slats or long curtains or high doors will work just as well.
  2. Maneuver the cat on one side, with you on the other side. 
  3. Tap near the space that separates you. 
  4. Wait for the batting to begin. 
Lucy absolutely loves this game. And once I have a spot or two picked out, she'll run to them when she thinks it's playtime, and she'll assume the play position. It's a fun and easy way for her to capture a bit of prey.

Blind cat game 2: Find the food treat. 

While Lucy may not be able to see well, she can smell almost anything. That means games with food are a big hit with her.

I hide little snacks inside of crumpled pieces of paper or old dog puzzle toys, and I lead her over to the field of play. As soon as she catches a whiff of the treats, she's on the hunt for them.

At the moment, I'm using her kibble for treats. She's still eating food from Solid Gold as part of a challenge (more on that here), and she really loves that stuff. So it works as a treat for her. But even tiny dog treats or bits of cheese will work. It just needs to be smelly.

Blind cat game 3: Chase the raffia. 

The challenge, with this game, is to find a target that Lucy can hear, but that isn't overwhelming. Blind cats like Lucy are just more sensitive to volume, so they can't bear noises that deafen them. Commercial cat ball-based toys are, in my opinion, too loud for Lucy. I have better luck with something else.

Raffia is very cheap, and it makes a crinkling sound when it moves. If I unfurl a bit of this stuff and drag it across the floor, Lucy will chase it. Every single time. I can let her "catch" it, too, as it's non-toxic and natural. As long as I stay with her and don't let her eat it, I can keep her safe in play.

So those are my suggestions! Anyone have any tips to add? I'd love to hear them in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. It makes total sense that blind cats also love playing. They must have great hearing skills. Maybe you could also try balls with a bell inside. I think Lucy would love those balls :)