The games we play

In no particular order…

Grendel likes playing chase.  I run from one end of the house to the other, and he follows me the whole way just talking up a storm and looking like his excitement will make him explode.  It’s a simple game, sure, but it’s quite fun.  He loves it.  And once he has me cornered somewhere?  I leap over him and run back to where it all started.  You can bet he’s right behind me yapping ecstatically.  One of the fun things to do with this game is to hide when I get to the end of the line.  He then gets to stalk and hunt me, something that ultimately leads to much frolicking when he finds me.

Kazon likes playing peekaboo.  He’s a simple child, I know.  All I have to do is put something between my face and his eyes… and the game’s afoot.  Whether I’m hiding behind a pillow or my hands, or leaning around a piece of furniture and moving back and forth to keep him on the opposite side from me, he gets overwhelmed with the thrill of it.  When it’s time to win, I stop moving or hiding and he runs to me and gives me an enthusiastic and loving head butt right in the face, his purring a constant reminder of innocent joy.

Both Loki and Kako enjoy playing fetch.  They will chase a ball (mostly, although sometimes other toys are used) throughout the house after I throw it, and then they’ll return to me with it so we can do it all over again.  In fact, you can see in this post some photos of Kako fetching the ball.

Kako also likes to play bridge.  No, not the card game.  She likes for me to put my body into positions that create spaces she can crawl or walk through/under.  For instance, I can get down on my hands and knees and she’ll roam back and forth beneath me, and she grows increasingly animated and thrilled as she goes back and forth.  I’ve not quite figured out how to win the game—or even what the rules are aside from providing enough space for her to move through—but I do know the intent is for her to rub against me until she’s so worked up that she falls over, grabs whichever of my body parts is nearest her position, hugs it close with the firmness of protruding claws, and rubs her face against me with a throaty purr that borders on choking her.

Another part of that game is something both Kako and Kazon enjoy: getting atop the bridge.  Whether that’s my shoulders or my back, they both get terribly excited about it.  Kako generally plays for a bit, moving to and fro, pushing for more petting in each new position, until she finally succumbs to the urge to lie down, at which point she talks quietly and/or purrs in my ear as she rubs her own face against me somewhere while she attempts to fall asleep.  Kazon, on the other hand, moves about little but focuses more on the affection aspect.  Once he’s on the bridge, he has my undivided attention, so he rubs against me, purrs in my ears, hugs my neck, and wraps himself across my shoulders and dangles off on both sides.  He can sleep there for hours.

All of The Kids like playing with the bird toy.  They run and leap and perform acrobatic maneuvers worthy of Cirque du Soleil.  I have to focus on giving each of them turns to chase and catch the feathery fun lest they trample each other or feel left out.  Kazon is the worst in this regard and sometimes has to be restrained so that others might play.  He has no qualms about leaping atop one of the other cats in order to jump in line.

Something else they all like to do involves simple hunting and stalking: I take a particular toy (preferably one long enough to keep my fingers as far away from the tooth-and-claw action as possible), sit on the floor, and drag it around me.  By passing it between my hands as I encircle my spot, I can keep them moving by ensuring the target doesn’t stop.  This game also includes hiding it beneath me or behind me, dragging it up over furniture so they’re induced to give chase, and eventually dropping the toy so that I can go to the bathroom and tend my bloody wounds—a given event.  This game can be played with many different toys, but it’s also quite fun (and safer for me) when done with things like box straps (which is what Kazon is waiting to do in this photo).

Loki enjoys wrestling/hand chasing.  I inevitably end the game because I’m beaten and battered and bleeding.  This bit of fun entails nothing more serious than pushing him around, rolling him over so I can scratch his belly, letting him chase and tackle my hand, and otherwise just being rough with him.  I don’t mean so rough as to hurt him; Loki’s a powerful creature, though, and he plays for keeps, so I have to do the same if I want to survive while keeping him entertained.  This game usually starts with petting that turns violent at his behest.  You can see how serious he takes it in these photos, this photo, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth photos in this post.

Kako has made up something called the refrigerator game.  In this particular scenario, she leaps on the fridge and calls to me.  When I finally meet her in the kitchen, it starts out with lots of petting and purring and insistent meowing if I’m not fast or attentive enough for her.  Once she’s had her fill with the affection part of the game, she then wants to either leap to my back or crawl down my arm to my shoulders.  Once there, she moves forward with the “on top of the bridge” part of the bridge game.

Something else Kako enjoys is attacking my legs—more specifically, my knees—when I kneel on the floor.  She grabs them with her claws and rolls around, pushes herself back and forth using them as anchors, grabbing them with predatory ferocity, and generally entertaining herself with my body parts.  That’s something you can see here.

I need not point out they all like playing on their own with toys.  Catnip toys are their favorites, but any toy is good enough under the right circumstances.  And by toys I don’t mean only items purchased for them; I mean anything that can double as a toy, such as bottle caps, strings, my shoes (!), me, paper, balled-up aluminum foil, bags and boxes (oh, yes, wonderful bags and boxes!), and pretty much anything else.  In fact, most people with cats in their homes will tell you that preferred feline toys are the things you didn’t buy for them.

Kako and Kazon enjoy playing hide-and-go-seek.  The two problems with this is that I don’t know the game’s in play until they’re already hidden, and I never get to be the one hiding—I always have to do the seeking.  Nevertheless, it’s fun.  They’ll find a spot in which to hide, whether it’s a cabinet or behind a door or just in another room, and then they’ll call out in a way that I know announces they want me to come find them.  So I do.  Much love is showered on them when they’re finally discovered, but the process of locating them must be filled with announcements (e.g., “Where’s Kazon?” or “I wonder where Kako’s hiding…”) so they know I’m looking for them.

All of them like to hunt things—that should be obvious given they’re cats—so of course throwing things and letting them chase them is always a bit of fun we can share.

Making the bed is a game I don’t really consider fun, but they certainly think otherwise.  Whatever they can do to interfere with the process appears to be high-caliber entertainment.  Whether it’s leaping to the bed in time for the sheet to fall on top of them, lying on the mattress to keep the chore from moving forward, or landing atop the sheet or blanket when it’s tossed on the bed so that it can’t be moved into its proper position, they have a plethora of ways to make this mundane activity seem like the Bestest. Thing. Evah.

Vazra loves to play in the bathtub.  He chases imaginary prey, not to mention his own tail, and makes quite a ruckus in the process.  I get to join in by grabbing a toy—any toy—and offering him something real to hunt.  Each time he catches it, I take it and start the game over again.  It’s sometimes necessary for me to pull the shower curtain out and hang it up because he’s prone to attack it or get tangled in it while he’s playing.  I’m sure, as time goes on, I’ll discover more games he likes to play outside of the normal cat stuff, but he’s new ’round these parts and we’re still learning all about each other.

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