Follow the Leader
Playing with cats is one of my favorite ways to interact with them. It's fun for me and healthy for them. Cats have natural hunting instincts so playing helps release these impulses. Mannie loves chasing balls and Millie, who is usually most content snoozing, loves pouncing on a flashlight beam dancing across the floor.
The type of play depends on the cat. Take my foster kitty, Tula, for example. She became interested in a new catnip mouse. She would carry it in her mouth all over the house. This made me wonder if I could teach her to fetch. I gently took the toy away from her, threw it across the room and made encouraging gestures and noises for her to retrieve it. Nothing happened. I tried again. Tula started grooming herself. I brought the mouse back to her. She took it in her mouth and trotted away. Hmm, this wasn't going so well.
I must've thrown that mouse dozens of times before, Mannie, who had probably gotten frustrated by Tula's lack of interest, chased after the mouse himself! Within moments of seeing Mannie's behavior, Tula followed it. Maybe I should be teaching Mannie to fetch instead?