I have two absolutely adorable cats who love to play each other and me. We have a few different games we play, but I'm wondering if they know "tag" is a game.

Sometimes, when they're in a very playful mood or "crazy cat mode" they will see me then run when I step towards them. I'll chase them for a bit and boop them on the head and run away. Sometimes they chase me back or look at me all confused.

I don't think they're scared because if I chase them all the way to the couch they will just stop and no hide underneath (when they get scared they go under the couch sometimes).

Do my cats know this is a game and have fun, or am I scaring them?

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    you know what. I was thinking about this for some time, Till I asked my friend. I Play the same game as u do with both my cats. They get so excited too. Usually the male cat will come scratching the back of my chair in order to run after him. I think it's a good sign. IT means that your cats consider you as part of the pack. They know that u are having fun with them. They feel it too, I mean u are not being mad at them. When u run after them also try to talk with them. They will know from the tone of your voice and also from your boby movement that it's just playing.
    – Hani Gotc
    May 23, 2019 at 20:03
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    They are not scared at all. no worries
    – Hani Gotc
    May 23, 2019 at 20:05
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    My cat does exactly the same thing! and she's a very scaredy cat with strangers. So I would say no worries! enjoy playing with your cats!
    – PandaPants
    May 28, 2019 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, unlike dogs, cats do not have a specific signal they use to indicate they want to play. However, if you observe their body language, you can figure out whether they're afraid or if they're playing.

  • Are their ears laid back? A playing cat may tense up a bit, with its ears back a little, but ears completely flat is definitely a fear response.
  • Is it fluffing up? Cats usually only fluff up when they're scared.
  • Is the cat running straight for a hiding place and refusing to come out? Cats might hide during play, but usually they'll stick a head or a paw out for play fighting while play hiding. Completely hiding ruins the game.
  • Does the cat continue to run from you when you stop running? It won't matter to a scared cat if you stop, it will keep trying to get away from you. A playing cat will usually stop running away once it's become clear you've stopped.

As a note, cats at play typically do it in a short burst, like a few seconds, then they stop to give the other cat a chance to reciprocate. It would probably help to make it clear you are just playing if you only chase them for a short burst.

But given your details, it sounds like your cats think it's play.

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