Don't underestimate the power of play. Cats need play sessions to engage their minds and exercise their bodies. We all know cats enjoy a good catnip-filled mouse now and then, but those stuffed toys can get old fast. If you want to shake things up a bit, here are some fun new ways to play with your cat:

1. Play hide-and-seek.

Hide one of your kitty's toys under a blanket and watch her try to uncover the hidden gem. Bonus points for attaching the toy to a string so you can wiggle it under the blanket.

2. Have a singing contest.

When she meows, try to respond with the same sound. She'll most likely meow back. Keep echoing her as she meows back and forth with you.

3. Teach her a trick.

Cats really can learn tricks! Get some treats ready, let her sniff them, and issue a command (like shake). If your cat does what you ask, give her a treat. Repeat.

4. Make her work for her food.

Place a treat under an upside-down plastic cup. Your kitty will have to figure out how to knock over the cup to get to the treat.

5. Give her an empty box.

You know how everyone says toddlers enjoy the box their expensive new toy came in better than the toy itself? Cats are the same way. Open up a box and place a ball inside for her to bat around.

6. Blow bubbles.

Take your cat outside in an enclosed area and blow her bubbles to chase with a non-toxic bubble solution. Your cat will have fun trying to catch the bubbles and popping them instead.

7. Set up a treasure hunt.

Hide treats in safe, but hard-to-reach spots throughout your home. You could place them on top of a tall sturdy shelf, or wherever else your cat might look. Then watch her as she goes on the hunt!

8. Start a game of tag.

Chase your kitty around the house in a fun and playful way. When you catch up with her, "tag" her and see if she'll chase you back. To make sure she's enjoying the game (and not running in fear), watch that her tail stays up, not down.

9. Use your smartphone.

Go online and download a fun cat app. Then set the phone down on a flat surface and watch your cat start pawing away.

Don't get stuck in the 'same mouse, different day' routine. Make things interesting when you play with your cat to keep her healthy and happy.

Do you play any special, fun games with your kitty? Let us know in the comments!