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Best cat games to play when you need more batting, bounding, and barfing

The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs, one of the best cat games
(Image credit: EA )

The best cat games are best played with a cat in your lap, but if you're only able to pursue virtual options at this time, they'll still help you out. We scooped deep into the big hits and deep cuts alike from recent gaming memory and came back with several clumps full of the best cat games that you can play right now, including games where cats are a significant part of the experience as well as games where you actually play as a cat. They represent all kinds of genres and play styles, but they're all united by that unique appeal of a cat that could be your best friend one moment and a property-destroying terror the next.

10. Nintendogs + Cats 

Nintendogs + Cats, one of the best cat games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Available on: 3DS

It's a decade-old 3DS launch title - and cats will never forgive Nintendo for giving them second billing in the title - but Nintendogs + Cats is still one of the best cat games ever made. Its adorable recreation of three kitten breeds (standard, oriental, and longhair) give you your choice of fuzzy pals to befriend, and if you play with 3D enabled it really does feel like you're staring through a little window into their home. Unfortunately, you can't teach the kittens tricks or take them out on the town like you can with their puppy counterparts, but they will sneak off and bring you gifts every now and then to show you that they really do care. None of the gift possibilities are dead birds or mice, but it's OK to sacrifice realism every now and then.

9. Catlateral Damage

Catlateral Damage, one of the best cat games

(Image credit: Chris Chung)

Available on: PC, PS4

If you're into the idea of playing as a cat, you're eventually going to want to start knocking things off the table. That's the whole idea in Catlateral Damage: leap around procedurally generated environments in search of the most breakable stuff, then break it. Occasionally a special event will pop up where you can chase and catch a mouse or something like that, but ultimately it's all about that sweet destructive satisfaction. Catlateral Damage is good fun to play as a standard flat-screen experience, but it's even better if you play in virtual reality with full motion controls for an even more immersive asshole cat experience.

8. Gato Roboto

Gato Robot, one of the best cat games

(Image credit: doinksoft)

Available on: PC, Nintendo Switch

What if Samus Aran was a cat, but still did pretty much all the same stuff? Then you would be playing Gato Roboto, a retro sidescroller that pairs its unabashed Metroid-inspired action with stylishly lo-fi pixel art and music. Intrepid ship's cat Kiki must continue her human's mission (since she's kind of the reason he's trapped on his ship) by curling up in a suit of power armor and blasting through caverns full of hostile creatures - but she'll also need to pop out now and then to make the most of her feline agility and smaller profile. Gato Roboto is a brief and minimalist Metroid-style experience, perfect for when you need a little more cat action in your life.

7. Blacksad: Under the Skin

Blacksad: Under the Skin, one of the best cat games

(Image credit: Pendulo Studios)

Available on: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One

This film-noir-inspired detective adventure game is sort of like if The Wolf Among Us was a Cat Among Us instead, and if literally everybody was animals. You play as John Blacksad, a private detective, World War 2 veteran, and big muscular catman, as you follow one of the toughest cases of his career. While his story slots in neatly with the rest of the Blacksad comic, you don't need to be familiar with it to appreciate the game - you just have to be ready for a hardboiled detective story. Blacksad: Under the Skin has some rough edges in terms of how it feels to move around the world and find clues, but its reactive tale (with six endings based on your choices) is worthwhile for grizzled cat fanciers of all stripes. 

6. Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector

Neko Atsume, one of the best cat games

(Image credit: Hit-Point Co.)

Available on: Android, iOS

No list of the best cat games would be complete without the definitive kitty collecting game on mobile devices. Neko Atsume is a supremely simple experience: you set out toys, treats, and furniture in your yard and wait for cats to show up and help themselves. That's it! The joy is in "collecting" all of the different varieties of cat that roam through your neighborhood, then using the gifts they leave behind to purchase even more cat-luring goodies, expanding and renovating your home to make it more cat-attractive, and so on. There are even special rare cats that you'll need to create just the right circumstances to see. Neko Atsume is the kind of game that becomes a part of your daily routine, and who wouldn't want to have more cute cartoon cats in their routine?

5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons, one of the best cat games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Available on: Nintendo Switch

While we're talking about collecting cats, we have to address the true endgame of one of the most popular games of the last few years: assembling an island of nothing but cat villagers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Sure, there are plenty of other species of villagers to meet, and they're all perfectly good too… but cats. Plus, is it any coincidence that Raymond, the most sought-after villager in the entire New Horizon community, is himself a cat? I think not. Engineering the perfect setting for a bunch of ingrates who lounge around on all of the furniture like they own the place is also an incredibly realistic cat owner experience.

4. Gravity Rush

Gravity Rush Remastered, one of the best cat games

(Image credit: Sony)

Available on: PS4 (Remastered), PS Vita

What the heck is a game about a girl who can control gravity doing on a list of the best cat games? I'm so glad you asked, because the answer is a two-parter: one, she gets all of her powers from a mysterious space cat whose coat is the color of the cosmos, and who is your constant companion in the game; and two, you may not play as a cat, but you do play as a Kat. Seriously though, the bond between Kat and Dusty is a key part of Gravity Rush's story, and it never gets old watching Dusty wander around whenever you stand idle for more than a few seconds. Gravity Rush was clearly made by people with a deep and abiding love for cats in their hearts. 

3. Night in the Woods

Night in the Woods, one of the best cat games

(Image credit: Infinite Fall)

Available on: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One

Night in the Woods is about coming home, finding it has changed, not being sure how to feel about that, and - this is most important for our purposes of laying out the best cat games - a game where you play as a cartoon cat. I mean, sure, everybody's some kind of anthropomorphic animal in this world, and nobody ever makes a big deal about it. The last thing Night in the Woods wants to do is lay out a deep lore backstory for why everybody's animals in this crumbling rust belt town. However, it does feel very true that Mae - a deeply conflicted character who occasionally indulges in breaking stuff for the sake of breaking stuff - should be rendered as a cat. 

2. The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs

The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs, one of the best cat games

(Image credit: EA)

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One

What good is recreating a digital version of yourself and giving them the perfect home if your cat isn't there to barf on the floor? The base version of The Sims 4 sadly doesn't include options to add pets to families, but as the name suggests, The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs expansion is all over it. You start off by creating your furred friend with a character creation suite with options and flexibility that rival its Sim counterpart, then you add them to your family and feel your heart swell. You can't control your pets directly, which is especially realistic for cats, but there are a bunch of ways for your Sims to care for and otherwise interact with them. You can even open up your own veterinary clinic as a business if you just can't get enough digital animal pals. 

1. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, one of the best cat games

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Available on: Nintendo Switch

Never before has the Mario franchise been this deeply invested in all things feline, and perhaps it never will be again. But for this one game, Mario and friends truly become the cat. Well, it's actually more like two games: the original action of Super Mario 3D World introduced Cat Mario, giving that most heroic plumber the ability to scratch, climb walls, and dive through the air with the grace of a cat chasing after another cat. But that's just a cat-petizer to the all-encompassing felinity of Bowser's Fury, a brand new open-world adventure that unfolds in a strange corner of Super Mario's world where everything except Bowser is some kind of cat. The Goombas, the shines, the trees, the architecture, the, well, cats.

I got my degree in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I got there was from working at CM Life, its student-run campus newspaper. I got my degree in video games from bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.