If your kids are intent on helping some precious lil’ animals find their furever homes, you’re in luck — and you don’t even have to buy any cat litter!

Enter Cat Rescue from Chronicle Books, the interactive card game in which players work together to score points by rescuing cats, placing them in a shelter, prepping them for adoption, and sending them off to feline bliss in a loving home. The game’s ultimate goal is to get all of the little kitties off the street. Gameplay continues until that happens or three cats find themselves all ensconced in a single foster home. The game is easy to learn and quick and easy to play, with gameplay lasting only about 15-20 minutes.

One to five players ages 8 and up who already have a penchant for tile and sliding games — think Tetris, Candy Crush, etc. — will enjoy the cute and quirky game. It’s full of distinctive details that are on brand for cat lovers and help the game stand out in a sea of other game options. For example, the game “board” is actually a soft, terry cloth-like square of fabric with game tiles printed on one side. The printed board features illustrations of cat treats and toys, and the five power markers (you only have to worry about these for expanded play) are in the shape of treats. If that’s not kitschy enough to get you excited, just hold tight: The interior of the game box is printed to resemble a cat’s dream forever home, with the top and bottom nesting together. Cat Rescue also includes 33 Stray Cat cards (six of each: red, yellow, green, purple, blue; and three Wild Cat cards) and one Delivery Token (one side is the terrible, lonely Street, and the other side is a warm and fuzzy Foster Home).

To get started, kids will lay out the board aka the Shelter and place the shuffled deck of Stray Cat cards facedown next to it. Those form the Street deck. Next, take the top four cards from the Street deck and place each one faceup in the middle four spaces of the Shelter. Choose a dealer to deal out two Stray Cats from the Street deck to each player. The cards should be kept faceup in front of each player. (Whew! We’re halfway there! Stay with me!) Place the Delivery Token on top of the right cat in the Shelter (with the Street side facing up and the arrow pointing left toward the cat). Lastly, set up the cats’ cozy forever home by nestling the boxes together — once you open the box, it’s immediately obvious how to fit them together — and get started! The player who pet a cat most recently gets to go first.

It’s not difficult to play Cat Rescue, but it *does* make a lot more sense when you’re staring at the colorful diagrams included in the instruction booklet, so we’ll spare you a long digest of step-by-step instructions. Just trust us: Cat Rescue is the game-night pick you need, infusing just a bit of Catitude into a cooperative, family game. It won’t ship until May 5, but you can preorder the game now if you’re feeling frisky.


About the author

Sierra McCleary-Harris

Sierra McCleary-Harris

Sierra McCleary-Harris is a senior editor at Adventure Publishing Group, editing and producing content for the Toy Insider, the Toy Book, and the Pop Insider. If she's not at her desk, you can find her somewhere doing a puzzle, losing it over the latest arts and crafts, or hanging out with her kitties Hazelnutz & Pepper Ann.