Does your cat sleep a lot and don’t play? Before you used to play and now you spend more time doing nothing? Well, this is not a strange thing. The game may sound easy, but we don’t always get it right.
In this post I am going to give you 7 ideas to get your cat to play. We will first see the different reasons that can lead a cat not to play. Surely you will feel identified with some of them.
But then I’m going to leave you the 7 practical tips for your cat to play, regardless of its age or physical shape.
The reasons why your cat does not play with you
Let’s quickly review all the reasons that can cause your cat not to play:
You don’t have the confidence to do it yet – this will happen when you have a newly adopted kitten. Just give it time and let it build confidence.
Age: when cats get older they tend to play less, but that’s not why you should stop trying. Play is the best way to keep fit.
Overweight: when they gain weight they have less energy, and therefore they will play less. Here, even more so, you should try to get your cat to play.
He gets frustrated or bored: you have to play how your cat likes, not how you like it.
It is scared: there are scary cats that fear toys when they move.
Feeling unwell: stopping playing can be a symptom of a cat that is unwell. In these cases you should go to the vet.
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Now that we have seen the possible reasons, let’s go with the tips.
1. Hide toys when not playing
This is one of the points where there is the most failure. For convenience we always leave all toys within reach of our cat, but instead we should keep them.
If you hide the toys and take them out when it is time to play, it will give you extra motivation to play.
On the other hand, if you always leave them within reach, he will play with them at first, but little by little he will get used to it and will not see any stimulation in them.
You should do this with the toys in which you interact with him. Put the rod, stuffed animals and any other toy you use to play with it in a box and take them out exclusively when it is time to play.
2. Rotating toys
Have you already put away all the toys you use to play with him? Well, now look at which ones you have made available and look for alternatives.
It often happens that we always leave the same interactive toys available, believing that this will be enough, but we do not think that the cat will end up getting bored with them.
It’s like having a console and always playing the same video game. How long after will you want to play a different game? Well, the same thing happens with cats.
Leave a few toys for him to entertain himself, but after a few weeks swap them out for others. When a few weeks have passed again, it will be time to change them again, and it may be for new ones and remove the ones you saved the previous time.
It is not about constantly buying toys, but about leaving them intermittently. When a time has passed and they see it again they will take it more eagerly.
3. Toys of different textures
Each cat has a different personality and will have a greater preference for some types of toy than others. Getting your cat to play involves finding the perfect toy.
Try different compositions and investigate your cat’s interest. You have a wide range of possibilities: toys with feathers, stuffed animals, cloth toys, balls…
But you can also go a step further and offer him hunting toys, thinking toys or even toys in which you can hide food.
The toy par excellence is the pen, but you should also try other options.
4. Change the way you move the reed
This is, without a doubt, the main mistake we make when trying to play with our cat. It is the cause of both cats getting scared and bored or frustrated.
Learning to move the pen is essential. We tend to just move it, but to get your cat to play you have to move it with sense.
If your cat is one of those that is scared when seeing the movement of the feather, it is that you are making very aggressive movements. This usually happens when we move it through the air and bring it closer to our cat.
Instead, try moving it very slowly across the floor without it getting close to your cat.
Let it pass by or drift away. Look for slow but constant movements, so that your cat knows that at no time that feather is going to pounce on him. You will see how at the end he enters the game and tries to hunt her down.
On the other hand we have cats that get frustrated or bored with the game. Here the failure is usually again in the movement we make with the rod.
The solution is easy: you must find the movement that activates your cat’s hunting instinct.
To do this, it imitates the movement of some animals, such as mice, birds or rabbits. It is even a good idea to hide the pen behind a piece of furniture to make it come out at the other end.
Knowing how to move the pen is essential, and trying to imitate the movement of an animal to hunt is the best solution.
If you want to go deeper into this point, I recommend that you see the post in which we teach you to play with your cat so that it becomes physically tired.
5. Let him get his reward
Don’t make the mistake of letting your cat always run after the toy but never catch it. If you do this, your cat will get frustrated and bored with the game, as it never gets its reward.
Fixing this is easy: every so often let him catch the toy and chew on it for a few seconds. This will give you the feeling of having hunted your prey and will further stimulate you to try to hunt it next time.
In addition, you can go a step further and occasionally give him some food after having hunted the toy. This way your cat will have a feeling more similar to the one it has in the middle of nature. When they hunt a prey the final prize is the obtaining of food.
6. Help yourself with catnip
To get your cat’s attention for a toy, you can try catnip. This herb has an immediate effect on most cats and can be an extra help.
However, not all cats will be activated, so you will have to test how it affects your feline.
If you activate it, you can use it to try to get him to play with that toy, but if this herb relaxes your cat, it will not serve to encourage him to play.
Remember that catnip and catnip are not the same. If you want to know the difference between both herbs, visit the post in which we explain this to you in more detail.
7. Cat laser
Finally I leave you an idea that may be useful: use the laser pointer to activate your feline. Surely more than once you have seen a cat chasing this luminous point, and there are felines that go completely crazy every time they see one.
The idea is to use the laser pointer to activate your cat, and thus later channel its energy to a toy such as the cane.
However, you must be careful with this device. If it is misused it can be harmful to our cat.
Do you want to know more about laser pointers and cats? Then I recommend that you visit the post in which we tell you everything you need to know about laser pointers.
With these 7 tips you have more tools to get your feline to play. If you succeed, you will not only get your cat to exercise, but you will also strengthen your bond.