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Why Won T My Cat Play by Himself?

Views: 4     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2024-04-18      Origin: Site

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Why Won T My Cat Play by Himself?

Does your cat just sit there and watch you when you throw a ball or dangle a string to your cat? You may be concerned that your cat needs the stimulation and activity of play. Learn why your cat seems indifferent to play and what you can do about it.

Cats naturally fall into a range of personalities and activity levels. All kittens can play, but their interest in high-energy play peaks at 4 to 5 months of age and gradually declines thereafter. Once cats reach adulthood, they tend to fall into two broad categories: rubber-ankle cats who continue to play, and lap cats who prefer less activity. There are ways to encourage activity, which is good for both the body and the brain. However, there may be other issues affecting your cat's behavior that can be evaluated using H.I.S.S.


HISS test


Health definitely affects activity levels. Age-related problems such as arthritis can reduce interest in play. Any health challenges that make your cat feel uncomfortable, such as intestinal worms, may reduce your cat's activity.


Cats' play mimics hunting. Movement can trigger paw-flapping and chasing behavior. Kittens are addicted to self-play and can entertain themselves. They really enjoy throwing cat toys and chasing human feet, but adult cats need more direct stimulation. Cat toys are often just as good as the human toys on the other end of the spectrum.


Any stress that often comes with sudden changes can affect your cat's activity level. A cat that feels stressed out won't want to play.


Changes in your cat's daily behavior may be a sign of a medical condition. If your cat usually enjoys playing but suddenly becomes inactive or lethargic, it's worth talking to your veterinarian. The exam may reveal a urinary tract infection or other problems that can be resolved with treatment. If your cat is healthy, you can look for ways to stimulate play more effectively.

encourage play

Adult cats no longer need the frenzied play activities of kittenhood. The cat most likely has a personality that likes to sit on the lap and doesn't like to play on its own. Maybe the cat actually enjoys her "cat TV" watching you pretend to be a cat and play games for her. But you might just not have found the perfect toy for your cat just yet.


You may have tried catnip toys, but be aware that not all cats respond to catnip. One third of cats don't care. Fresh catnip may transform a previously aloof cat because it is much more potent. Visit a pet product store and purchase some growing catnip. Crush a leaf and see if your cat responds better to the real thing. Catnip has many benefits and goes bad quickly. If you can find a bag filled with strong catnip, you can store some toys in the bag to help them out.

Toys need to move in interesting ways to attract your cat's attention. The feathers can be "snaked" along the floor for cats to chase, or even held overhead for cats to scratch. Playing the game of "disappearing" feathers can really turn some cats on. Use an old shirt or pillow and thread a long feather or piece of yarn underneath, then slowly pull it so it's "hidden" from your cat's eyes. Cats may go crazy trying to catch the feather before it disappears.

Fishing rod bait toys are a real favorite among many cats. Forget boring yarn and opt for a "big bird" toy, which has a fluttering feather on the end of the string to fly through the air. Cat product stores sell these decoy toys, as well as various styles of feather sticks known as "cat teasers." Some have bells, shiny mylar, rattles, etc. to interest the cat. Or you can try other cheap thrills with homemade toys.

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