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My cat doesn't want to play!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, I've been lurking this site for a while now, though I think this is my first post. I've seen lots of good advice given here, so I thought I'd ask...

My cat doesn't really show interest in playing. I have several interactive toys, including sticks with ribbons, bells, strings, feathers, felt... and I have a laser light. I can barely keep her interested in anything for more than 5 minutes or so. She will play on her own with her favorite little "mousies" on occasion but I can barely engage her in playing with me.

She begs me for attention when I'm on my computer, so I go and try to play with her and she isn't interested. I just get ignored. I swear I've bought her every variety of toy under the sun, but I just can't entice her. Does anyone else have this problem?

She's young, just over a year old. I know it sounds stupid, but could I be possibly "playing" with her the wrong way? I just don't know what to do! My main issues are that I want her to be intellectually stimulated and to get sufficient exercise. She's a lazy girl (like her mom, ) who likes to sleep most of the day.

Any advice?
post #2 of 9
Take one of the wand toys you have - one with the thinnest string (or whatever) holding its toy on at the end. Take off the toy. Tie the string around one of her little favorite mouse toys.

Make it move like a wounded mouse, on the floor, in jerky motions. Also, our cats go completey nuts trying to dig it out or get at it if you make it disappear under a throw rug.

...but there are some cats that are lazy and aren't much into play! All of our cats are feral rescues, and they didn't know what play was at first.

But seven years into it... they like to be lazy kitties. Basically they won't run after anything. We have to toss the toy near their face, make it move all jerky, and toss it back right near their paws. Then they'll start playing with it. The only time they'll run to get it is.... if we make it disappear under the throw rugs!

Some people have had great success with a feather interactive wand toy called da Bird. It is different, because the feather is on a swivel like you use with fishing lines for lures. So it swirls without twisting the string, and it makes a very different noise. Even that one caught our kitties' attention for several months. Maybe give it a try?
post #3 of 9
My 6 yr. old doesn't play either. Never has. She used to be a hunter and would catch a bird a day, but hasn't done that now in the last year or two.

My 3 mo. kitten will play with anything.
post #4 of 9
I have a kitty I recently took in that doesn't like playing with me, either. She will play by herself.
One reason for her is that she's still a little skittish at times - if I walk up to her she'll run a little ways away, does not like me standing over her (unless I have food ), doesn't like anything in my hands hanging over her.
Dragged and tossed toys are ok. I can only assume that she's perceiving my body language as too threatening. Some more submissive cats may be a bit iffy about this, too.

I have another one that I took in back in December that was the same way at first and also scared of me holding anything that looking like stick or broom. I suspect a tad bit of abuse from whoever used to have him. Again, I modified my body language by getting down on the floor (laying down) and dragging ribbons and such and he played with me more. Now he trusts me enough that he doesn't run every time I pick up an item like a broom.

So, get down on your cat's level and try toys with longer strings. Maybe tie toys to them that make a little bit of noise. To encourage self play more, try more types of toys. I have one cat that loves balls of all sorts - especially the little mylar crinkle balls. The new kitty loves these little yellow knitted mice that I got out of some toy variety pack (too bad the mice are nearly destroyed now).


Also, is your kitty spay? A lot of female kitties stay or become more playful if they're not going into heat all the time.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.

Yes, my kitty is spayed. At the time when I adopted her I didn't even get to touch her until I brought her home. When I met her at the shelter she cowered in the corner under the desk the whole time I was there. It was painfully obvious that she had been subjected to some kind of abuse.

After I brought her home, I was just like "what was I thinking?!?" as she hid under my bed for the first couple of days. But by day 3 she was sleeping on my lap. She isn't overly cuddly and doesn't really like to be held, but she will sit on my lap to be petted and she loves to curl up next to me at night.

She seems to be more of a stalker than a chaser... when I'm able to interest her with toys she "stalks" for several minutes and then "chases", but then she just gives up, for lack of a better term.

She was 5 months old when I adopted her, and she was brought in as a lost and found, so I don't know if she was feral or not. Anyway, I appreciate the responses. I love her to death, it's hard to remember life without her, even though I've only had her for 10 months...

And because I like to show her off:

post #6 of 9
^Unless you notice a definite pattern in what scares her, I doubt she was abused. Some kitties are just more skittish, it tends to happen if they're not socialized well enough when young - or some do it anyways, they're a small animal and we're much larger.

As for feral, she was on your lap by day three? No, she's not feral. You have to work longer to win a feral's trust, but who knows what sort of life she had before you.
Your little girl also sounds a lot like the one I took in - she's all black with deep gold eyes, too.


Keep trying toys, catnip/catnip toys, and make sure she's not eating more calories than she can burn off running around the house and with what play she does do and she should be fine.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks, strange_wings. I guess I just assumed she had been abused because she cowered from me AND my counselor when I adopted her. She's totally afraid of humans (except for me now), and whenever I have people over she runs and hides.

She was 5 months old when I adopted her, though she had been at the shelter for 2 months already at that point. They told me she'd been brought in with her mother and litter, but you're right, it could be a socialization issue. She certainly wasn't the cat I envisioned myself adopting, but when my counselor told me that nobody had wanted her because normally people looking for kittens wanted the outgoing, playful ones, and Holland didn't fit that bill. Then she said "Holland just needs to go home". And then I almost cried (OK maybe I did cry) and said "I'll take her". One of the best decisions I ever made!!

She's a small girl, only about 8 pounds, so I follow the feeding directions on her food (Science Diet) and feed her only half a cup a day. She's definitely not overweight.

It's funny, there are times (like this morning, actually) that she just goes nutso and runs around my condo. I think it's a game for her - if I even look at her she takes off. She's a weird little kid...
post #8 of 9
We have one or two kitties that do this insano nutso running around for no reason we can determine. Shelly will go FLYING around the place - rush up the cat tree down - stop - and I slooooowly walk toward him and then STOMP my next step toward him - he goes flying again!
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Laurie, glad to know mine's not the only one who acts nutso every once in a while...
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