For felines who live in apartments, play replaces hunting. Whether practiced by the animal alone or with its owner, this activity provides the physical and mental stimulation necessary for the cat’s well-being. However, some individuals do not seem to appreciate the fact of gambling. Should we be concerned about it? What to do in this case? The point of this file.
The cat’s relationship to the game
First, it is important to understand the importance of play for the cat. Crucial to its development, play gives the kitten the opportunity to use its energy while developing its muscles and senses. The forms of play then develop with the animal’s age. From 4 weeks, the little cat plays in this way by fighting with its brothers and sisters, with the aim of establishing a hierarchical order among siblings. Around 2 months of age, social games make room for it predation-oriented activities : the kitten reconnects here with its hunting instinct, which it exercises on toys that are considered prey.
While recreational activity tends to decline over the years, it is nonetheless essential for the physical and mental balance of the adult cat. It is thus still an excellent way to exercise to limit the problems of overweight or obesity, especially for an indoor cat that does not have access to the outdoors. This physical and mental stimulation also helps to strengthen the animal’s trust and cooperation towards its owner. The game is also a good way to avoid boredom for an apartment cat, while also helping to relieve stress or anxiety.
Why doesn’t my cat like to play?
Some felines may show a more or less sudden disinterest in the game when some have always refused to play. The level of playful activity then decreases in frequency or intensity, or even disappears altogether. It is primarily about ask yourself the right questions : how old is your cat? When did he stop playing? Did he do it suddenly? Have you noticed any other abnormal signs, such as lack of appetite, weight gain or general lethargy? These first questions should already help you better understand your little cat’s behavior. The reasons that can explain the absence of play in a tomcat are very different.
The cat does not like the toy you offer him
First of all, you need to know that cats tend to gets bored pretty quickly of their toys. If you’ve been consistently toting around the same items for months or years, don’t be too surprised if your companion despises them after a while. Moreover, it is quite possible that the offered toys will not please him at all because of their shape or their texture.
The cat is afraid of a certain toy
If your tomcat sulks over his favorite game overnight, it’s quite possible he’s had one traumatic experience with the latter. Sudden noise, breakage of the object, uncontrolled sliding leading to a fall or injury while using it, the reasons are numerous and not always easy to identify, especially if you were not present at the time.
The cat does not like to play alone
Some felines just don’t like to play alone because they seek out all interaction with their owner. They therefore prefer to reserve their energy for these shared moments.
The cat does not feel safe
If you have just adopted a kitten or an adult cat, give it time relax and gain confidence. The animal must create its tenants by acquiring its new home and by creating a relationship with you; and if he hasn’t already, he probably doesn’t feel safe enough to let go and play, either alone or with you.
The cat is stressed
Similarly, an anxious animal shows little or no interest in play. temporary stress caused by a disturbance in the home (moving, arrival of a child or an animal, work, etc.), felines are very sensitive to changes and attached to their routine. Anxiety can too part of the character of your animal: it will then be up to you to understand it and adapt accordingly.
The cat is overweight
An overweight or obese feline is generally reluctant to move due to his body mass. His suffered can also make him suffer, and therefore does not encourage him to go on a mad chase or a hunt for the stuffed mouse.
The cat is sick
Your buddy, who is usually a big gamer, no longer gets up when you wave his favorite toy? It is probably a sign of discomfort. If our little felines excel in the art of hiding their suffering, everything sudden change in behavior should alert you, especially if it is accompanied by other, even subtle, symptoms. Losing the taste for the game can thus hide an illness or an injury. It is not necessarily a serious condition, but consultation of a veterinarian imposes itself.
How do I encourage my cat to play?
Once a possible health problem has been ruled out, you logically wonder if it is possible to change this situation and give, or give back to your cat the love of the game. If it is important to remember that it will first of all depend on your animal’s character and wishes, you can, however, try using the following advice:
- Offer very different games for your cat. Vary the textures (plastic, rubber, rope, fur, fabric …), the shapes (square, round, oval, oblong …), as well as the properties of the toy (suspended, rolling, squeaky, reflective …). Know that most cats love when objects move (automatically or through your hand or the wind) as this stimulates their hunting instinct.
- Change toys regularly. If your cat tends to get bored easily, we advise you to buy or make new items often to entertain him, always according to his preferences. To maintain his interest, do not hesitate to store them well in a box or cupboard between play sessions, pulling out only one or two different ones each day. Surprise effect guaranteed!
- Leave the election for your cat. Many felines are attracted to everyday objects, such as cardboard boxes from packages, paper bags or pieces of string. Before you throw them out, let your companion have fun with them, but check that the item in question is safe for his health, especially with regard to the risk of choking.
- The use of catnip. Catnip is a euphoric substance that stimulates felines. You can therefore buy toys directly impregnated with catnip, or buy fresh to crush between your fingers.
- Be sure to create one game routine. Cats are naturally calmed by a solid organization of their daily life, as well as by the repetition of certain rituals. We advise you to set aside several tens of thousands of minutes each day to play with your companion, to be broken up into small sessions throughout the day.
Finally, the level of playful activity must be suitable for your cat’s age. It is obvious that you do not want to play with a kitten in the same way as with a senior cat. In all cases it is respect wishes and needs of your pet. In addition, small cats or older cats need more sleep time, which should not be interrupted under the pretext of a play session. Reserve these moments for the hours when the animal will be awake, fresh and available.
Stimulate your cat differently
If you have tried all the previous methods and your vet has ruled out any pathological condition in your cat, it may be necessary to face the facts: your little feline does not like to play. This tendency can easily be inscribed in his calm nature, especially if he is already an adult. Similarly, some individuals are naturally lazy and will not have the energy to spend jumping or leaping to grab the end of a feather. However, physical and mental stimulation is still essential for a cat’s balance as well as its general good health. The latter can then turn to other activities, either on their own or if you encourage them to do so.
Enrichment of the cat’s environment, especially if he lives exclusively indoors, for example, embodies an interesting option: cat tree, dedicated shelves or platforms near a window, floor or wall path, scratching posts, etc. Cats like to live high up to explore their environment in peace. A cat that lives outside will also be able to meet its activity needs by the hunt, although some love to play with their master when they return home. However, we advise you to do so Always pay attention to signs of boredom or discomfort in your petwhich can ultimately lead to behavioral problems: destroying objects, nibbling plants, aggressiveness, depression… Thanks to your help and your daily presence, your cat will find the activity that suits him, the most important being the have fun while maintaining health and well-being.