When speaking to cat parents about the importance of enrichment, one excuse we often hear is that their cats don’t like to play. Cats that don’t play are only doing so because they don’t feel comfortable being a “cat”.
Cats in nature stalk, hunt, pounce and eat their prey. Felines, like other mammals, are usually taught by their mothers how to hunt. This skill is reinforced by the kittens playing with their littermates. Have you ever watched a litter of kittens play? They stalk each other and pounce on each other – so darn cute!
However, playing for cats is not just about having fun. For cats in the wild it’s actually a survival skill. This is a basic instinct that our cats have. It’s a strong instinct and with our indoor kitty cats it’s our responsibility to give them the time to exhibit these very natural behaviors through play.
Yes, as mentioned above there are a lot of people that tell us that their cat or cats just don’t want to play. They say they are lazy and sleep most of the time. Do you know that this is a sign of a stressed out cat? Cats do sleep a lot, about an average of 16 to 18 hours. That gives that 6 to 8 hours a day that they should be active, playing, eating, grooming, getting love etc.
Tips For Cats That Don’t Play
So if your cat is not wanting to play at all, this is a sign they are stressed and are just not feeling comfortable with their natural instinct to hunt. We can fix this!
Let’s first start by trying different toys. Some cats love to chase things that crawl on the ground. Other cats like to catch flying prey. I have one cat that loves this wand toy I bought that looks like an orange worm. My other cat LOVES to play fetch with pom pom balls. She will run and get them and actually bring them back to me and repeat the process. She is so cute when she catches it, but I digress.
Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy a bunch of different toys. Sometimes it’s as simple as a shoelace and a ping pong ball. You can also do a search for DIY cat toys. People have some fun ideas!
If your cat is wary about playing, start with some one on one time with him or her. Groom them, give them a favorite treat etc. Start to slowly introduce playing with them. Do this on a regular schedule and before you know it, you will have your cat playing and having a great time! It will be such a great bonding experience for both of you too.
Remember a cat that is not sick and does not want to play is probably a stressed out cat. They won’t show that they are stressed out but it’s so important to get our kitties moving, stalking, pouncing like life intended for them to do.