For felines that 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 well-being of the cat. However, some individuals do not seem to appreciate the fact of gambling. Should we be worried about it? What to do in this case? The point in this file.
The relation of the cat to the game
First, it is important to understand the importance of play for the cat. Essential to its development, play allows the kitten to expend its energy, while developing its muscles and its senses. The forms of play then evolve with the age of the animal. From 4 weeks, the tiny cat plays in this way by fighting with its brothers and sisters, with the aim of establishing a hierarchical order within the siblings. Around 2 months of age, social games give way to predatory activities : the kitten reconnects here with its hunting instinct, which it exercises on toys considered as prey.
While recreational activity tends to decrease over the years, it is nonetheless essential for the physical and mental balance of the adult cat. It thus remains an excellent way to exercise, in order to limit the problems of overweight or obesity, especially for an indoor cat who has no access to the outside. This physical and mental stimulation also helps to strengthen the trust and complicity of the animal towards its owner. The game is also a good way to avoid boredom to an apartment cat, while helping to relieve stress or anxiety.
Why does my cat not like to play?
Some felines can 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 completely. It is first of all about ask you 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 listlessness? These first questions should already help you better understand the behavior of your little feline. The reasons that can explain the absence of play in a tomcat are then very varied.
The cat does not like the toys you offer him
First of all, you should know that cats tend to get bored quite quickly of their toys. If you’ve been constantly turning around with the same objects for several months or years, don’t be too surprised if your companion disdains them after a while. Moreover, it is quite possible that the toys offered do not please him at all, because of their shape or their texture.
The cat is afraid of a particular toy
If your tomcat is sulking at his favorite game overnight, it’s quite possible that he’s had a traumatic experience with the latter. Sudden noise, breakage of the object, uncontrolled slip leading to a fall or injury while using it, the causes 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 to relax and gain confidence. The animal needs to create its bearings by appropriating its new home and by forging a relationship with you; and if he hasn’t already, he probably doesn’t feel comfortable 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 induced by an upset within the home (moving, arrival of a child or an animal, work, etc.), felines being very sensitive to change and attached to their routine. Anxiety can also part of 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 joints can also make him suffer, and therefore do not encourage him to embark on a mad chase or a hunt for the stuffed mouse.
The cat is sick
Your companion, usually a great player, no longer gets up when you brandish his favorite toy? It’s probably a sign of discomfort. If our little felines excel in the art of hiding their suffering, everything sudden change in behavior should warn you, especially if accompanied by other, even subtle, symptoms. The fact of losing the taste for the game can thus hide an illness or an injury. It is not necessarily a serious condition, but consulting 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 keep in mind that it will depend above all on the character and desires of your animal, you can however try to apply the following advice:
- Offer very different games to your kitty. Vary the textures (plastic, rubber, rope, fur, fabric…), the shapes (square, round, oval, oblong…), as well as the characteristics of the toys (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 objects often to entertain him, always according to his preferences. In order to maintain his interest, do not hesitate to store them well in a box or cupboard between play sessions, and only pulling out one or two different ones each day. Surprise effect guaranteed!
- Leave the choice to your cat. Many felines are attracted to everyday objects, such as cardboard boxes from parcels, paper bags or pieces of string. Before throwing them away, allow your companion to have fun with them, checking however that the object in question is safe for his health, especially in terms of the risk of suffocation.
- Use of catnip. Catnip is a euphoric substance that stimulates felines. You can thus buy toys directly impregnated with catnip, or buy fresh ones to crush between your fingers.
- Make sure to create a game routine. Cats are naturally reassured by a solid organization of their daily life, as well as by the repetition of certain rituals. We advise you to devote several tens 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 the age of your cat. It is obvious that you will not play the same way with a kitten as with a senior cat. In all cases, it is respect the desires and needs of your pet. In addition, small cats or old 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 veterinarian 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 trend may well be inscribed in his calm character, especially if he is already an adult. Similarly, some individuals are naturally lazy and won’t have the energy to spend jumping or leaping to grab the end of a feather duster. However, physical and mental stimulation remains essential for a cat’s balance, as well as for its overall good health. The latter can then turn to other activities, either on their own, or if you encourage them to do so.
Enriching the feline’s environment, especially if he lives exclusively indoors, for example embodies an interesting option: cat tree, shelves or dedicated platforms near a window, floor or wall path, scratching posts, etc. Cats like to stay in high places to explore their environment at their leisure. A tomcat who lives outside will also be able to meet his activity needs by the hunt, although some love to play with their master when they return home. However, we advise you to always remain attentive to any signs of boredom or discomfort in your petwhich could eventually cause behavioral problems: destruction of objects, nibbling of plants, aggressiveness, depression… Thanks to your help and your daily presence, your feline will find the activity that suits him, the most important being it may have fun while maintaining health and well-being.