So now and then I hear this excuse: “I’ve tried everything, but he really doesn’t want to play”. Below I’ll give you some handy tips to get your lazy housetiger moving again! Because really, he does want to play.
Play the right way
I recognize the way of playing, because that’s how I used to do it too. And the more I think about it, the more it makes sense that your cat does not want to play.
Picture yourself as a cat. You’re made to hunt. Would you excited about playing if someone was waving a ball on a string in your face?
Your cat is a hunter, and he really needs to be stimulated if he wants to play. Some cats are easier stimulated, while others really need some time and effort. So your cat doesn’t want to play? Look at the way you’re trying to play with him. Are waving it in his face? Prey animals don’t run towards their hunter, right?
Of course it’s much more fun if you play with them too and get that toy moving! So get off the couch and motivate your cat to play and have fun! Be enthusiastic and don’t forget to have fun yourself. Your hunter will know when you’re not feeling up for it.
Move that playing-rod like it’s a prey animal! A prey animal would never run towards his enemy. It moves fast. Quick, under that couch, moving towards the other side of the couch before it quickly shoots to something else. Be a prey, think like a prey.
The right toys
I personally find long playing rods for cats comfortable to play with. The Da Bird sounds like a flapping bird and that may drive some cats cuckoo! Some cats like rods that have this little fur-thing on the end of it that will finish the whole prey-idea. Good playing rods are: Flying Frenzy and Nekoflies. Both rods can be switched off with a different toy for more variety.
Also experiment with toys and find out what your cat likes the most and what he doesn’t like. Some cats go nuts for feathers, some go nuts for toys that make a sound.
Don’t forget to have enough space when playing. Cats can make crazy jumps!
Don’t give up
Turn it into a routine. For example: every morning before you leave and when you get home or before you go to bed. In the beginning it may need time to get used to (for the both of you). Maybe your cat doesn’t want to play at first, because he’s a tad shy.
That’s ok, but don’t give up and try again at a different time. Don’t forget to repeat it daily. But even if your cat just gets curious watching the toy, you’ve accomplished something! If your cat can get curious, he can hunt it too.
Make the game more fun to reward your cat every time he manages to catch the toy. Catching is important for your cat, but don’t make it too easy. You can reward him by treats or just positive attention. The game should be fun, and if your cat experiences it in a positive way, he will remember that and might want to play more often. Knowing he’ll get rewarded for his (natural) behavior.
And you’ll get a fit cat in return!