7 Ways You Can Encourage Your Cat To Play With You

Cats hate boredom, just like humans do. They can entertain themselves without human intervention, but we can engage them in playfulness and curiosity with us. Try these 7 ways to convince your cat to play with you.

1.    Toys:

Play with him more. Yes, you. And find the right toys. Use trial and error with different kinds of toys that can stimulate your cat. You can try different kinds (e.g. bouncy or fluffy), different types (e.g consider battery-operated toys), and when you find one that they like, try buying different colors of the same kind of toys. Cats will usually like things that mimic prey such as string (a mouse’s tail), hair (mice), or a feather (a bird), which are regular household things. Maybe things that make a noise like rattles, or things that are soft and don’t make a noise like a fuzzy pink mouse.

2.    Food:

Ditch the cheap and low-quality food. Feed them treats that reward healthy behaviors and food that invigorates them like Purina’s Friskies Indoor Delight dry cat food. This kind of food will feed and aid their hyper and playful energy, from 1 to 18 years old. You might notice that your older cats will act like the kittens that they once were. The dry cat food has various flavors, like chicken, salmon, cheese, and garden greens. Also with trial and error, try to see which flavor your cat might prefer.  Note: An overweight cat might not play because of his lack of energy, so giving him the correct diet will help them reach an optimal weight and health to help them to be more energetic to play.

3.    Routine:

Same time of the day. Maybe they like the same time of the day to nap so maybe they would like the same time of the day to play. Maybe routine with their playhouse will tire them out right before their nap.

4.    Play Area:

Do they like playing on the furniture or buy a playhouse with space to jump to the different levels, climb on the ladder, hide in the boxes, play with a toy mouse, or scratch its claws. Just make sure that your cats have vertical space and scratching posts. You can choose to include a household mat, rug, or carpet during your playtime.

5.    Instincts:

When a cat “plays”, he wants to pounce, stalk, hunt, and act out his natural, instinctual, and predatory behaviors. To stimulate this predatory and natural instinct to hunt, you can use various toys (#1), play around with speed, throw things to catch their “prey”, or even try out a light beam from a flashlight. Anything to engage him.

6.    Engage Their Senses

  1. Auditory (A): This a learning style that engages hearing or noises. Cats might like scratches, meows, and chirps.
  1. Visual (V): This is a learning style that engages sight. You can take advantage of ready-made YouTube channels that can stimulate your cat(s). Cats might enjoy other cats meowing and playing. Bird videos in the background of your play area because they might be engaged and enjoy being close to their prey. You could even set up a bird feeder (e.g. a hummingbird lantern) right outside your window.
  1. Kinesthetic (K): This is a learning style that engages touch and movement. Unfortunately, age can prevent cats from playing games or even natural movement because of arthritis, etc. Sadly, high-energy games become less interesting once a kitten reaches 5 months old. A cute trick is to act like a cat and to play with their toys and their games for them to teach them how to play again. Lastly, I would revert to Toys (#1) and Play area (#5).
  1. Smelling: Why does a cat act so funny after smelling catnip? If interested and adored, the cat might act like they are on Ecstasy and rub up against or chew on the herb nepeta cataria, called catnip. The chemical compound nepetalactone in the plant attracts and affects cats. The stimulant might produce a “high” (as in hyperactivity) in your cat that mimics the trigger of feline pheromones causing them to drool, roll around, flip over, and purr more than usual.
  1. Tasting: When eaten, catnip will be used as a sedative versus smelling it (d).  See Food (#2).

In conclusion, when trying to convince your cat to play with you, provide them with physical and mental stimulation. Try to engage them with all kinds of their senses with trial and error – different kinds of toys, food, routine, their play area, and the five basic human senses.

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