You bring home a brand-new cat toy and carefully unpack the thing. In no time, your kitty is right there … playing with the packaging or batting the instructions around. Worse, your feline pal is ignoring you completely, as if she knows that she is expected to engross herself in your latest investment.
As frustrating as cats can be sometimes, there are still things that you can do to pick the right toys and make the most of your cat’s playtime.
-Turn down the lighting when the cat’s playing with you. Cats are nocturnal by nature, so they’re more likely to enjoy the hunting game when the room is below high-noon light levels. And if you’re the one holding the toy, try different maneuvers. Jitterbug the fake mouse across the room. Make the toy run away from your cat. Try different things to see what interests your aloof pal.
-Find types of toys that your cat likes. Some cats love chasing the feathers on the end of the stick. Others can’t stand that game. If your fuzzy buddy isn’t interested in that sort of toy, try another type. You might discover that Whiskers likes batting smaller things around, like the pull ring from your jug of milk.
-Get another cat. Dogs are infinitely more social than cats, but Whiskers still needs someone else around. Cats keep each other company, co-conspire to steal your food, and teach each other vital skills such as Attacking the Human’s Face at Three AM and Smearing Moist Food all Over the Kitchen Floor at Dinnertime.
-Put away all but a few toys and rotate every month or so. If you give a cat twenty different toys, he will eventually lose interest. Pick up the toys when playtime is over. If the toys are always available, they’ll bore your cat. This applies mostly to interactive toys, i.e. the wands and other things that require human operation to be any fun.
-When you’re playing with the cat, let him win sometimes. If he never actually catches the fake bird on the end of the wand, he’s going to become bored and chase, say, your toes instead.