Let me explain how my cat Avery works: he’ll eat a meal, get a boost of energy, then get hyper and want to play.
The issue lies in the fact that while he may want to play (which I understand because he’ll stare at me and give a little “meep” every five minutes to get my attention), when I do try to engage him, he genuinely acts indifferent.
He’ll watch me drag string around (sometimes chasing string has been his favourite game) and do nothing. He’ll watch me move a feather toy around (he loves feathers!), and again – do nothing. I will leave out absolutely every toy I can think of for him to play with by himself, especially those that he’s successfully liked and engaged with in the past, but no – on most days he simply will not play on his own. He wants me to play with him. And yet when I try, he does nothing.
Picture from post 05/10/15
I’ve had Avery for years, and still to this day it takes a long time for me to figure out exactly how to engage him in play time. You hear that cats prefer not having the same toy to play with over and over; that you should be switching toys in and out. This method has never worked for me – ever. See it seems for my cat, when he finds a toy he likes, that’s it. That toy is the only one he wants you to play with him with, and the rest could all burn for all he cared.
So here’s my bit of advice to you if you have a lazy cat who wants to play yet simultaneously doesn’t, just like Avery:
Keep trying new toys!
I swear, it may be annoying, it may be really frustrating going through dozens of options and your cat never showing interest in one, but one day something will stick. One day, something will make your cat really love play time, and once you find that toy, it’s like magic.
For me, one of these magical days came when I finally got Avery used to the Interpet Kat Tikkler Feather Wand (see my review of the toy here). I’m not going to lie, even just getting the right toy wasn’t enough for my cat – it took him some time to become happy with it.
I’d always had a hunch that feather toys would do the trick for Avery. He’d enjoyed them in the past, but not all that much. What I mean by that is they didn’t consistently engage him. As I said before, sometimes I’d wave a feather toy in front of him and he’d do nothing. Engaged enough to watch the toy with his eyes, but not engaged enough to make a leap for it. I was hoping, neigh praying, that I just hadn’t found the right one.
So every so often, I’d add a new cat toy to my Amazon cart (not my favourite thing to do since a lot of cat toys are expensive for what they are, and quite honestly not many have ever worked at all for me in the past) and hold my breath. Every cat toy I’d give a fair shot to, not just leaving on the floor for him to try to play with, but actively trying to make him engage by testing it out in different ways and over at least a week of trial. When the Interpet Feather Wand arrived, it legitimately did not strike Avery’s fancy, so my first impression of the toy was that it would be another dud.
But I kept trying. Kept waving the wand at him, at the floor, under objects. Tried when he was particularly hyper, right after he’d eaten and right after he’d used the little kitty’s room specifically, and a few days later, it finally just clicked. He started out easy, but after I’d got the hang of what he liked, he’d go full into play mode like I’d never seen him do before, and all because of this one toy.
Avery’s literally played with no other toy for the past couple of months. It’s been amazing to see him go from a lazy cat who nagged for play about once a day and then just stared as I pretty much got more exercise then him out of a session, to a cat who’d take only a minute or two to really start in on a very physical play time – jumping, doing backward flips, even sprinting, just to catch this feather toy.
I’m not saying this toy will be the trick for your lazy cat. Indeed, I think cats have different tastes in toys that mean you’ll just have to keep testing out different ones until you find what strikes your lazy cat’s fancy. But I do think there’s a type of toy out there for every cat that will make them go bonkers for play time.
My brother’s cat tears feather toys to pieces, and though he loves them, this isn’t the ideal toy for him because of just how aggressive he is with them. He really loves to play with cork eggs, preferably the ones that have a mechanical squeak, however, and will even do that by himself.
Avery used to play with cat springs by himself and with me (I’d throw them for him to go after) quite regularly. Since we moved to the UK from Canada, however, he hasn’t touched them for longer than a few minutes total. Which is fine, maybe his tastes have changed. Now that I know he loves feather toys so much and have gotten him used to engaging quickly with those, I’ll be trying a lot more feather toys, especially ones he can play with on his own.
There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to test. I do hope I don’t have to go through too many toys to find ones that he likes, but at least if I find some that work out quite well, I can recommend them to other cat owners along the way.
Until then, good luck with your lazy cat, and good luck in your quest to find the perfect cat toys. If you have any recommendations for me, let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best to grab your recommendations and give them a shot! Would be amazing to have at least 3-4 different types of cat toys I know Avery loves and will engage with straight away. All worth the hassle of going through so many toys in the end.