Hurray for play! We all need to do this more – it changes brain waves, enhances creativity, actually improves problem solving, and keeps us young. Same goes for your kitties. Cats love routine and without some fun mental and physical stimulation they can sink into languid boredom.
Oscar is a very serious boy. He has big serious, sad eyes. He looks at me very quizzically when I do something silly in front of him. Com’on Oscar, laugh a little! Being honest, Oscar has had little to be silly about in his survival-mode life. He spent his kitten and young years avoiding starvation, cars, mean people, and predation by coyotes. Like my abused-rescue Shadow, play is an alien concept to Oscar. I think he needs to learn to play.
Nuala has donated her fabulous round Catit Senses circuit toy for Oscar’s room. I swat the ball around. Oscar does not. He just looks at me. I pull out the bug toy. Nothing. This past week I tried Da Bird. He just looked at it – when I swooped very close he backed up and looked like he was affronted by it. Lets be honest: I’ve been through the entire list I made at Christmas as perfect kitty toys.
He’s also had about 4 types of ball (bouncy, plastic, crinkly, fuzzy) with no interest. I rolled the little multi-coloured crinkled ball at him and it hit his foot and he looked sternly at it and then me – indignant at this ‘quasi-attack’. The only thing that interests him is his mousey-mouse that I dip in catnip – he licks that mouse silly!
I will keep trying. It’s so important for him to be engaged – watch the bird-feeders, chase a string, bat a ball… whatever gets him moving and thinking.
I wrote the above about 3 days ago. Since then, we’ve had a little success with the stalwart McD’s straw! We’ve realized that when you try to play with Oscar, he remains fixated on your hands. He’s watching what you are doing and not the toy. So as he sits along our bed, we put the straw from behind the bed and it surprises him and he’ll swat at it and even roll now and then. Using the same logic, I sit on my bed (out of his sight-lines) and send da bird spinner toy flying past him. As long as I get it close to him, he’s lunging and biting at it.
Any ideas on how to teach an older cat to play?