Can You Make a Cat Playful?

"What is in there? I have to get to it!"

"What is in there? I have to get to it!"

After adopting a feline into your family, you venture out and pick up new toys for her. When you get home and plop her in the middle of her new play land, she just gives you a blank stare and prances off. Give her some time. She’ll learn to play.

Interactive Toys

Just as Kitty is a part of your family, you’re a part of her family. Take some time to fool around with her if you want her to be more playful. Have a stash of interactive toys strictly for one-on-one playtime. Dangly wands or even long pieces of yarn wiggling in front of her help pique her interest and get her to play. Make sure you put these interactive toys away when you’re gone -- she can get tangled up if she decides to play on her own.

Alone Toys

You’ll need to provide your precious furball with a variety of toys she can play with on her own. Something that looks fun for you may not seem as exciting for her. Giving her plenty of selection allows her to pick and choose what she wants to play with so she doesn’t get bored. Sisal-wrapped balls, plastic table-tennis balls, toy mice, paper-filled crunch toys and feather toys are just a few of the options you’ll find down the never-ending cat aisle. Lastly, toys with bells attached may be intriguing to her, but they might also scare her and make her not want to play. Not all of her toys should make noise, unless she really does seem to enjoy those ones.

Enticing Catnip

Sure that mouse toy is covered in rabbit fur and even has a jingling bell on the inside. Seems like a cat’s dream right? In Princess’s eyes it looks and smells weird and she may not want to go near it. Try rubbing fresh catnip on her toys. This member of the mint family acts as a mild hallucinogen for felines. Dip that fancy toy in dried catnip if fresh isn’t available and place it in front of your little diva. She’ll take a big whiff. Immediately her eyes go big and dark, her tail puffs up and she’ll bat it around like nothing will stop her. This temporary high only lasts for about 10 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about her keeping you up all night. Also don’t stress if she doesn’t respond to catnip. Only about half of all cats are sensitive to it, the Humane Society of the United States notes.


Learn to read your cuddly buddy’s body language as well. Maybe Princess hasn’t been overly playful because she doesn’t feel well. She may have a toothache, or maybe her diet isn’t settling well in her belly. Take her in for a full checkup to rule out any health concerns. Some kitties simply have mellow personalities and may not be overly interested in playing all the time. This is OK; you’ll just need to make sure she’s still getting her exercise. Place her food on the top shelf of her scratching tree, move her litter box to the other side of the house or encourage her to follow you up the stairs. As long as she’s getting some type of activity, she’ll be more likely to stay at a healthy weight and remain in your life for years to come.

About the Author

Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.

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