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Playing with Cats - Some Questions

Domy
November 22nd, 2010, 03:13 PM
Hi all,

I got some good help last time I had an issue so I thought I would give this a try again. Right now I have two cats - 4, and 1.5 years old. Nine months of the year one of their favorite activities is going outside, so we take them out on leashes and stay outside with them. Now that it's winter, its obviously not as easy to go outside :).

Right now I am struggling with keeping them entertained with toys and playtime. When they were able to sit outside, we were able to keep them occupied for a couple of hours each evening (they like going for walks aswell). Inside though I find it hard to keep them awake in the evenings now that they can't go out. I've tried many games, string, Da Bird, etc. They'll play for a bit (like 20 minutes) and then simply seem uninterested. I'll trying swinging some strings in front of them once they go and sit down, but to no avail.

People call me crazy, but I think they look really sad when they aren't playing in the evenings. I feel bad for them and think that they are bored.

So anyways i'm just curious, how often should you spend trying to keep the cats active? Should I simply let them be when they want to relax during times when they used to be outside and active?

Anyways, just curious if anyone else exeperiences this every once and a while :).

Thanks!

14+kitties
November 22nd, 2010, 04:03 PM
Is there a reason you want to keep them awake in the evening? Is it so they sleep at night with you? Or is it just because you feel guilty not playing with them?
Cats are not built like a dog. They don't need constant attention and activity. Tops 15 to 20 minutes is about all the action they want before getting tired of most games and walking off. They typically sleep up to 16 hours a day and ramble around at night. They are quite happy doing this. It's great that you take them outside on leashes and stay with them in the warmer months. I wish more people would do that instead of opening the door and putting the cats out. :thumbs up
Do your cats have a kitty condo set by a window so they can relax and watch outdoor activity? Shelves up high or under the window work to entertain them. Cats pretty much find their own entertainment.
For entertaining them at night while they aren't allowed out you could try putting down a maze of boxes, a plastic bag or two (pick up when you aren't around as some kitties like to nom on them), paper towels, tin foil rolled in a ball and thrown, toys (mice) hung from the ceiling for them to bat at, the wand type kitty toy, a laser light (never shone in their eyes), catnip, etc. Play with them for short amounts of time - 5 - 10 minutes. Let them relax a bit. Then see if they are ready to play again.

chico2
November 22nd, 2010, 05:29 PM
My cats are not on leashes,but they do come outside with us all year,we trained them from early on not to jump any fences.
We also take them outside in the winter,but it usually only last at the most 15 min.
You should not be too concerned about them being bored,if there's a window to check out the birds and what's going on outside,it should keep them entertained.
We usually play with ours when we watch TV,a featherwand or laserlight,but they get tired of it easily,they rather be on a lap and cuddle,but by 9 pm they go to sleep,like good children and sleep all night.:cat:
Mind you,we are retired,so we are with them every day..

Domy
November 22nd, 2010, 07:21 PM
Hi,

Thanks to you both! Makes me feel a bit better. I dunno, I guess I just find it hard to think they are up for 8 hours per day, and I don't spend enough time with them. I basically wake up for work, play with them as much as possible, head to work and try and keep them going from about 5-8 before they fall asleep.

In the warm weather this wasn't an issue. They would either go outside, or wine to go outside ;). They do play games a bit. I'll play with Da Bird, Laser, strings, etc for about 20 minutes and then they seem content in just chilling.

Most people just tell me to let them come to me when they want to play. My Mom's cat for instance will play with Da Bird every time it comes out. But it doesn't get as much play time as our cats do.

So long story short, I guess I feel like i'm trying too hard when perhaps they are just happy relaxing while lying down?

Thanks!

mona_b
November 22nd, 2010, 07:47 PM
The only thing my 2 cats like to play with is themselves. LOL

They get the zoomies and chase each other around.

Catnip does nothing for them. Casper does go crazy with the laser light. But when I stop, he gets very vocal. Heck he is very vocal when I don't use it. Winnie will play with a foil ball for about 5 mins, then she wants nothing to do with it.:rolleyes:.

I'm gone for many hours. I do shift work. But I know they have each other to keep them occupied. All they do is sleep. When I put the key in the door, winnie is right at the door. Casper is deaf, so he can't hear me coming in the house.

As 14+ stated, they don't need to be constantly entertained. I can go away for the night and not worry about them.:)