The right way to play and why a cat doesn’t want to play?
Once again, we transport you into the skin of your cat as he is getting ready to play with his favorite human. Observe how the cat prefers to play with you.
By the time your favorite owner approaches you to play, you are in the middle of one of your main and favorite tasks as the feline of the house. You are very focused to offer the best performance … sleeping. That’s why you need a little more time before you’re completely alert, about half a second.
This time, your owner seems to have learned from your last game session when you scratched him without any intention. In fact, it was his fault. Since you were young, he has been playing with you by using his fingers as if they were mosquitos. For years, he allowed you to play with his skin as if it was a toy, do not be surprised if anything that looks like skin has now become a toy for you.
So, after his bad experience, your owner has equipped himself with a cat teaser. At the end of the stick, you see what looks like a mosquito or a bird. It even makes noise when you move it. What a great idea! You are excited about the idea of catching this new toy and you are ready when your owner is “twirling” it round in front of you. Seeing that this doesn’t seem to interest you, he starts to make it fly from left to right. Since when do birds or mosquitos turn in circles or from left to right like that? Are there asylums for bugs that fly in circles? Seeing that you don’t seem quite excited by this movement, your owner decides to make more random and fast movements. Ha! Now it’s fun! It’s a much more natural way to fly. It is really when your owner immobilizes the prey on the wall momentarily or makes it disappear behind an object that things become really interesting.
You start on this artificial prey with the firm intention to catch it but you fail. Wow, it’s not easy to catch! You start again and miss again. A third and a fourth time with the same result. It’s obviously not easy. So far everything goes. In the wild, there are also prey that are not easy to catch. But after ten consecutive attempts without success, it’s not very funny and you decide to give up. After all, why spend energy on something you are never able to catch? And we wonder why cats become less interested to play with time. If you always lose at a game, you would lose interest in this game after a while, right?
Lucky you, the next day, your owner accidentally notices an article of the Cat Educator on the website of BeOneBreed (what a happy accident!). Which explains that you should let your cat catch the prey game once every three game. So you are satisfied, because you finally catch the prey and when you do, it behaves exactly like a wild prey would by struggling for a second or two between your paws and then it stops. Believing that you really had it, you lift the paw to check and hop, it starts again to fly, making the game more fun and natural, not only allowing to prolong the game but also to spend more energy.
Now you have played 10 minutes intensely and as a good sprinter as you are, you start to run out of energy. So you lie down in your favorite recovery position, with the front legs stretched out in front of you and the hind legs on the side. Your owner should then understand that the intensity should gradually drop and that the artificial prey should quietly die in your paws.
After a while, you decide to grab the toy and you run away with it to a quiet corner. Your owner returns to pick it up and the game starts again for a few minutes. It is very stimulating and you repeat this game during a few minutes until you are very tired. Your entertainer seems to have understood, he no longer makes the prey fly in all directions. Once finished, he puts the toy away. You would have liked to be able to continue playing, but you must admit that putting the toy away makes it much more interesting for next time.
This new way of playing is much more challenging than the old way: the laser pointer that you were never able to catch. With this game technique, you have a pleasant activity that seems like a real hunting sequence. If your owner could play a minimum of 10 minutes twice a day, you would be a happy kitty. You would have a lot less energy to do bad things like climbing the curtains or unwinding the toilet paper!