How to Get Your Lazy Cat to Play

Get your kitty off the couch and into action.


Mewton’s First Law does state that a cat will remain at rest unless acted upon by an external force (read: treats). We know it can be difficult to uproot those lazy couch potatoes, especially once the youthful energy of kittenhood is behind them.



Whether the goal is some quality one-on-one time with your kitty or to work off a few of those holiday pounds, even the laziest of kitties has a hunting instinct hidden away somewhere underneath all that fluff. It’s just a matter of accessing it and figuring out how to activate that cutest of kitty booty wiggles.


First, find out what style of play your cat craves. Do they like to leap? Chase? Maybe they like to keep it more low-key and bat at a string while sitting in their comfy chair. Or drag themselves along the carpet. (Never skip leg day.)



Remember that cats have the instinct and eyes of a hunter, keen vision that is drawn to quick, prey-like movements. If you see those pupils dilate and that booty start to shimmy, you know you’ve got your cat’s attention.



Different strokes for different folks applies to cats, too! Snowflake might like to chase his special, crinkly sparkle ball around the house because it sounds like a squirrel running through the leaves.

(Note: don’t allow your cat to play unsupervised with yarn or loose string. Yarn can easily be swallowed but not easily passed and can lead to serious complications for your cat!)



Missy likes to jump and climb to unimaginable heights after her favorite flying mouse. We know mice can’t fly, but let Missy have her dreams.



While Peaches likes a battery-operated toy that flails around in wild circles and chirps like a bird because it’s fast-paced and unpredictable, Boots finds the sounds a li’l too spooky and prefers a nice, quiet fishie on a string held by his favorite person (he’s sensitive, you know.) Or maybe your cat is like Gus, who prefers to become one with the ball - to be the ball.



Some cats will only play if they get something out of it. Try using some treat-stuffed toys to get the party started. A lot of cats are food-motivated, after all. If you shake a bag of treats in the woods and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? Sure it does. Just ask one of the 20 cats that just materialized at your feet.



If your immovable catloaf is a foodie at heart, hide some of their favorite tasty treats inside a special treat ball (or make a DIY version!), give it a rattle and let ‘em dig it out.


Catnip is another treat to get your kitty hype for some play. But who wants to deal with the mess? Roll one of their favorite fuzzy toys in some catnip and let the fun begin. Who knows, your cat might be able to find out what color tastes like … Catnip is a heck of a treat, man.



We all know the frustration too well -- find a cat toy that looks so fun to us humans, but the cats won’t touch it. Well, you can test what kind of toys your cat really digs without having to break the bank! Try attaching some feathers or old leaves to a long piece of string and see if your cat bites.


If you do use leaves, though, make sure that the leaves are non-toxic for cats in case your kitty accidentally ingests a leaf or two. Other ideas are finding a material that crinkles (like plastic or parchment paper) or rustles to see if your cat’s ears perk up and those pupils expand. And of course, watch for the impending rump shimmy, the dead giveaway to a pounce-in-progress.



Once you find out how and what your cat likes to play with, let the good times roll! If you’re playing keepaway with your kitty, make sure not to tease them too much. Get them rarin’ to go and champin’ at the bit to catch that flying mouse, make them work for it, but be sure to let them catch it every now and then! Cats can get frustrated if their prey eludes them too often. Give them that successful feeling of catching their prey and get those kicky paws working over-time.



It may take some time for you and your cat to get into that most perfect of playtime grooves, but don’t be afraid to try various things and change it up every now and then and you’ll be there in no time!

You can also check out our For Cats section to pick from some of the best cat toys & treats you can get your paws on! Like our uniquely designed Paw Cat Laser and Ciao Cat Treats


By: Cortney Licata


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