Cat not as Playful

by Dawn
(Amherst NY)

Our 8 year old cat, Lucy, has become quite inactive lately. We try to play with her, but her attention is fleeting. We have tried catnip thinking it might make her play more but no luck. Any ideas?

Dear Dawn,

Eight-year-old cats do tend to sleep and lay around more than younger cats, as they are entering their middle-age years at this point. If your kitty is overweight, this could contribute to her lack of playfulness as well.

It is normal for a cat to not want to play much at one time, especially as the cat ages, so increasing the number of short play-times you offer throughout the day could help. Also, cats get bored easily, so I would recommend trying different types of toys. There are many interactive and motorized toys on the market that are worth trying, such as circular plastic units with mice in them that spin rapidly. Cats also tend to enjoy toys dangling from plastic rods, toys with bells inside or crinkle fabrics, and sometimes even just a balled up piece of paper.

You can also try to make your cat’s life more interesting by making sure she has access to lots of windows during the day and plenty of things to scratch and climb when she would like to. When you are not home, you can play a video for her, or leave the radio on, to keep her more engaged.

This could be that your cat is simply doing what is age appropriate for her. And, hard as it may be, accepting the changes that come with our cats aging is important. However, if this lack of playfulness is a sudden change, or if you are still concerned, bringing your kitty to a vet for a check-up would be advised.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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