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My kitten isn't actively playing... is there something wrong?

King Boo HooKing Boo Hoo Registered User
edited August 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
My girlfriend and I found a kitten a couple weeks ago. Our friend's dog chased him up a tree, and so we took it home for a day until we could find the owner. However, no owner was found and it very much appears the kitten was abandoned, so we decided to keep it. He's 5 months old, curious, friendly, patient, etc. Very well behaved. For the first week or so he was quite an active player, chasing a ball-on-a-stick around the rug just because it was moving so he had to have it.
Then in the 2nd week, he seemed to switch mostly to the stalking kind of play and couldn't be made excited enough to run after toys and jump in the air and perform flips and such. So just stalking play... object goes out of sight, he walks up to the corner, pounces on it, and if he doesn't get it, he just sits down.
Now he seems to have switched to just not wanting to play. He periodically knocks around a ping pong ball, but he just doesn't seem to get very energetic. And since he's 5 months old, at what I understood to be the apex of excitedness, I thought this may be a problem.
We took him to a vet yesterday just to get various shots and such. He got 2 vaccines, has a mild case of ear mites, no worms, and no other problems. Not neutered yet. So medical-wise, he's pretty good.
He has a bowl of hard food and water always available to him and he eats but doesn't over-eat. He's also given half a can of soft food per day which he devours, and some treats for tartar control. So dietary-wise, he seems to be set.
He's quite social (unless too many people are around), he doesn't mean being held in people's arms and cuddling with people, even turns to show you where to scratch. He likes to play with my girlfriend's hair, and usually shows up at sunrise to do just that. He follows us around the house fairly often, although he's not afraid to be alone. So social-wise too he's pretty set.

So I just don't get it. He eats right, is a normal weight, is social, is relatively healthy, and used to be very very active and jumping around and all that. So why has he downgraded in activity so much over 2 weeks? Is he getting used to being an indoor cat after being abandoned and living outdoors? I don't think he was abandoned for more than a day or two though, possibly just a couple hours. I just don't get it, but I'm slightly concerned since he should be as jumpy as he was 2 weeks ago.

Help! (first time cat owner)

King Boo Hoo on

Posts

  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    In my experience some cats are just lazy bums. As long as he plays a bit he is okay.

    Have you tried getting him some yarn to play with? Cats love yarn balls.

    edit: sprinkle some catnip on somthing. That will get it excited.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • Mr PinkMr Pink Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I would try a variety of toys. I've raised 6 cats (I'm a bit of a rescue buff) and I don't think any two cats had a same 'favorite' toy. One cat won't care about a jingle ball, but will go nuts over a feather on a string.

    My advice is to go to a pet store, and get a bunch of cheap toys. If none of that works, but the kitten seems healthy, maybe it's just a lazy cat like JebusUD said.

  • King Boo HooKing Boo Hoo Registered User
    edited August 2008
    Mr Pink wrote: »
    I would try a variety of toys. I've raised 6 cats (I'm a bit of a rescue buff) and I don't think any two cats had a same 'favorite' toy. One cat won't care about a jingle ball, but will go nuts over a feather on a string.

    My advice is to go to a pet store, and get a bunch of cheap toys. If none of that works, but the kitten seems healthy, maybe it's just a lazy cat like JebusUD said.

    I wouldn't mind the lazy idea if he hadn't so clearly progressed downwards from running across the rug chasing something just because he could and doing ridiculously cool flips in the air to the state he's in now, where he clearly notices the ball rolling away, he follows it with his eyes, but he appears to find no interest in following it. Same with stalking objects, I even made a new object by covering the ball on a string with a sock. He seemed interested enough to follow it around the corner to see what it was, but then he didn't bother pouncing, he just decided it wasn't worth his energy. Why would he change like that?

    I've got jingle ball on a stick, squirrel on a string, bell-ball, regular ball, even paper ball. He really doesn't seem to express any interest in any of them, despite that he would go crazy about any of the toys 2 weeks ago, just rolling around the floor clawing at them and just getting even more energized by the fact that clawing at it makes noise.

  • musanmanmusanman Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Mr Pink wrote: »
    I would try a variety of toys. I've raised 6 cats (I'm a bit of a rescue buff) and I don't think any two cats had a same 'favorite' toy. One cat won't care about a jingle ball, but will go nuts over a feather on a string.

    My advice is to go to a pet store, and get a bunch of cheap toys. If none of that works, but the kitten seems healthy, maybe it's just a lazy cat like JebusUD said.

    I wouldn't mind the lazy idea if he hadn't so clearly progressed downwards from running across the rug chasing something just because he could and doing ridiculously cool flips in the air to the state he's in now, where he clearly notices the ball rolling away, he follows it with his eyes, but he appears to find no interest in following it. Same with stalking objects, I even made a new object by covering the ball on a string with a sock. He seemed interested enough to follow it around the corner to see what it was, but then he didn't bother pouncing, he just decided it wasn't worth his energy. Why would he change like that?

    I've got jingle ball on a stick, squirrel on a string, bell-ball, regular ball, even paper ball. He really doesn't seem to express any interest in any of them, despite that he would go crazy about any of the toys 2 weeks ago, just rolling around the floor clawing at them and just getting even more energized by the fact that clawing at it makes noise.

    if you just take him to the vet and you noticed this behavior in the past couple days keep in mind those vaccines will mess them up for a little while. My cats are really out of it after the vet experiences.

    That said, I've never had success with any cat toys. My cats don't care for jingle balls or any of that shit, but if I give them a rubber band, or a straw from my drink, or a Q-tip for whatever reason they'll carry that shit around for days. My kitten takes a rubber band we gave him months ago, carries it around in his mouth, brings it up to me so I'll throw it, and then retrives it and repeats the process. He's pretty lazy most of the days, but he finds something to play with that isn't necessarily designed for that purpose.

    Tie a string to a chair and wiggle it around, maybe he'll go for it. My cats lose interest in shit sometimes too, I wouldn't worry about it. They're the laziest pieces of crap ever, but they can be pretty adorable.

    sic2sig.jpg
  • Aurora BorealisAurora Borealis Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Also keep in mind the guy is a kitten, and sometimes, like humans, just change their minds about what they like as they grow. My cat loved climbing on my shoulders when she was young. She grew out of it. Now she prefers to wrestle. Personalities differ.

  • Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Captain East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Just be careful. My cat is slightly moronic and likes to ingest strings.



  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Mr Pink wrote: »
    My advice is to go to a pet store, and get a bunch of cheap toys. If none of that works, but the kitten seems healthy, maybe it's just a lazy cat like JebusUD said.

    Save yourself some money - my cat has more fun with random crap than anything I've bought for him. Crumpled up paper is always a favorite, he sleeps in a coke box with a hole where the handle was just big enough for him to get through, and his favorite toys are plastic bags. Flatten them out, roll them up parallel to the handles, then ball them up starting from the bottom and tie both handles around it a few times so it has rabbit ears on it. Instant cat toy, and he plays with them until he destroys them, unlike the toys I buy him, which he puts in his bed (not the coke box, which he USES as a bed - the actual bed I spent $40 on) and never touches them again. At least try the free stuff first.

  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Get a paper bag, like a grocery bag, set the open end near him, then scratch the bottom of it with your fingers. My cats have always loved pouncing into paper bags.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
  • BasarBasar Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Its normal buddy. My cat used to be like that. She was crazy active till around 4 months old, stopped doing anything or playing for 6 months, got active again at around 1 year of age... then she stopped again... I'd buy her toys and she'd play with them for a week, ignore it for 2 years and now has started to play with it again. But I know she'll stop in a week or two cause she's a lazy bum and prefers sleeping to playing.
    Spoiler:

    Cats have hard to understand characters, so don't bother :)

    confused.
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I'd go with the getting a couple of differnt types of toys, and see what he likes.

    Ours gets bored of the jingle balls and will paly with the plush mice for awhile, then will be all about the balls again. Right now his favorite is a baseball-sized water toy. He'll actually pick it up and bring it to me to play fetch.

    Excision wrote: »
    My girlfriend is going down tonight!

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I love that Help and Advice seems to about 1/5th cat questions. I'm starting to get an urge to buy a cat now just to get in on the act

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    hell my cat loves to play with ice. grab a little ice chip and slide it across the tile kitchen floor, she'll chase em' jump at if thrown and then lick it until playtime is over. now the little brat will only play with ice. She'll sit and meow at the refrigerator when she wants to play.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Steam
    XBOX
  • DeathwingDeathwing Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Echoing the opinion that, as long as you have a clean bill of health from the vet, the kitten is most likely just bored and/or having a perfectly normal (for a cat) personality quirk.

    Our cats absolutely love the wand toys with a feather or pom-pom attachment on the end - something like this (except with a non-brutalized feather):
    Spoiler:

    Also, you might want to consider a cat tree at some point:
    Spoiler:
    Spoiler:
    Spoiler:

    Lots of places to attach dangly things for them to play with, and most of them will have platforms on top where they can sleep or whatever.

    steam_sig.png
  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Even when my cat was young, he got bored with toys extremely fast. He used to love these jingling mouse-like toys for a few weeks, after which he'd just lazily poke at them if he was extremely bored. These days he just ignores them. Same progression with all other toys, except metallic bottle caps which have remained a favorite for years (probably because the noise they make is enough to wake me up at night to try to take the bottle cap(s) from him, which seems to be fantastic fun for him (not so much for me)). Small, crumpled pieces of paper seem to be great toys too (maybe because each of them is a different shape and makes a slighly different sound). Same with ice cubes, like truck-a-sauras suggested.

    So if your kitten's fur is in good shape and he seems generally happy and curious about things, I think he's just bored with his current toys, for the time being anyway. I wouldn't worry about it. Also, if he's like my cat, he'll sometimes go crazy at night (mine went through a manic nightly sock-stealing phase when he was young) and spend so much energy he can't be arsed to do much at all during daytime.

    MSL59.jpg
  • acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    emo cat is emo?

    I think if the vet didn't notice anything off then it might just be a phase.

    GT: Acidboogie PSNid: AcidLacedPenguiN
  • SaniusSanius Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Get a paper bag, like a grocery bag, set the open end near him, then scratch the bottom of it with your fingers. My cats have always loved pouncing into paper bags.
    Fuck yes, do this. My cat loves doing this. It is annoying but funny as fuck walking around the kitchen with a paper bag jetting down the kitchen because your cat is trapped in some weird wonderland of a dark grocery bag.

  • King Boo HooKing Boo Hoo Registered User
    edited August 2008
    Thank you everyone :-) I took your suggestions and made some homemade toys and they worked :-D
    He must've gotten bored of the old toys, probably because I left them out even when we weren't playing. So I made 2 simple toys -- hairtie tied to string, and straw tied to string. Both worked great, he was dashing and jumping and all the usual stuff.
    Thanks a lot again guys :-) I'll try your other suggestions too!

  • oncelingonceling Registered User
    edited August 2008
    Is it possible that you are getting sorta bored with playing with him yourself? Cats like to be engaged and if you are getting repetitive or even trying to laser pointer up the stairs from the couch, it will only last so long, they need your focus.

    These are typically the 'types' of toys you should try out:

    - laser pointers
    - feather/cloth teasers on stick
    - balls/bells
    - springs (seriously, check these out if you haven't):

    http://www.amazon.com/Colorful-Springs-Cat-Toy-Wide/dp/B000CMKHDG/ref=pd_bxgy_k_img_b

    Get the wide ones not the thin ones

    - try stalking him yourself, or using a mitt toy (never let him attack your bare hands/feet)
    - shiny teasers (they use these at cat shows here to get the cats attention):

    http://www.catteasersandmore.com/teasers/under3/

    - catnip filled bag-style toys
    - cardboard boxes with holes in them
    - blanket/comforters (hide / attack things moving underneath, etc)

    Lastly, your cat has a lot of hormones raging around at this age. Not only does it explain his change in behavior, but if you don't get him fixed, its going to explain the title of your next thread: "Help, my unneutered male cat is peeing on everything". Just sayin :P

  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Laser pointers are awesome if you want your cat to run around manically while you sit comfortably on the sofa, but you need to be careful with them. They can be bad enough for human eyes, and cat eyes are much more sensitive.

    MSL59.jpg
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    There are a few brands of supposedly pet safe lasers. I have one, but it doesn't work during the daytime very well, and even a well lit room makes it hard to see and the cat loses interest if it gets very far away. In the dark, though, he goes batshit.

    With a bit of sunlight coming into the room, a CD or watch dial will reflect a nice bright spot that a cat will chase just as well as a laser pointer with less risk. Some good LED flashlights make a very narrow beam that can work as well.

  • ThylacineThylacine Registered User
    edited August 2008
    At least your kitten isn't like mine. Well...she's a year old now so I guess she is a cat. But I usually keep the cat out of my bedroom because I don't like her messing with the blinds which stay shut while I am trying to sleep.

    Anyway, the other cat who is aloof and catlike has been going outside at night, so the younger one is lonely at night and will cry and my door if it is shut. So I decided, okay I'll be nice I'll let her in she usually settles down after awhile. She runs around, digs around in my closet making noise etc..and finally it's quiet for a bit. Then there is this clacking noise beside the bed and I wonder what she's gotten into now. I open my eyes and my cat has laid he teaser toy in front of my face, and is waiting patiently next to it for me to play...at 5:30am:lol:. The clacking had been the plastic handle end of the toy dangling off the bed and hitting my sideboard. I will admit it was cute.

    Also, a little more on topic...I have some felt jingly balls that my cat really loves. They were ferret toys, so you might look in that section of a pet store, but she can pick them up easily in her mouth and carry them around, where as she can't/won't do that with the hard plastic ones. Sometimes she'll even play fetch with me for awhile and bring it back.

  • HeirHeir Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Just be careful. My cat is slightly moronic and likes to ingest strings.

    This. My wife knits, and we have to be very careful not to let one of our cats get to the yarn. One time we came home, and our girl cat swallowed a couple feet worth of yarn. We had to very slowly pull it out (was still sticking out her mouth). What was gross was that there was all this foam around it...ugh.

    This same cat loves toenail clippings too though. She's not quite...right...in the head.

    camo_sig2.png
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    You have to be careful pulling it out. If it's worked it's way into the intestines, you can seriously injure the cat doing that. Heavier cords with knots at the end are usually safe, cats love them just as much and can't swallow them.

  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Thylacine wrote: »
    At least your kitten isn't like mine. Well...she's a year old now so I guess she is a cat. But I usually keep the cat out of my bedroom because I don't like her messing with the blinds which stay shut while I am trying to sleep.

    Anyway, the other cat who is aloof and catlike has been going outside at night, so the younger one is lonely at night and will cry and my door if it is shut. So I decided, okay I'll be nice I'll let her in she usually settles down after awhile. She runs around, digs around in my closet making noise etc..and finally it's quiet for a bit. Then there is this clacking noise beside the bed and I wonder what she's gotten into now. I open my eyes and my cat has laid he teaser toy in front of my face, and is waiting patiently next to it for me to play...at 5:30am:lol:. The clacking had been the plastic handle end of the toy dangling off the bed and hitting my sideboard. I will admit it was cute.

    Also, a little more on topic...I have some felt jingly balls that my cat really loves. They were ferret toys, so you might look in that section of a pet store, but she can pick them up easily in her mouth and carry them around, where as she can't/won't do that with the hard plastic ones. Sometimes she'll even play fetch with me for awhile and bring it back.

    That is pretty classy. I don't think I will let the animals sleep in the same room as me next time I get a cat or dog - I am just too much of a light sleeper to stand this kind of thing. Plus dogs have an annoying habit of wanting to sleep in the exact middle of the bed.

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • leafleaf Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    With all these pictures, I sense caturday is just around the corner

    newsig-notweed.jpg
  • DeathwingDeathwing Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Also, a little more on topic...I have some felt jingly balls that my cat really loves. They were ferret toys, so you might look in that section of a pet store, but she can pick them up easily in her mouth and carry them around, where as she can't/won't do that with the hard plastic ones. Sometimes she'll even play fetch with me for awhile and bring it back.

    These are a great idea - we have some, and our cats have loved em to death for years. Little felt/fur covered jingly balls, sometimes with some feathers sticking out the top.

    So cute when our male cat (the giant orange fluffball in my pics above) decides he wants to play fetch.....Anything that remotely feels like a small animal when they pick it up pushes a good button, I guess.

    steam_sig.png
  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Honestly, I would have been concerned about your cat if you hadn't mentioned how social he is, enjoying cuddling and such. My cats favorite toy was rabbit's feet keychains with a little bell on the end. She would play with them endlessly, stalk them like they were a living thing, and then eventually chew them up until the little foot bones were exposed. But 90% of the time she was either lazy, demanding, or some combination of the two.

  • YamiNoSenshiYamiNoSenshi Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Thank you everyone :-) I took your suggestions and made some homemade toys and they worked :-D
    He must've gotten bored of the old toys, probably because I left them out even when we weren't playing. So I made 2 simple toys -- hairtie tied to string, and straw tied to string. Both worked great, he was dashing and jumping and all the usual stuff.
    Thanks a lot again guys :-) I'll try your other suggestions too!

    Oh, hairtie on a string. Greatest toy ever, as far as my cat is concerned. You shouldn't every really have to buy cat toys. The little pieces of junk that accumulate can be turned into hours of pet related fun. Bonus chance: If you have hardwood floors, watching your cat power slide is also pretty amusing.

    Damn it, it's fucking noon. I demand to know if Yami shit on a desk yet.
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