Cat is oddly picky about play

eva21513

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This might be normal or in my head, but I think Millie is weirdly picky about playtime.

I have literally dozens of toys for her. I mean, dozens of types of toys, probably at least a hundred individual toys. Some are out all the time, some are not. In addition to the toys that are always available, she has three cat trees of different heights, four window perches, two cat shelves, and two cat tunnels. I play with her every time she 'requests' it (with a certain meow, or bringing me a ball). Lately (I've had her since November, but she was sick for about a month in there), she seems to want a particular type of play, and will not really engage until/unless I can get it right. For example, sometimes she'll bring me a ball, but if I roll it, or throw it onto the couch, or throw it onto the table, or throw it onto the desk and it falls off, she'll just look at it (and if I walk away, she'll do her play-with-me meow or bring another ball to me), but if I throw it onto the desk and it stays up on the desk, bingo, she'll go nuts. She goes through phases - like, we'll play with the cat dancer on the floor every day for a couple of days, but then suddenly she's completely disinterested and wants something else. Problem is, I have no idea what she wants until I accidentally get it right.

Is this normal? Can I somehow condition her to be more flexible? It's a little stressful sometimes trying to figure out what kind of playing will make her happy, on the days that I just strike out over and over. Right now it's okay because I work from home and, touch wood, so far I've ultimately been able to figure out what she wants, but eventually I may go back to working from the office 50% of the time or more.

For reference, she's almost 2, but is from a large, slow-growing breed that I'm told retains kitten-like behavior for up to 5 years. There are days she'll play hard for 1-1.5 hours, but most days I can't quite get it right so she plays very half-heartedly/unenthusiastically for like 4 hours spread throughout the day. Before she came to me, she lived with lots of other cats, so I think she's always been quite active.
 

game misconduct

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:lol:she is playing and getting her kicks by making you scurry around to get things right as she wants graycie does the same thing to me also:lol:and then she wont let me sit back down onto the couch either she will dash onto the couch and occupy the space as i am about to sit:lol:
 

maggie101

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Next time you get something from chewy, keep the shipping trash. I have it bunched up in corners. They love landing in trash. Even hide and sleep in it. I have 5 different wand toys so if one doesn't work get another. My cats do not like da bird but do love chasing on the ground and playing in it. My cat that chases balls is not always interested in runningthough as soon as I throw it in the trash she jumps in. Loves the sound it makes.
 

Juniper_Junebug

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Next time you get something from chewy, keep the shipping trash. I have it bunched up in corners. They love landing in trash. Even hide and sleep in it. I have 5 different wand toys so if one doesn't work get another. My cats do not like da bird but do love chasing on the ground and playing in it. My cat that chases balls is not always interested in runningthough as soon as I throw it in the trash she jumps in. Loves the sound it makes.
Ha! Yes, Chewy packing paper is my kitty's favorite. Right now, she's also in love with an upside-down Ikea bag (handles removed). She goes in there on her own and also when we're playing, to let me know that she'd like to hunt the wormy from in there, so I trace it around the edges of the bag while she pokes her little paws out and tries to catch it. She seems to love hunting blind.

I think it's fun to try to guess how she wants me to play. Sometimes when I'm "doing it wrong," she just stares at me with the annoyed look of an exasperated teenager, and I can't help but melt. She's like a permanent inductive reasoning puzzle.
 
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eva21513

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:lol:she is playing and getting her kicks by making you scurry around to get things right as she wants graycie does the same thing to me also:lol:and then she wont let me sit back down onto the couch either she will dash onto the couch and occupy the space as i am about to sit:lol:
I was wondering if I'd just turned myself into cat-TV :lol: at least it's not just Millie!

Next time you get something from chewy, keep the shipping trash. I have it bunched up in corners. They love landing in trash. Even hide and sleep in it. I have 5 different wand toys so if one doesn't work get another. My cats do not like da bird but do love chasing on the ground and playing in it. My cat that chases balls is not always interested in runningthough as soon as I throw it in the trash she jumps in. Loves the sound it makes.
She used to love this but alas, jumping into the Chewy trash lost its allure. I gave up and recycled all of it a couple of weeks ago, so maybe it'll regain its novelty with the new shipment. It's just so funny, she really goes through distinctive phases - she'll be OBSESSED with something (chasing the sparkly soft ball into the Chewy trash) for a week, then want nothing to do with either the sparkly ball or the Chewy trash. So strange.

I think it's fun to try to guess how she wants me to play. Sometimes when I'm "doing it wrong," she just stares at me with the annoyed look of an exasperated teenager, and I can't help but melt. She's like a permanent inductive reasoning puzzle.
That's exactly it! If she could roll her eyes she would. Sometimes she even gives up on me, lays down (but not in a relaxed position) and gives me 'airplane ears.'
 

Juniper_Junebug

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Well, I've inadvertently raised the bar for holding my cat's attention with wand toys. I bought her a bag of 50 colorful ping-pong balls on Amazon, which are now scattered across my floor. Now, every time I bring out a wand toy, she'll play a little bit until she bumps into a ping-pong ball and decides it's more interesting. Sigh. Eventually she'll get bored and I'll have to hide them, but I suppose I also need to up my play game to keep her interest.
 
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