Help with kittens and playing

kelizabeth

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Hi everyone!

I’ve got two kittens, one male who i took in from outside when he was around 4 months, and now a little girl we rescued from the shelter. He is now about 6.5 months and she is close to 5 months. One of the ladies who runs the shelter suggested I get a playmate for my original little male kitten since he was starting to get a bit bored and restless even after I would play with him throughout the day. However, I could get him interested and running/panting when he was younger.

They’re both truly fantastic kittens and when I first got her, she went nuts for any sort of wand toy or anything you’d throw. I watched videos that showed you how to play and make the toys seem like prey and it worked for a while for her. The boy seems to have mellowed out quite a bit and he’s disinterested in almost any toy unless he gets a short burst of energy. Otherwise he’s lounging and looking for pets.
The only way I can get him going is by throwing some dry food across the floor, which he loves. With my other kitten, she’s starting to become very hard to keep interested in her toys, but wants to constantly play unlike her brother. I assume it’s because he’s a bit older or perhaps it’s just his personality? I was hoping they would play and entertain each other a bit for the times I couldn’t interact with them, but now it’s become almost impossible to keep either of them entertained and I feel extremely guilty that they’re not enriched. There’s no behavioral issues or any vet issues as we’ve taken them both a few times at this point. They don’t play with each other unless it’s a few seconds of chasing and tumbling around. They really don’t interact much at all, in fact. I deal with pretty significant bouts of depression and chronic fatigue so some days it’s a bit harder to go around the house and try to get them to play or get their energy out. I just want to ensure they’re as happy as they can be and I’m constantly worried I’m not doing enough for them.

We’ve got tunnels, the ripple rug, tons of little balls and springs, and homemade toys like balls of paper or foil, the laser toy, wands with lots of attachments and feathers, all of that stuff. I’ve tried moving things around and trying different ways ti play like putting the toys under blankets or rugs but I just cant really get either of them interested. It seems they really won’t do anything unless I’m actively encouraging them or I’m around. Is there anything else I can do consistently to make them happy? They’ve got tons of windows and a tower to look out and they’re constantly following me and love to snuggle. I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m not doing as much for them as I could, but i’m not sure what else to try in terms of toys or enrichment. My younger girl just doesn’t stay interested even when i’m switching around the toys and techniques. I’ve got an older cat who I can get to play with one specific toy pretty regularly, but I’m lost when it comes to them now. Is this behavior okay or is it something i’m not doing properly for them?

Are they okay if they aren’t constantly entertained or interested? Sorry this is so long and thanks to anyone who read this and made it to the end
 

rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. Thank for giving the stray kitten a home. By doing that you gave him the best chance of having a long, healthy life.

As for how much they're playing, admittedly it's been years since I had a kitten, but I think as long as they're eating, and using the litter box normally, and not acting lethargic, that they're most likely probably fine.

If you do think they might be bored, here's a TCS article that might be helpful:
Bored Cat? What Cat Owners Need To Know (Including 10 Actionable Tips) - TheCatSite

There's also these ones:
7 Proven Ways To Get Your Cat To Be More Active - TheCatSite
Playing With Your Cat: 10 Things You Need To Know - TheCatSite

Also, google found this one
How to Play With a Kitten
 

PMousse

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Welcome to TCS! Sounds like you are doing all the right things! Good for you! Don't be too hard on yourself. Cats' play patterns change as they grow older, and sometimes even with the change of seasons I find.

One thing I can think of is to rotate through the toys they are interested in; i.e. hide some of them and bring them out after awhile. It may rekindle the cats' interest in the toys and entice some play.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Here is your "advantage," you know what lethargy looks like, and you'll recognize it in the kittens faster than someone with no personal experience. If they are not actually lethargic, if they are eating and drinking and using their box normally, they are almost certainly fine. Not EVERY kitten is a fireball, 24/7. From what I can tell, you are doing fine. When they want to play, play. When they don't, relax and enjoy the downtime!
 

maggie101

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Hi everyone!

I’ve got two kittens, one male who i took in from outside when he was around 4 months, and now a little girl we rescued from the shelter. He is now about 6.5 months and she is close to 5 months. One of the ladies who runs the shelter suggested I get a playmate for my original little male kitten since he was starting to get a bit bored and restless even after I would play with him throughout the day. However, I could get him interested and running/panting when he was younger.

They’re both truly fantastic kittens and when I first got her, she went nuts for any sort of wand toy or anything you’d throw. I watched videos that showed you how to play and make the toys seem like prey and it worked for a while for her. The boy seems to have mellowed out quite a bit and he’s disinterested in almost any toy unless he gets a short burst of energy. Otherwise he’s lounging and looking for pets.
The only way I can get him going is by throwing some dry food across the floor, which he loves. With my other kitten, she’s starting to become very hard to keep interested in her toys, but wants to constantly play unlike her brother. I assume it’s because he’s a bit older or perhaps it’s just his personality? I was hoping they would play and entertain each other a bit for the times I couldn’t interact with them, but now it’s become almost impossible to keep either of them entertained and I feel extremely guilty that they’re not enriched. There’s no behavioral issues or any vet issues as we’ve taken them both a few times at this point. They don’t play with each other unless it’s a few seconds of chasing and tumbling around. They really don’t interact much at all, in fact. I deal with pretty significant bouts of depression and chronic fatigue so some days it’s a bit harder to go around the house and try to get them to play or get their energy out. I just want to ensure they’re as happy as they can be and I’m constantly worried I’m not doing enough for them.

We’ve got tunnels, the ripple rug, tons of little balls and springs, and homemade toys like balls of paper or foil, the laser toy, wands with lots of attachments and feathers, all of that stuff. I’ve tried moving things around and trying different ways ti play like putting the toys under blankets or rugs but I just cant really get either of them interested. It seems they really won’t do anything unless I’m actively encouraging them or I’m around. Is there anything else I can do consistently to make them happy? They’ve got tons of windows and a tower to look out and they’re constantly following me and love to snuggle. I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m not doing as much for them as I could, but i’m not sure what else to try in terms of toys or enrichment. My younger girl just doesn’t stay interested even when i’m switching around the toys and techniques. I’ve got an older cat who I can get to play with one specific toy pretty regularly, but I’m lost when it comes to them now. Is this behavior okay or is it something i’m not doing properly for them?

Are they okay if they aren’t constantly entertained or interested? Sorry this is so long and thanks to anyone who read this and made it to the end
He is a teenager and more interested in hunting than chasing after toys. I have cubes,towers,boxes,ripple rug. They do not like feather wand toys. Wands with attachments they can chew. My 11 yr old cat still likes to bat chew toys around.
 

maggie101

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Here is your "advantage," you know what lethargy looks like, and you'll recognize it in the kittens faster than someone with no personal experience. If they are not actually lethargic, if they are eating and drinking and using their box normally, they are almost certainly fine. Not EVERY kitten is a fireball, 24/7. From what I can tell, you are doing fine. When they want to play, play. When they don't, relax and enjoy the downtime!
So true! My cat Peaches mostly likes to watch. She was just playing with my cat Coco. I have a 3 way tunnel Coco was hiding in so peaches looked inside then Coco tan out. Now they have chew toys favorite is the banana. The ones not cotton
 

Mv00

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Hi everyone!

I’ve got two kittens, one male who i took in from outside when he was around 4 months, and now a little girl we rescued from the shelter. He is now about 6.5 months and she is close to 5 months. One of the ladies who runs the shelter suggested I get a playmate for my original little male kitten since he was starting to get a bit bored and restless even after I would play with him throughout the day. However, I could get him interested and running/panting when he was younger.

They’re both truly fantastic kittens and when I first got her, she went nuts for any sort of wand toy or anything you’d throw. I watched videos that showed you how to play and make the toys seem like prey and it worked for a while for her. The boy seems to have mellowed out quite a bit and he’s disinterested in almost any toy unless he gets a short burst of energy. Otherwise he’s lounging and looking for pets.
The only way I can get him going is by throwing some dry food across the floor, which he loves. With my other kitten, she’s starting to become very hard to keep interested in her toys, but wants to constantly play unlike her brother. I assume it’s because he’s a bit older or perhaps it’s just his personality? I was hoping they would play and entertain each other a bit for the times I couldn’t interact with them, but now it’s become almost impossible to keep either of them entertained and I feel extremely guilty that they’re not enriched. There’s no behavioral issues or any vet issues as we’ve taken them both a few times at this point. They don’t play with each other unless it’s a few seconds of chasing and tumbling around. They really don’t interact much at all, in fact. I deal with pretty significant bouts of depression and chronic fatigue so some days it’s a bit harder to go around the house and try to get them to play or get their energy out. I just want to ensure they’re as happy as they can be and I’m constantly worried I’m not doing enough for them.

We’ve got tunnels, the ripple rug, tons of little balls and springs, and homemade toys like balls of paper or foil, the laser toy, wands with lots of attachments and feathers, all of that stuff. I’ve tried moving things around and trying different ways ti play like putting the toys under blankets or rugs but I just cant really get either of them interested. It seems they really won’t do anything unless I’m actively encouraging them or I’m around. Is there anything else I can do consistently to make them happy? They’ve got tons of windows and a tower to look out and they’re constantly following me and love to snuggle. I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m not doing as much for them as I could, but i’m not sure what else to try in terms of toys or enrichment. My younger girl just doesn’t stay interested even when i’m switching around the toys and techniques. I’ve got an older cat who I can get to play with one specific toy pretty regularly, but I’m lost when it comes to them now. Is this behavior okay or is it something i’m not doing properly for them?

Are they okay if they aren’t constantly entertained or interested? Sorry this is so long and thanks to anyone who read this and made it to the end
Have you tried the rattle mice or yarn? Both my kittens love them and my oldest just always loved yarn lol. If they were bored, you'd know it. They'd be acting out to get your attention. Have both been fixed? Some cats just don't like each other ever. It depends on their personalities. Cats also feed off of our energy and emotions as well. When you try playing with the kittens, are they near each other and are you playing together with them or are you trying to play with each individually and nowhere near each other? Also, what times of day do you try to play? If it's their nap time, they'll be less likely to be in a mood to play.
 
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kelizabeth

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Hello and welcome to TCS. Thank for giving the stray kitten a home. By doing that you gave him the best chance of having a long, healthy life.

As for how much they're playing, admittedly it's been years since I had a kitten, but I think as long as they're eating, and using the litter box normally, and not acting lethargic, that they're most likely probably fine.

If you do think they might be bored, here's a TCS article that might be helpful:
Bored Cat? What Cat Owners Need To Know (Including 10 Actionable Tips) - TheCatSite

There's also these ones:
7 Proven Ways To Get Your Cat To Be More Active - TheCatSite
Playing With Your Cat: 10 Things You Need To Know - TheCatSite

Also, google found this one
How to Play With a Kitten
Thank you for the links!! When i get home I will look through them and see if they will give me any new ideas to entertain them :cool:
 
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kelizabeth

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Welcome to TCS! Sounds like you are doing all the right things! Good for you! Don't be too hard on yourself. Cats' play patterns change as they grow older, and sometimes even with the change of seasons I find.

One thing I can think of is to rotate through the toys they are interested in; i.e. hide some of them and bring them out after awhile. It may rekindle the cats' interest in the toys and entice some play.
I do have a few of their springs and balls around the floor, maybe I can put some away and put some other ones out to see if it’ll switch things up for them? I do rotate the wand toys, especially if she’s not interested in the one I have at the moment, so maybe I will do some digging and find one she hasn’t seen for quite a while :)
 
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kelizabeth

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Here is your "advantage," you know what lethargy looks like, and you'll recognize it in the kittens faster than someone with no personal experience. If they are not actually lethargic, if they are eating and drinking and using their box normally, they are almost certainly fine. Not EVERY kitten is a fireball, 24/7. From what I can tell, you are doing fine. When they want to play, play. When they don't, relax and enjoy the downtime!
I think you’re right, i’m most likely looking a bit too much into the behavior sometimes :/ They both love to eat and have been using the box perfectly. I just want to make sure I’m trying everything I can to get them interested, but I believe my little boy is just content to laze around and catch his treats :)
 
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kelizabeth

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Have you tried the rattle mice or yarn? Both my kittens love them and my oldest just always loved yarn lol. If they were bored, you'd know it. They'd be acting out to get your attention. Have both been fixed? Some cats just don't like each other ever. It depends on their personalities. Cats also feed off of our energy and emotions as well. When you try playing with the kittens, are they near each other and are you playing together with them or are you trying to play with each individually and nowhere near each other? Also, what times of day do you try to play? If it's their nap time, they'll be less likely to be in a mood to play.
Hmm, I’ve got some shoe strings and rattle balls, and some little mice toys that he used to bat around, but I will try to find some of the rattle ones! They are both fixed :)
I will play with them individually, like take her into a room with some tunnels and the toys so that she doesn’t get distracted and I will do the same for him, usually in the morning after waking up most days, and then in the evening around 7 and then if they depending on if she is up and meowing, I will try and do a few minutes with her there too. My boy is usually just laying around and sometimes I can get him interested, but otherwise he’s just chilling or napping and waiting for food or a treat. It seems that she gets quite uninterested in the toys or type of play even when i do switch it around, but there is one wand toy that’s kept her attention this week, she is only slightly starting to get bored so i will switch out later
 

Mv00

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I do have a few of their springs and balls around the floor, maybe I can put some away and put some other ones out to see if it’ll switch things up for them? I do rotate the wand toys, especially if she’s not interested in the one I have at the moment, so maybe I will do some digging and find one she hasn’t seen for quite a while :)
Okay, good luck. You could also try catnip (fresh or dried). I've been reading there's something called silver line or something like that, but I've never given that to any of my pets and I don't really know much about it. It's supposed to be more potent than catnip.
 

Mamanyt1953

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I've been reading there's something called silver line or something like that, but I've never given that to any of my pets and I don't really know much about it. It's supposed to be more potent than catnip.
Close. It is silver VINE. And my cat is a bit insane for it.
 

danteshuman

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Oh yeah I buy the $$$ catnip that has silvervine in it!

I also do toy rotation, a new cardboard cat house scratcher every season , daily outside time iN his harness, bird feeders, rainy day toys and what I like to call his playpen (can you tell I have a hyper cat? 🤣)

The playpen? Get a large cardboard box (his not do deep chewy boxes work great) tuck the flaps in, add lots of crumpled tissue or newspaper, mix in an assortment of small toys and catnip. Let them go nuts. (I use jingle balls, fake mice, crinkle balls, a chirping bird toy, light up balls stuff like that.)

Jackie’s favorite electronic toy and I have tried quite a few:
8BB61432-2F32-4CB4-A423-1CAD06D63D34.jpeg
 
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kelizabeth

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Thank you so much for your response! I’ll have to try that electronic toy and I’ve started trying a harness on the youngest kitten because she loves looking outside the window at the leaves and the birds!
 
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