Struggling With Play Time

Animal Freak

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Hey all. I have an inquiry as to how to get my cats to play. I have three in total: two males of six years and a female of three years. I would not usually have cats of such an age difference but the female was kind of an accident. A very happy one, I assure you, but we do have our problems. Her father was feral and I do believe this has an affect on her personality. Not that she's necessarily mean or a bad cat, but she is skittish.

So to begin with, I will admit I slacked off on play for a while. It somehow left my routine and, once a habit is broken, it's hard to remake. However, I wanted to make up for it. The only problem is that the cats don't make it easy. To boys are rather lazy and I can't figure out how to get them to move for more than a couple of minutes. Frost is more than happy to play if you dangle it over his head so he can bat at it while laying on his back. Ash was more willing to play, but it's faded away and I can't keep his interest anymore. I'm not as worried about them though because they do play together and neither are overweight, but I know they need some stimulation too. So my first inquiry is how can I get lazy cats to get off their butts (or backs as the case may be) and play?

The second issue is the female, Ember. She's willing to play with me, but she's often nervous about any noises or anything. I don't have very many places to separate them from though I haven't had a problem with the boys playing together. With Ember, I've tried playing with her in the living room and my bedroom. She used to be okay with playing in the living room, but there's been a bit of tension between her and Ash and she no longer feels comfortable there. I tried playing with her in my room with the door shut, but Frost will scratch at the door and then she goes running over there with her tail lashing. So my second question is what can I do for her? She's such a nervous little cat though she's very friendly. Of all the cats I've had in my life, she's the first to really bond with me and I feel bad because she isn't really one of the group. The boys have accepted her into the household, but they're not exactly close. Sometimes Frost with play with her and Ash will let her lay next to him, but not much else. I'm also so happy when I see one of them groom her or something that shows both her and me that she has, indeed, been accepted. But they still don't play with her a whole lot and she is more of a people cat so I feel obligated to be the companion she needs.
 

calicosrspecial

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Hi,

Try different toys. Sometimes some toys attract an interest and some don't. It really is a process at time.

Also, make sure the toy acts like prey. Make it act like a mouse or a bird. She which one they react most to. Some cats only like to hunt on the ground, others like prey in the air. Move the toy around corners, like the toy is hiding. Have the toy stop then move slowly. Get their attention and have them stalk it then pounce then repeat.

Also, after play feed treats or a meal.

For Ember try to have the others distracted so she can get a really good play session in.

Play is an excellent way to build confidence. And a confident cat will be more likely to get along with others.

We want to replicate what cats do in the wild - Hunt, Capture, Kill, Eat.

Some cats are more difficult to get to play but if we make it like the wild and make the toy act like prey it usually gets them going. Just keep working at it and think like a mouse or a bird and make the toy act like they would and try different toys.

Some cats are more solitary and others are more social. But the more confident cat is the more happy they will be.

Hope this helps.
 

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Hello there,

I've found that changing up the variety of toys helps immensly. The best way to get a cat to play, is to engage their hunting interests. I would start off by buying a laser pointer. They can be had from $5-15 depending on your location and what's in stock at your local pet stores. Now, there so guaranteed way to tell if your cat will go after it, but many do. Another cheap and easy toy is a catnip stuffed toy. When introducing it, lightly rub the toy against the cats' cheek/whiskers mimicking a head bunt. If they like it you'll know. If you're short on cash and supplies, roll up some aluminum foil into a ball and roll it on the ground, when I was tight on cash I did this and it worked surprisingly. I would discourage dangling ropes, strings, etc, because this could make an outdoor/ex-feral cat prone to chewing electronic cords! Best of luck!
 
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Animal Freak

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Hello there,

I've found that changing up the variety of toys helps immensly. The best way to get a cat to play, is to engage their hunting interests. I would start off by buying a laser pointer. They can be had from $5-15 depending on your location and what's in stock at your local pet stores. Now, there so guaranteed way to tell if your cat will go after it, but many do. Another cheap and easy toy is a catnip stuffed toy. When introducing it, lightly rub the toy against the cats' cheek/whiskers mimicking a head bunt. If they like it you'll know. If you're short on cash and supplies, roll up some aluminum foil into a ball and roll it on the ground, when I was tight on cash I did this and it worked surprisingly. I would discourage dangling ropes, strings, etc, because this could make an outdoor/ex-feral cat prone to chewing electronic cords! Best of luck!
I actually have a laser pointer. The dog, however, is obsessed with it and sits there and whines until I let her play. Then I read it could be frustrating for dogs since they can't catch it and I stopped using it. The dog and Ember enjoyed it immensely and Ash would join in occasionally, but never Frost. Or at least rarely.

Ember also loves catnip. The boys like it, but not as much. However, the most she normally does is roll on it.

About the aluminum foil, would that be easy for them to eat? It's an interesting idea but Frost likes to eat things he's not supposed to and the dog occasionally tears things up when we're gone. I can pick it up when we leave, but I still worry about Frost.


Hi,

Try different toys. Sometimes some toys attract an interest and some don't. It really is a process at time.

Also, make sure the toy acts like prey. Make it act like a mouse or a bird. She which one they react most to. Some cats only like to hunt on the ground, others like prey in the air. Move the toy around corners, like the toy is hiding. Have the toy stop then move slowly. Get their attention and have them stalk it then pounce then repeat.

Also, after play feed treats or a meal.

For Ember try to have the others distracted so she can get a really good play session in.

Play is an excellent way to build confidence. And a confident cat will be more likely to get along with others.

We want to replicate what cats do in the wild - Hunt, Capture, Kill, Eat.

Some cats are more difficult to get to play but if we make it like the wild and make the toy act like prey it usually gets them going. Just keep working at it and think like a mouse or a bird and make the toy act like they would and try different toys.

Some cats are more solitary and others are more social. But the more confident cat is the more happy they will be.

Hope this helps.
We have several toys. Balls, mice, fishing rod toys, interactive toys that send "prey" spinning in a circle. None of them last. The most recent ones have been destroyed by the dog. Any that survive her get lost or are quickly no fun. And I have noticed their preferences. Frost likes it dangling over his head or moving swiftly across the floor, but his interest is short lived. Ash likes it on the floor, but stares at it more than he chases. Both of them normally leave after a couple of minutes. Ember is okay either way. She'll chase it across the floor or leap after it. She does backflips too though she's not so graceful in her landing. I've had a number of scares thinking she was going to get hurt. Overall, Frost is pretty much uninterested, Ash prefers to watch, and Ember loves to play but is too skittish.

How do you suggest I keep the other two distracted? As much as it would probably help, I'm pretty much on my own and can only be in one place at a time. Any help as to how I might go about this would be greatly appreciated. I do want to be able to play with Ember so that way she gets the exercise she needs, is interacting and isn't completely isolated, and I hope it gives her the confidence boost she needs.
 

calicosrspecial

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Play will definitely boost her confidence. Good play session followed by eating treats or a meal. In my mind the number 1 most important thing to do. She will definitely be less skittish over time. And it will help with being accepted by Ash.

Can they be distracted with food?

Make the toy disappear, move it around corners. Cats are curious. Hopefully that will help. Move it on the floor and have the toy stop. Then start moving again. Just keep trying everything. I know it is hard but there usually is a sweet spot.

Also try to give Ember places to go high (cat trees) and also give her scratching posts so she can put her scent on things and own more things. Also warm and comfy bedding for her. We want to encourage her to be up and out in the world.

I wish I had a magic formula to get cats to play but just keep trying and think like prey. How a mouse or a bird would act, try to make it as interesting as possible.
 
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Animal Freak

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I will try again and see if there's anything that will get the boys to move. They do play with each other though so at least it's not like they don't play at all. The only thing I can think of is if I feed the boys early and then feed Ember later. Then my only concern would be them taking her food. They all steal each other's food and even when there's three bowls, you'll find someone at the wrong one.

Currently, we have two cat stands and a flat scratcher. They also have their own bed because they kept laying in the dog's. Of course, they still prefer the dog's. Ember, honestly, is probably the least interested in the high places. You normally find Ash there. She likes to spend time in my room and there is a cat stand in there that she lays on, but she seems to prefer my bed. I would like to get another cat stand at some point in time though. Maybe I'll try one of those short scratching posts? I can't say I've noticed her being one to scratch frequently, but she does seem to like to put her claws in things such as the computer chair.
 

calicosrspecial

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It is tricky. Just try your best. Sometimes it takes a lot of searching for the right toy and the right movements. Really make that toy act like prey. Halting movements, hiding, etc.

Play is good for a couple of reasons. Building confidence and exercise. Sometimes adding cat shelving can help get them to move around (and be high in the world). So they can get exercise and build confidence. Getting them so they can run up and down cat trees onto shelving and going can be helpful.

Have you tried balls? My guys tend to love to play with balls, like they are playing football.

Sometimes feeding helps them get lazy and then you can play with the other cat (Ember). Or if they are warm and comfy and lazy it might be a good time to play with Ember.

I would like to see Ember go high. Builds a lot of confidence. If you can lure her up with treats that might help.

I would add a short scratching post. It just helps a cat increase their ownership of a territory by getting their scent on something. Cats are territorial so the more they "own" the more confident they will be. And the more confident they are the more accepting they are and the less likely they will bully another cat (or be bullied). And maybe that will help increase the life of the computer chair as well. :)

Keep up the good work, I know it is hard but you'll find the sweet spot with them.
 
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I did try feeding the boys first last night, but the second she realized they were being fed it was pretty much game over. I tried playing with her in the living room since there's more open space there and it would have been easier, but I didn't expect it to work and it didn't. I tried in my room too, but she had no interest. I should probably get another rod toy with a mouse. Right now it just has feathers which they like, but I think they might have preferred the mouse.

It would be a life changer if I could build her confidence. She acts confident when nothing changes and doesn't have a problem letting me know what she wants, but she gets freaked easily and takes it out on the boys. Ash in particular. In fact, do you know why one cat would be more threatening than another? I mean, Ash is a big, scary cat, but I never imagined them looking at size or anything like that. A threat is a threat, big or small. But her mother always went after Frost and she always goes after Ash.

The boys are definitely lazy, but Frost is the epitome of the phrase "curiosity killed the cat." He's the nosiest creature I have ever met and he wants to be in the middle of everything. I don't know how to keep him away other than food, but then Ember wants to eat.

I'm going shopping this weekend so maybe I'll get a scratching post. Which is probably a good thing because Ash likes to scratch things when he wants something. We got a flat one because of him and it helped, but another vertical one might be useful.
 

calicosrspecial

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When you say it was "game over" Ember went to the boy's food?

She didn't have interest in the toy even in your room? Maybe it was just bad timing? Some cats like it in the air, some cats only on the ground, it just depends on the cat. But make it act like prey. Stillness followed by movement. Get their focus on it and get them to hunt it, stalk it. Then capture and kill it.

Can you explain how she might get freaked out and then takes it out on the boys (especially Ash)? It sounds like redirected aggression. Do you have ferals that come by your place?

Cats usually take on a cat that is perceived as a threat or a cat that lacks confidence. How does Ash act around Ember? You mentioned he lets her lay by him. How confident is Ash?

Will they eat together? Near each other? We always want to associate cats with positive things. And if you see a cat get a little negative towards another cat try to distract with play or calmly and confidently calling their name. Anything to halt any potential negativity. The less negative two cats are together the more comfortable they will be with each other because they will not worry about something negative happening.

Play is the biggest factor in building confidence. So is height (getting them up in the world on a cat tree). And ownership of territory is very big. Cats are territorial so they want to own it. Their scent is key in owning territory. Scratching posts are great for that. Bedding is great for that.

Does Ember avoid any areas? Or any of the cats? Or do any of them change their body language in certain parts of the house?

We build confidence through play, food, height and love (a lot of nuances to love). So there are multiple avenues to use to build their confidence. But play is the best in my opinion.
 
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Animal Freak

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She went into the kitchen in search of her own food. They get fed in the same place everyday so they know where their bowl is. She didn't want anything to do with me or the toy though. She'd barely even look at it. I tried for a few minutes to get her attention and would call her back, but if she came then it was to rub on my hand. I tried pulling it around on the floor and dangled it over her head since she likes to reach up and bat at things sometimes, but I didn't get much of a reaction out of her.

It's not always redirected, but she tends to act worse with Ash than Frost. If we bathe the boys, even if it's just half of them, she'll act like they're an entirely different cat. I understand their scent changes and it throws her off, but the boys don't have a problem with it. When Frost gets a bath, though, she's more defensive and less aggressive. She'll hiss and growl if he gets too close, but otherwise leaves him be. Ash, however, she'll chase through the house. This normally lasts a week. She also has problems when the boys play. I guess she thinks they're seriously fighting and she'll end up going after Ash. Then there'll be ten or fifteen minutes of tension before things settle down. She absolutely hates any signs of aggression from others. One issue we've had is that Ash is decidedly spiteful towards the dog. Even if she doesn't do anything. He'll slap and hiss at her which sets Ember off and she'll come running with her tail puffed up.

I've only ever seen one cat wandering the streets and I only saw him/her once. She/he was very friendly though a bit frightened so I'd imagined he/she was a lost pet. We had more street cats at our last house though I didn't see them often.

Ash, I would say, is fairly confident. He can be a bit of a coward and, despite being quite a bit larger than Ember, is terrified of her when she gets into one of those phases. When it comes to fight or flight, he'll definitely pick flight, but he's typically a very laid back cat who will let you know what he wants and when he wants it. He walks with his tail up high. He seems to mostly tolerate Ember, but he seems to have come to enjoy their cuddle sessions and there has been the rare occurrence where he'll actually groom her. Frost gets along with everyone is only a danger to himself.

I don't think they act differently in any area of the house. They all have their preferences, but they're very inquisitive and always want to explore any new areas. Ember is definitely more timid about her exploration and will take off running if you walk towards her as if she thinks you're going to chase her out. As long as we don't bathe the boys and everything is calm, Ember is absolutely fine. She's a wonderful, demanding cat who, while she is more of a people-cat, will get along with the other animals. I think she was brought into the family a bit late though. I don't normally introduce another animal with current animals in the household and the family dynamics were already long since settled. She was kind of an accident though. We never meant to have three cats. Honestly, she'd probably be best as an only cat, but we're very attached to each other and a big change like that would probably traumatize her.

They all eat right beside each other. Our house is too small for separating them. We'd be constantly stepping in bowls. All four animals are fed in the kitchen; the three cats on one side and the dog's bowl is on the other though they get fed at different times. Dinner time can get a bit tense at times, but only when I'm busy mixing the food and not after they're fed. Ash in particular gets in a bit of a mood when I'm making their dinner. He starts slapping everyone including me on occasion. Ember is also very good when it comes to listening to me. She's almost like a dog in that manner. She comes to her name more often than not and always seems to know what I'm telling her. I learned that if I saw her getting ready to attack, I could raise my voice and she'd immediately back off.
 

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Maybe it was just one of those times, she was hungry or something. It was good that she rubbed your hand. Getting her scent on you, owning you. Let's monitor and watch what happens next time when she doesn't want to play.

It is common for when a scent to change another cat can be different. Scents are very important to cats. Their own for ownership especially but also to know the other cat's and that they are not a threat.

Ash's behavior is probably helping Ember to misbehave. And when a cat acts like prey (runs away) then they are viewed as prey and a cat can continue to bully a little. And Ember seems to be protective as well. If you see Ember starting to get "funny" just distract with play or calling her. Anything to dissuade her from chasing etc. That will help Ash's confidence and hopefully cause him to act less like prey (because Ember wont chase). So anything we can do to help Ash be more confident especially when Ember gets in one of her moods that could help diffuse the situations. Because if Ember doesn't bully then Ash will not act like prey and we can break the negative cycle. The fact they do get along at times and he does groom her tells me it will be fine.

Ember is more timid because she doesn't feel like she owns the territory yet most likely. And when a cat is territorially insecure they tend to be more aggressive (which is a defense mechanism). So we want to try to increase her ownership (via scent) and via play. Just slowly expand her territory. Play will be key as will scratching posts and bedding and cat trees (places she can own and get her scent on).

Ember actually sounds like a great cat. She gets along (other than once in a while). No one has really fought I am guessing. Correct? How long have you had Ember?

Keep distracting with play or food or a calm and confident voice. Please keep working on playing. Use scratching posts, cat trees, bedding to increase the feeling of ownership. Try to make their interactions as positive as possible. If Ash feels less likely to be chased then his confidence will grow which will help his behavior and also help with Ember not feeling the need to chase. Cats take on our emotions so always try to be as calm and confident around them as possible.

The more confident we get Ember the better it will be and it should help Ash. If we can build his confidence as well that would also be helpful. Just keep trying to play with them.

Hang in there, I know you can improve things.
 
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Animal Freak

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She definitely owns me. I'm pretty sure she knows it too. She's kind of rotten that way.

I'm guessing I'm going to have to first put her in my room and feed the boys early so they'll be distracted and she won't be so hungry or even know they were fed. I hate locking her up even though that's her favorite space. She doesn't like having a door between us. I can't even shut the bathroom door without her standing outside crying, but it'll only be for a moment and it'll be best in the long run.

She's a very defensive and protective little cat. Despite being the smallest of the three of them, she's also the fiercest. I do believe her instincts are heightened due to her feral ancestry though she, herself, has never lived outside. I will definitely try to keep an eye on both hers and Ash's behavior. However, one of our issues seems to be resolving itself. Ember used to attack immediately if Ash showed aggression, but she tends to check it out first and realizes no one is threatening her so it's just a bit tense for a few moments. This is also happening less frequently because Ash isn't slapping the dog as much. He would walk up to the dog, headbutt her, and then hiss and slap at her like she just insulted him. This hasn't been happening though and he's even sat near her on the couch without a problem.

That would probably make sense. Though we have restarted in a new house, she came into the family a lot later than the other two. The boys were probably able to claim their own spots and territory before ever had a chance. Since moving, I think my bedroom is almost entirely hers, but the rest of the house is perhaps a little more equal or leaning towards the boys. It probably didn't help bringing the dog into the household. The cats are all mostly okay with her now, but none of them are particularly fond of being too close so they give her her space.

She really is a great kind. Very friendly, sweet, loving. She became my lap cat though it doesn't happen too often. She's been the first cat I've had for any significant amount of time that would lay in my lap and, since she came into the family, Frost has been more snuggly too. I just feel so bad for her because she does lack self-confidence in some situations and she is treated differently by the boys. Not cruelly, but they seem to have a little less patience with her than they doe ach other. So I feel like I have to make up for it by being the friend and companion she needs.

No, no real fights. In fact, I have my doubts about her even using claws. She's really a very gentle cat. However, she's also a bit of a klutz. She gets it from me. When she chases Ash, he takes off up the cat stand. She gets about half way up and falls off. Then she'll go under the table and stare at him.

We've had Ember since the day she was born just over three years ago. Her mother showed up at our house one winter and later on we found out she was pregnant. We would have kept the mother and found homes for the kittens, but she was horribly cat aggressive. Even after going into heat, she would go to the door where the boys were and act like she wanted to mate, but the second she saw them, she'd try to attack them. She was worse than Ember when we bathe the boys. Ember goes after a threat in sight. Her mother looked for them. Alas, we ended up keeping Ember.

I will do what I can and I'll definitely try to find some way to play with her. She's actually the only one of them that's overweight so that's a bit of an issue. I do worry about my animals' weights, but it's hard to ensure they're getting the appropriate amount of food when they're all eating each others. I will also see what I can do about increasing territory, but we are a bit short on money and space. I wish I had tons of extra money to spend on them as I do love getting them stuff, but it's simply an impossibility. I'll try though.

I'm a lot calmer now. It used to terrify me when she went after Ash. I thought someone was going to get hurt, they'd have to be taken to the vet, and I'd have to find her another home which is very distressing to even think about. However, it's become a somewhat common thing and no one has gotten hurt yet. I know how to handle the situation now.

Thank you for all the help. It's greatly appreciated and I hope I find the best way to handle this. The advice you've given me up to now has gotten me to think about things much more and, while I knew play was important, I don't think I ever grasped exactly how important it was until recently.
 
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Animal Freak

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So I am feeling a little less than smart. I got the laser light out last night. I forgot how much she actually enjoyed playing with it. I stopped using it after I read that it could be frustrating for dogs and couldn't figure out why it would be any different for a cat. It got her up and moving, but I'd still like to transition from the laser to the toy otherwise she won't ever be able to catch anything. I also enjoyed playing with the toy because I had to put a little more effort into it and it was always fun watching the stunts she'd pull.

However, I was hoping for a little more from the boys. At least Ash. He used to love playing with lights and the last time I played with the light, he would go after it every once in a while. No such luck this time around. Neither of them showed any interest whatsoever.
 

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You are very welcome, I am happy to help.

The fact they have never actually fought is HUGE. So this is fine tuning rather than "heavy lifting". Great news.

We want her to be loving but not dependent. So we have to help her stand on her own and be confident slowly. So we have to be careful that we don't reward bad behavior (dependency). So if she starts scratching on he bathroom door and it is just to get your attention just try to ignore her for that moment. Let's see if she then stops doing that.

I too don't like taking territory away (closing a door). So if there is anyway possible not to do that please try. We want to keep the situation as positive as possible. We don't want to associate the action with something negative. I know it is easier said than done but think if it is possible.

Don't worry about not being able to buy more "stuff". Even old shirts with their scents on it can help increase ownership. Your love is by far the most important thing for the cats. I wish every cat had a home like yours.

I don't use lasers either because of exactly what you said, they can't capture the toy/prey. But if it got her playing that is good but I like to transition to a toy as well if possible. The boys are tough. Just keep trying everything.

Cats do sense and take on our emotions so please be as calm and confident around them as possible. The more "chill" we are the more they can be. Some improvement you are seeing could be due to the fact you said you are calmer now. This is great. It can be a nice positive feedback loop.

Ember sounds like a great cat as do the boys. I think you are in a good place now to ensure that they get along. I am not too worried, I am highly confident you will improve an already good situation.

Play really is important. It builds a lot of confidence and confident cats are less likely to attack or be attacked.

And if you do sense a dust up about to happen try to distract (with play or calling their name etc). If we can turn a potential negative into a neutral or positive situation then it is success.

And just try to associate them with good things. So when they see each other they think of good things and view them as as a positive and not a threat.

Don't worry, you are doing a great job!! Please let me know how things are going and feel free to ask anything anytime. Keep up the great work.
 
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Well, I did get them all to move last night! Not a whole lot, but you know, it was better than nothing. Ember is still only interested in the laser light. I started with that and then tried to change to the fishing rod toy thinking that maybe she'd play with it once she was in the playful mood, but nope. She walked away. Stubborn cat, that one. Well, they all are. But Ash seemed intrigued by my impersonation of a frog. Not enough to really chase it though. Both Ash and Frost, particularly Frost, quite enjoyed my impersonation of a moving stick. It's always an impressive feat to get Frost up and moving for more than a few seconds at a time. It figures that they'd want to play with the wrong end of the toy.

They're all wonderful in their own ways and I love them very much. I wish I could give them everything, but that's an impossibility so I'll do what I can. I will admit, Ember seems a bit clingy. Not very, but more than any other cat I've had. I don't know if that's just the difference of having her since she was born or that that's just the relationship we have, but we're definitely bonded. She likes to know where I am and helps me with just about everything. I've also noticed that she hates being locked up unless I'm there. After bathing the boys, we usually put her up in my room at night or they'll keep us up. She won't even try to get out if she knows I'm staying with her, but if I'm not then she's constantly tense and waiting to escape.
 

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That is GREAT that you got them all to move and play!! Well done!! It is a process and it can be challenging but you are doing great.

Please do not worry, you are giving the most important thing, LOVE. Your love and attention to them is extraordinary. Trust me when I say, you are giving them everything they want!! I think they are very lucky!!

How long was Ember raised by her mother?

Ember has been with you for nearly 3 years?

How did you introduce Ember to the boys?

Would you say she is co-dependent?
 
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Animal Freak

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I got them all to move again last night as well though not as much. Ash went after the laser light once. He runs in straight lines. It's kind of weird. He'll run a couple of extra feet when the toy went to the side.

Um, I'm not sure. How long does it take for them to be weaned again? I always forget. We kept her mother until they were at least close to being completely weaned. I'm pretty sure they wanted to nurse long after they were supposed to though.

Her birthday is in April so she'd be just over three years.

Hmm... Probably not in the best manner, but it was a rather stressful time with two boys who weren't used to other animals, a cat who wanted to attack them, and two kittens that needed to be socialized. At first, they were always separate. Midnight (Ember's mother) and the two kittens mostly lived in my mom's room and the boy's would have full range of the house. Then we'd switch. Put the boys in my room and let Midnight out. Once the kittens got old enough that they didn't need to be with her, we started letting them out of the room while the boys had full range. The boys are really laid back and don't have a violent bone in their bodies so it wasn't all that dramatic. They would growl if a kitten got too close, but otherwise they'd just keep their distance. I would try to a hold a kitten just far enough that they wouldn't growl or feel the need to run away, but where they were forced to acknowledge the kitten's presence. It was all rather peaceful, really, compared to when we brought the dog into the house.

That's a tough one. She's definitely not like to boys who come around for attention every now and then but otherwise want their space. She's not much of a cat-cat at all, really. More of a people-cat. It's hard for me to say since I've never had a cat who's been this attached, but I don't think I'd go quite so far as saying she's completely reliant. She's come to prefer a human's company over that of another cat's, that's for sure. And it's entirely my fault, but she has come to learn that she can get attention pretty much any time she wants. I have completely spoiled her. She'll get right in the middle of whatever it is I'm doing to get attention and she knows she can get it.
 

calicosrspecial

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Great that you got them to move a little. That is good. Just keep trying. Try different things and try to make the toy act like prey (a mouse or a bird). Some movement will catch their attention eventually. It really is art.

All the other information is very helpful and helps me understand the background. The background was actually very good and that is why Ember is actually doing quite well.

I think you have a done a wonderful job with them. Sure there may be some incidents but they also have great moments (like laying next to each other, grooming, etc).

Have you tried a ball? I use a tennis ball but sometimes they fling it and stuff can break. But maybe there is another ball that they can't fling and create damage?

Please feel free to update anytime and ask anything. You really have done a great job with them.
 
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Animal Freak

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Ember's been showing more interest in the feathers which I'm quite happy with. I still initiate play with the laser light and our play sessions aren't very long, but they don't want to play for long. I figure that's something we can work on in time. The boys are going back and forth in whether they want to play or not. One moment they're interested, the next they're not. Tonight Frost was rather stubborn and didn't want to get up. However, Ember seems to be feeling more comfortable. I haven't tried separating them or anything since I'm still trying to figure out who likes what and they all seem to take turns on their own anyway, but she hasn't had a problem with playing with them around like she had been. The other night I think she spooked herself because she did a flip and landed on me so after that she didn't want to play much.

They haven't really shown much interest in balls. They like the fake mice, but they normally play with them only a short time every now and then. Occasionally you'll find one batting a little ball around, but they're not usually games that last long. We've had tennis balls around before. I'm not sure if we still have any or if the dog got a hold of and destroyed them all. We can't have them anymore because she'll tear the fabric off and then mutilate the ball.

I'm also proud to say that Ember and Stella, the dog, are able to play peacefully alongside each other. When I used to use the laser light, it was to bring Ember's energy level down after bring the dog into the household. She hadn't taken well to the change, but play helped. The dog was obsessed with it too and so I had to start making them take turns. It worked out well, but I had to make sure Stella never got too close to the cat. Now we don't have an issue. Whether it's the cat getting close to the dog or the dog getting close to the cat, Ember remains perfectly calm. Well, other than the fact that she's in a playful mood. I was quite happy when I noticed this as it is a very large improvement compared to where we started.

Thank you. I want to do my best for them and offer them all I can because they are my companions and pretty much my only friends. I truly believe that they're more than just things to show off and have around only when I want them. They are living creatures and they have long since become a part of my family. So all your help and advice is greatly appreciated as it helps me give them what they need and continue to improve their lives.
 
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Rachel Warner

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Another fun. Idea is tie a toy on each side of a thin rope and put it on each side of a door and hopefully the cats with play together that way .. You might have to get them going with it like I do but if there toys your cats love then they might play on there own as well .
 
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