I want to preface this by saying I’ve had cats. I’ve had kittens. I’ve raised kittens to cats.
Kittens are playful — sometimes they play rough, especially when they’re teething, and sometimes they need to be taught when and how it’s appropriate to play.
Pyewacket Poose is still a kitten, technically. A fifteen pound kitten, but a kitten nonetheless, with all of the energy and playfulness you’d expect… And then some.
We bought him toys, but toys alone aren’t enough. First, he sits and gently twitches the tip of his tail. The twitching becomes a whapping. The whapping becomes soft meows. Soft meows turn into dug up dirt and uprooted plants. He brings us his toys, jumping up and placing them at the foot of the bed to underline his point.
Play with me or you will never know peace again.
I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about having a healthy, rambunctious kitten, because I love my big, playful, friendly boy. Averaging two and a half hours of sleep sandwiched in between whenever he decides playtime is over, and Kiko needs her antibiotics? Not as cool.
All kittens are playful, though not all of them are as demanding of one-on-one attention.Friday, he brought me his wand toy fifteen times. As long as I was still sitting up reading, using the computer, or looking at my phone, I was fair game. It was only when I curled up and pretended to sleep that he snuggled up next to me and stopped trying to excavate our yucca plants and throw things off of the top of the refrigerator for attention. He behaves when we’re away, though — no spilled dirt, no chewed-up plants, nothing. It’s only when we’re around and not entirely focused on him that he acts out. He doesn’t care nearly as much for toys he can bat around by himself, playing with someone is where it’s at.
Therein lies the problem. Since he’s acting up for attention, giving him attention to get him to stop just reinforces what he’s doing. Attempting to ignore his behavior makes him find new and more elaborate ways to erode my failing sanity.
So, we loaded up on enrichment toys (aided by a kitty care package from my S.O.’s mom) — a wobbly mouse to fill with food, a ball on a round track, and a mouse that dangles over the top of the closet door. Unlike his regular balls and wand toys, they’ll hopefully entice him more to tire himself out. That way, he can be rewarded for playing and not attempting to rearrange every plant in the apartment.
Have you lived with a big, energetic cat? What toys or other kitty activities helped keep them occupied when you couldn’t directly interact with them?