Cats are known for being playful and great with toys, but not all cats enjoy playing.
In fact, many felines avoid interacting with their favorite toy or any other object they find interesting. Cats can be scared of toys because they associate them with something that hurt or frightened them in the past.
They may also have a condition called pica which makes them want to eat everything including items like wool, paper and even dirt. What’s more is that some cats simply lack the interest in playing due to different factors such as age or health conditions.
In this article we will explore 8 reasons your pet might be scared of toys while providing tips on how you can make sure your kitten likes playing with their favorite toy as well as interactive ideas to keep your cat entertained.
Why is My Cat Scared of Toys?
There can be many reasons why your cat is scared of toys. It’s important to understand the root cause in order to help your feline friend feel more comfortable and encourage them to play.
The following are 8 reasons your cat might be afraid of their favorite toy:
1. They associate it with something that hurt or frightened them in the past
One of the most common reasons cats are scared of toys is because they associate them with something that caused them pain or fear in the past. For example, if your cat was once attacked by a dog while playing with a toy, they may now be scared of all toys out of fear for another attack.
2. They have a condition called pica
Pica is a condition that causes cats to eat anything they find, including items that are not food such as wool, paper, and dirt. This can be dangerous for your cat as some of these items can cause blockages in their intestines. If your cat has this condition, it’s important to keep all toys and other objects they might be interested in away from them.
3. They are older and no longer have the interest in playing
As cats age, their interests tend to change. Some older felines may lose interest in playing with toys altogether.
4. They are unwell or have a health condition
If your cat is feeling unwell or has a health condition, they may not feel like playing with their favorite toy. This could be due to an illness such as arthritis which makes it difficult for them to move around, or a neurological problem that affects their balance.
5. They don’t know how to play with toys
Not all cats are born natural toy players. Some cats need to be taught how to play with toys and how to enjoy it.
6. They feel shy or scared around new people or animals
If your cat is shy or scared of new people or animals, they may not want to play when they see a new toy. The unfamiliarity of the situation may make them feel uncomfortable.
7. They are bored and don’t have anything else to do
When cats get bored, they may start playing with their favorite toy in an attempt to entertain themselves. If your cat doesn’t have anything else to do, try providing them with more activities or things to explore.
8. They are trying to tell you something
In some cases, cats may be trying to tell you something by being scared of their favorite toy. If your cat is avoiding a particular toy, it might be because they don’t like the smell, the texture, or the color. Try switching up the toy and see if that makes them more interested in playing.
How to Help Your Cat Overcome Their Fear of Toys?
If your cat is scared of their favorite toy, there are some things you can do to help them overcome their fear. The following are a few tips:
1. Start by gradually introducing the toy
If your cat is scared of a new toy, start by slowly introducing it to them. Place the toy near them and let them explore it at their own pace. Reward them for any positive interactions they have with the toy.
2. Don’t force them to play with the toy
Forcing your cat to play with a toy they are scared of will only make them more afraid of it. Let them take their time and don’t push them too hard.
3. Try different types of toys
Not all cats like the same type of toy. If your cat is scared of their favorite toy, try giving them a different type of toy to play with instead. Maybe they would prefer a fuzzy mouse over a plastic ball.
4. Make sure the toy is safe
Before giving a new toy to your cat, make sure it is safe for them to play with. Remove any small parts that could come off and be swallowed, and avoid toys with sharp edges.
5. Get help from a professional
If you’ve tried everything and your cat is still scared of their favorite toy, it may be time to get help from a professional. A behaviorist or veterinarian can help you figure out why your cat is afraid of the toy and how to best help them overcome their fear.
How to Introduce a New Toy to Your Cat?
If you want to introduce a new toy to your cat, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The following are a few tips:
1. Choose the right toy
When choosing a new toy for your cat, it’s important to pick one that is safe and age-appropriate. Avoid toys with small parts that could be swallowed or choked on, and steer clear of those with sharp edges. It’s also a good idea to choose a toy that is durable and can stand up to some rough play.
2. Let them explore the toy
Once you’ve chosen the perfect toy for your cat, let them have some time to explore it. Place the toy in their environment and let them come to it at their own pace. Reward them for any positive interactions they have with the toy.
3. Don’t force them to play with it
Forcing your cat to play with a new toy can be frustrating for both of you. Let them take their time and don’t push them too hard. Some cats will take weeks or even months to get comfortable with a new toy.
4. Be patient
It may take a while before your cat starts playing with their new toy. Be patient and keep rewarding them for any positive interactions they have with the toy. Eventually, they will start to play with it on their own.
Interactive Toys That Will Keep Your Cat Entertained
If your cat is getting bored of their old toys, it may be time to switch things up. The following are a few interactive toys that will keep your cat entertained for hours:
1. Feather wand
This toy is perfect for cats who love to chase things. The feather wand has a long stick with a fake feather attached to the end, and it’s perfect for playing catch.
2. Da Bird
This toy is another favorite among cats who love to chase things. It consists of a piece of wire with a fake bird attached to the end. When you swing it around, the bird wiggles and flies through the air, simulating the movement of a real bird.
3. Mouse on a string
This toy is perfect for cats who love to stalk and pounce on their prey. It consists of a fake mouse attached to a string, which you can pull across the floor for your cat to chase.
4. Catnip kickers
These toys are perfect for cats who love to play with catnip. They are small stuffed animals filled with catnip, and they come in a variety of different animals, such as mice and birds.
5. Crinkle balls
These toys are perfect for cats who love to bat things around. They are small balls made out of crinkly paper, and they make a noise when they are batted or thrown.
Tips for Choosing the Right Toy for Your Cat
Not all cats are the same, and what one cat likes may not be what another cat likes. The following are a few tips for choosing the right toy for your cat:
1. Consider their personality
When choosing a toy for your cat, it’s important to consider their personality. Some cats like to chase things, while others like to pounce on their prey. Choose a toy that suits your cat’s personality and they will be sure to love it.
2. Think about their age
It’s also important to think about your cat’s age when choosing a toy. Kittens need different toys than adult cats, and senior cats need different toys than younger cats. Choose a toy that is appropriate for your cat’s age and they will be sure to enjoy it.
3. Pay attention to their interests
If you’re not sure what type of toy your cat would like, pay attention to their interests. If they love to play with balls, get them a ball-shaped toy. If they love to chase things, get them a toy that moves around. If they love to play with catnip, get them a toy that is filled with catnip. By paying attention to your cat’s interests, you can easily choose the perfect toy for them.
4. Let them choose
The best way to choose a new toy for your cat is to let them choose. Take them to a pet store and let them pick out the toy they want. This way, you can be sure that they will love their new toy.
5. Get them a variety of toys
Cats get bored easily, so it’s important to get them a variety of toys. This way, they will always have something new to play with and they will never get bored. Cats need both mental and physical stimulation, so it’s important to choose toys that provide both.
The bottom line is that cats need toys to keep them mentally and physically stimulated, and the best way to choose a new toy for your cat is to let them choose.
Pay attention to their interests and get them a variety of different toys so they never get bored. And most importantly, be patient – it may take a while before your cat starts playing with their new toy.