Why do you think my cat won’t play with his toys if I put them away?

The person asking the question says that when she puts her cat toys away her cat won’t play with them. He won’t do this even when the toys can be found and got at easily.

Cat playing with ball
Cat playing with ball
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Are cat toys successful?

Let’s try and find an answer to the question. My first thought is that cat toys are not always successful anyway. They can work for a while and then the cat can become bored with them. The only cat toys that really work are the ones operated by the cat’s owner. I’m referring to cat teases or bits of string etc.. This is because the toys are animated by the owner. Cats respond to movement and sound. Cat toys have to move. Although sometimes when toys make sounds they frighten the cat because the sounds are unnatural. Indeed, sometimes toys can frighten cats which obviously totally nullifies their purpose.


If you leave a cat alone with a toy he might play with it for a while then stop. Once he stops I don’t think he’ll have the desire to restart with that toy. At least he won’t have a desire to play with it for a while. As mentioned, this is because cats have short attention spans when it comes to playing with human created toys.

Cat playing at being mother

Cat playing at being mother
Cat playing at being mother

Genuine hunting

Domestic cats can have a huge attention span when it comes to real hunting. They might wait and watch for a mouse at a distance for an eternity. This is all part of their hunting strategy. But commercially produced cat toys? They are not the same thing. My experience with cat toys is somewhat of a failure.

Homemade best?

It’s a bit like buying toys for children (I don’t have children). There are cupboards full of toys which have been used and then discarded. I’d like to hear the views of other cat owners on this subject. The best toys are homemade toys. Balls of scrunched up paper, pieces of string which you drag along, cat teases (feather on the end of the stick) and other homemade inventions are often the best. They have to be safe though. This is critically important.

Animating the toy

Adding catnip to them might help. Interestingly, the lady who asked the question in the title to this article said that when she throws them on the floor he will play with them. Therein lies the answer. When she throws a cat toy on the floor it’s a moving object to be chased by her cat. If it is not thrown her cat has to push it to “energize” the inanimate article. This I think is a major problem as well. Cats get bored by the lack of animation in some toys. Perhaps the best toys are those which are powered and which move a lot.


There is another aspect to cat toys. All of them do not really produce reward at the end of the chase. Nearly all cat toys are based upon a chase and hunt. If the cat is chasing a pointer (a pinpoint of light on a wall produced by a handheld light source) it is an impossible task and the cat will become bored because there is no reward. What I mean by this is that the cat cannot actually capture anything. This also creates boredom and disinterest. Even if the toy can be captured it can’t be eaten! Disappointing n’est-ce pas?

I hope that this at least begins to answer the question. P.S. Make sure they are safe. This is very important.

3 thoughts on “Why do you think my cat won’t play with his toys if I put them away?”

  1. My cats love laser pointers i can run it up and down the long hall and they merrily chase it. I always end with a wand toy that they can catch, bite and claw followed by some canned food. Several of my cats are stalkers and may watch a toy being flung about for eternity before making one brutal attack and then hiding again to repeat the process. We must understand that even though it seems pointless to continue to shake the feather stick that the cat is completely engaged.

  2. Quick answer; because you put them away. My babies hide them and bring them out at appropriate times. They are thoroughly insulted when I move the hiding places. They also fetch them when they want them. Maybe mine are strange.

    • I think yours are very advanced players! But yes, putting them away is going to stop them. That said cats tend to stop anyway after a fairly short time in my experience. Thanks RM.


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