Why would a cat ask to play all the time and how to satisfy her?
I have a quite energetic, 1.5 year old female cat, who used to live outside until 6 months old.
We get along nicely, and I try to have play sessions with her 2-3 times a day for at least 5 minutes - it's usually two 5-minute and two 10-minute sessions every day. I have to note that these are not on a fixed schedule; the cat does not know when to expect playtime at all, and a couple of times per month there might be a day with no play sessions at all.
The thing is - no matter how much she plays, it never seems to be enough for her! This makes me a little skeptical:
Is she getting the fun, exercise and stimulation she needs? Can there be other reasons why a cat would like to play much more than usual?
There already is quality and variety in her playtime, so I doubt that new toys are the answer here. Is it possible at all that a new kitten in the household would help her? Could she just be lonely and looking for ways to spend more time with me? Any other ideas what this behaviour could indicate?
Here's some more info on her playing and asking-for-play behavior:
I often alternate between toys from session to session, give her challenges, encourage her to run around chasing the toy and the such. She also likes to play hide-and-seek and peek-a-boo, although string toys are her favorite. She loves it all (sometimes she even purrs while playing). Most of the play sessions are very energetic.
I've never seen the slightest indication that she gets tired when playing. Sometimes she hides and waits for the moment the toy is not moving before attacking, but I believe that's just good hunting technique she learned while outside, not an indication of tiredness.
The more often I play with her, the more playtime she's going to ask for. If I don't play with her for a couple of days, she might not ask at all, although she'll still engage joyfully as soon as I grab a toy.
How she asks for playtime: Trying to lure me to the living room when I'm not there by meowing expectantly, coming to my door then running away, showing/bringing me a toy, rubbing on my legs to get my attention before making play gestures with her paws, lying on her back while playing with an imaginary toy hanging above her.
She does not get aggressive when not played with, and is not aggressive in general. She never breaks things or attacks clothes/furniture or other items.
She always respects my privacy; won't wake me up at all, won't bother me again if she's tried and I'm busy. Will only try to call out for me a couple of times and stop if she fails.
Playing is the activity we spend the most time together on: she does like to be petted, but less frequently than your average house-cat, and does not usually like to be held.
Whenever i start playing with my cat i think ''just 10 to 15 minutes won't hurt'' and when i am done playing and she's panting or laying down from exhaust i look at the clock and notice it's been an hour and a half sense we started I'd say get another cat becuase they obviously have more energy than we do.but don't forget to introduce them the right way or else they'll only waste their energy fighting each other.
I think she needs some more stimulation. Keep in mind that she is still a young cat with a lot of energy.
I'd say a good place to start is to make the playsessions longer and atleast one or two of them very high speed. Try to make her pant. I have a 2 years old bengal cat and she can easily run at top speed and do crazy jumps for 15 minutes without being tired at all, and keep up for 15 more minutes of less intense play. And she could do with several of these playsessions a day! There's no set rule that a playsession should only be 5-10min long. For some cats it's enough. For others it is much too little.
Another thing that might benefit your situation is to have set playtimes. Cats love routine and if she knows when playtime is the chance is greater that she won't ask so much. But for this to work you need to be very consistent.
If she eats some kibble and is food-motivated a puzzle-toy or two can help keep her occupied for a while and it lets her think. Klicker training is also a fun way to make her think. Cats get tired from activities where they have to think and solve problems too!
A kitten could go both ways. It could help with in the sense that they play together, but if you are unlucky they will not tolerate eachother. She will still want to play with you though. My cats play a lot together, but wants to play with me more.
I don't think there's really any other reason for her play drive than her being a very active cat.
It's an SBT bengal, so really, just like any regular active cat, but with a flashier coat.
Thanks, Nika. I'm afraid there's not always time for longer playsessions, that's why I try to at least have the ones I mentioned most of the time.