Wand toys are probably the most popular toy with both owners and their cats. Personally, I think it’s because these versatile toys hit on a few key points for both humans and pets. First, there’s nothing easier than pulling out a wand toy at playtime. If you have one like our Wiggly Wand, you just swap out the attachment and it’s a whole new toy. That means your cat gets tons of variety in just one toy that can become any type of “prey.”
Cats can easily become obsessed with their wand toys because the attachments allow them to engage in several behaviors that are key to cats’ hunting instincts. But what if your cat just likes to watch and never attacks? Is that normal?
The short answer is yes. Focus and obsession on their “prey” is perfectly normal. The long answer is a bit more complicated, but also truly fascinating.
Cats start off their hunt, whether pretend or real, with focusing on their prey. With eyesight that is 40 times better than humans, cats can see the most subtle movements like breathing or blinking. This means that a big chunk of their hunting sequence is all about observing. This is a natural and necessary part of play for them. Just because she’s watching instead of pouncing, doesn’t mean she’s not engaged.
Some cats turn focusing into an art form and will become obsessed with watching the movement of their prey. For this reason, erratic movements may work best with a cat who becomes hyper-focused during playtime. Mimic the movement of a small animal and watch for signs of interest in your cat. If she’s crouched low to the ground, eyes wide and watching, she’s hunting, and you can keep her intrigued by paying attention to when she gets the most focused and repeating that behavior.
Cats will spend a lot of hunting time thinking, watching, and calculating. They may not pounce because the conditions are not optimal. Or maybe she’s not hungry, or she’s simply biding her time. Don’t give up if she’s using her brain instead of her paws. Your cat needs mental stimulation just as much as she needs physical activity.
That said, if you’re concerned your cat isn’t getting enough exercise, consider rotating toys. Maybe she’s bored with her current wand toy. Our Wiggly Wand is compatible with several attachments that mimic realistic prey that you can swap out whenever your cat becomes bored.
Finally, try to be patient. If your cat has been inactive for some time, getting her to play may feel a bit unnatural to you both. Try new things. Grab a pinch of catnip or silver vine, and see what interests your cat the most. You may need to bring the toy to her, but eventually, she will attack. Even if it’s a small nip or swat.