There he is! How regal and poised he looks! Notice his admonishing gaze as he watches his minions parade around him — aren’t you glad he isn’t noticing YOU!
I am amazed at the way he fills the space with his prominence and elegance — especially as he fills the space atop my antique buffet in the dining room!
For awhile, I wondered if he had died and someone made a stuffed animal out of him since he has hardly moved all day. My mind wanders back to the days of his youth….
He was such a playful baby kitty — all wiggles and licks and rubs. It was so entertaining watching him play with his yummy kitty food, toys and treats.
He never tired of chasing that silly fuzzy, feather ball on a string … I’d pull it along and he’d pounce on it and chase it over and over again, never acting like he’d done this a thousand times that week.
Or, the hours of fun we had playing with the kitty fishing rod…with me manipulating the rod so that the toy at the end of the string would dance and weave.
Or, all of the times he hid in my laundry basket, waiting to “pounce” on me as I walked through the laundry room to do some washing.
Or, even the many, many times I found him on the kitchen snack bar, helping himself to candy from the dish or to the freshly baked cookies from the cooling rack on the counter.
Gone, it seems, are those fun and playful days … but why are they gone? How can I get them back? How can I get my precious kitty to be more active and playful again?
If this scenario is familiar to you and your feline buddy, let me first reassure you that you’re not alone.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with a few ideas and, perhaps a game plan, for breathing life back into that furry, feline family member.
Let’s Start with the Basics
We all know that felines are quite curious — an attribute which begins very early in life and continues throughout their long lives.
While the curiosity continues, the things in which they become curious change as your kitty ages and gains more knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live — just like your human babies.
Their desire and efforts to “explore” should not stop as they mature but should, instead, show the maturing levels of understanding achieved about their environment.
With that being said, now, we’ll deal with some questions which may help get to the root of why you have a lazy kitty.
What’s Normal for Your Kitty?
In order to assess what could be wrong with your furry feline family member, it is important to ascertain what has always been normal behavior for him.
For example, if you have the unusual kitty who has always been very aloof and appeared to really not be involved in life around your home, then his present inactive behavior may not be a problem.
However, if your kitty has been like almost every other kitty I know — actively getting into EVERYTHING within reach and always under foot — and now he isn’t behaving this way, then there could be cause for concern. And, that cause could be a systemic illness which needs attention!
The First Step
The first step which you should take is to call your local veterinary professional and make an appointment for an examination.
If you’re like many people who have an “inside” cat, you may not already have a relationship established with a local vet and may need to locate a good vet for this examination.
Or, you may have an ongoing annual routine consisting of a physical examination with stool checks and vaccination boosters that you maintain for your kitty.
The important first step that you should be taking should somehow involve a veterinary professional because lethargy can be a symptom which signals a deeper physical or systemic problem with your frisky feline family member or it could even an emotional one.
How Do I Know If My Kitty Has Lethargy?
This is a pretty common question question which doesn’t totally have a common answer. Here are some things you might see if your furry friend is lethargic:
- Drowsiness, sleeps longer or more hours per day
- Decreased or no interest in games or activities which previously used to peak his interest
- Does your kitty just lie there when you call him or when you try to get his attention in ways that used to work?
- Does he move more slowly when he responds to your call
- Changes in appetite and grooming habits
- More aggressive responses to people and stimuli
- Hiding behaviors which can include seeking seclusion in closets, under beds, under furniture etc for no apparent reason
If you are noticing any of these symptoms in any degree of severity and if they persist more than a few days, you should seek veterinary advice as your kitty could be telling you that he is sick or in pain.
What Kind of Illnesses Can Be Causing the Lethargy?
There are a number of diseases and conditions which can result in lethargy in your furry feline family member and some of them can be pretty serious.
Here are some of the diseases and conditions of which you should be concerned:
- Heat stroke and dehydration
- Heart disease
- Infections and parasites
- Ingestion of toxic foods or foreign objects
- Kidney disease
The list can probably be expanded to include more diseases and conditions but I think you see the point I am making.
You should be able to see the importance of beginning with your veterinary professional for getting that frisky, furry feline family member back to normal.
Cats Need the Three A’s, Too
Are you familiar with the three A’s? Basically, we’re talking about affection, affirmation and attention — pretty much something we all need, right?
For many pet parents, the common opinion is that cats are so aloof that they really don’t need any of these things, seemingly very indifferent to these contacts with their human companions.
While some kitties may very well not need the attention, most are actually quite the opposite! If you can spend time playing and showing love to the family dog, you should make a concerted effort to do so with the family cat as well!
Sometimes your family kitty can get depressed, just as the family dog and any other family member can. Depression is in the above list of diseases or conditions of which lethargy is a symptom.
If your trip to the vet doesn’t yield any real systemic solution to the lethargy problem, don’t fret because this is a good thing.
Your furry feline family member is healthy and a systemic disease is not at the root. Sometimes, the problem is simply a case of boredom, the feline finding itself living in a family who believes that cats can amuse themselves without human interaction.
Here is a list of suggestions that you might try to turn this depressed behavior around:
- Spend more time with your kitty – play with those kitty fishing rods or those feather balls on a string – make a point to devote time everyday with your kitty in this way
- Changing residences will certainly stir up your kitty to more activity as he investigates the new surroundings
- Change your living environment to provide more stimulation for your kitty
- Try opening the windows and curtains so your kitty can watch the outside activity, i.e. birds, bunnies and squirrels
- Set up perches for your kitty so he can watch the wildlife and human life outside – try setting up several to give him a variety of views to the outside
- Sometimes older kitties will liven up when a younger kitty is brought in — provided the older kitty still gets his share of the three A’s that is
- If you live in an area that allows screened sun porches or lanais, this can be a great place to spend time with your feline family member
For the most part, if your kitty is healthy, then your best game plan for getting him to be more active will consist of multiple activities in which you are purposely spending more time with your pet — spending more quality time talking to him, stroking, petting and playing with him and maybe even a bit of cuddling.
As stated earlier, the purpose of this article is give you some ideas and get your creative juices flowing.
Look around and make note of the many different ways that you could adjust your schedule and your daily routine to spend more quality time with your beloved feline family member.
Establish a routine that both of you will enjoy and anticipate with enthusiasm on a daily or otherwise regular basis.
Many people have experienced improvements in their own emotional states when they interact regularly with their pets.
Always remember that those three A’s aren’t just for your pets, you’ll get something from the interaction, too!