Cat Wants to Play Constantly? Do This Now!

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There are times that cats can be a surprising handful – especially during their kitten phase. There are some kittens that are perfect and others that seem to have the energy of the sun such as my Bengal cat (when he was a kitten). There might be even some adult cats who just want to be the king or queen of attention.

Attention seeking might be cute at the start but quickly starts to become a distraction, especially for busy butlers. Many people might recommend a companion cat but if it isn’t possible, what else can you do?

What can you do if your cat wants to play all the time or constantly want your attention? First, understanding a cat’s energy cycle will help you manage its energy levels better. Second, create an engaging environment that promotes different types of independent activities. Lastly, having a routine for your cats will allow them to adapt better to your lifestyle.

Understanding a Cat’s Energy Cycle to Control Your Cat

Almost all cats will likely follow this energy cycle. Take a look at the infographic below and see if you can see this pattern in your own cats.

Graphic 1. A Cat’s Energy Cycle. Understanding the energy cycle of a cat will help owners know how and when to manage their cat’s energy levels. This energy cycle is for most adult cats – kittens might require more frequent playtimes but the concept remains the same.

When trying to get your cat to calm down, knowing the energy cycle will help tremendously. It’s clear that cats will use up the most energy during the play phase of the cycle. What’s not obvious is that they actually use up more energy when they play hungry rather than full.

Cats are efficient creatures and therefore if they’re full constantly – do you think that they will put in the effort to play and hunt? That’s a big reason why scheduled feeding is important for your cats. It allows them to go through this cycle of energy expenditure and recuperation, much like a human would when they exercise (exercise -> eat -> rest).

The key is, to get a cat to calm down – rather than buying a bunch of toys and hoping that they play with them, play with the intention of following this process. You’ll find them much more malleable to guide in terms of energy.

Also, some play and toys are more effective than others to expend their energy. For a ranking on which type of play uses the most energy read: How to Tire out Cats.

Create an Environment that Supports Independent Play

What type of environment promotes the most activity? It’s one that includes a lot of different types of movements and actions that a cat might do in the wild (or the outside world).

Cats can do more than just walking, sprinting, and sleeping. They can also climb, burrow, and even forage! These things are easy to include in your cat’s daily life indoors.

Most owners will have places they can climb and perch but that might not be enough. Having things such as tunnels and mats that they can burrow into really gets their brain juices going and they easily become excited enough to play around by themselves.

These are the things I like to call cat play environment-type toys and products. Combine them with a few balls or toy mice and kittens can play with them forever. As such, these types of toys are very passive since they can just be set down with a ball and the cat will likely interact with it.

The best part is that it doesn’t have to be purchased – it can be created quite easily. It’s why cats love boxes so much.

  1. Simple Cat Straight Tunnel

    When your cats need to expend some extra energy and you don't exactly have the time to play with them directly - create a play situation so that they can play with each other. This is great for multi-cat homes and folds up neatly when it's not being used. Lots of different designs to fit your home aesthetics too!

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  2. SnugglyCat The Ripple Rug - Made in USA - Cat Activity Mat

    While it takes up some horizontal space on the floor - this is such a great tool to let your cats hide and burrow and be cats. Multi-cat households love this item because of its durability and effectiveness. Also folds up neatly to be put away and organized!

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There are other simple ways to engage and stimulate your cats too! Small changes in certain activities can make huge differences. Think about how a cat eats indoors (they usually devour their food in seconds). It’s a very mindless act for the indoor cat.

Allow your cat to partake in foraging activities by giving them food puzzles. It’s a great way to keep them busy, satisfy their foraging instincts, and keep their weight in check. Read my article here for more food puzzle strategies!

Create a Cat Routine and Stay Consistent With It!

Routines are what create your cat. I talk about it all the time. Figure out a time in which you’re able to spend time with your cat, feed your cat, etc.

That way, they won’t distract you during the other parts of the day because their energy levels will adapt to the routine and schedule you have laid out for them.

In my small apartment, I have specific times for meals and times for play. My cat’s energy levels reflect that. They’re quite active in the afternoon to evening because that’s when I take the time out to play with them. Afterward, I let them complete their energy cycle by feeding them a nice hearty meal at the end of it. They’re usually down for the count before I myself go to sleep.

For more information about how to create these routines for your cats, I created some helpful articles:

Optimal Times To Play With Your Cats

Scheduled Mealtimes for Cats

Now that you established a routine (or thinking about it), the next part is implementing it and sticking to it. Many pet owners think that to be a good pet owner, we have to cater to everything that your pet wants. This can end up hurting both the pet and putting an unnecessary strain on your relationship with your cat. Butlers have to know when to ignore and when to give their pet cat attention.

If your cat constantly wants your attention through inappropriate behavior or at not the right time. We have to set boundaries and allow the cat time to adapt.

Remember, we can’t be direct with a cat. Any sort of interaction with your cat should be viewed as a reward. If they’re doing something you don’t want or something you deem unacceptable – the way we react is not to react. Don’t look at them, don’t talk to them, ignore them completely.

If they’re doing something that we want, at the right time, then that’s an appropriate time to interact with your cat. By doing this, reinforces good behavior and helps them to understand what’s acceptable.

Other Considerations to Help Calm Down a Cat

Here are some other ways to stop your cat from attention-seeking or hyperactive behaviors:

  • More catification – designing your space to be more in line with how a cat might use it.
  • Cat wheels – a lot of fun for cats but might require some training time. It’s very passive and all of my cats use it daily to walk or sprint. It’s great fun to watch them too!
  • A combination of different types of toys & products – cats like variety like any of us. I curated a list of some of the best products and toys that I use here in my apartment. I regularly update the list!


With a science background and years of experience including learning, observing, and training cats - increasing our beloved feline's welfare and wellbeing is the priority and passion.

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