Like so many other humans, mine spends her whole day at that mysterious and apparently stressful place called “work.” I’m always excited when she comes home, and I wait in the dining room for her, hoping that she’ll grab a toy and start playing with me. But she never does! Instead she just immediately heads for the kitchen and pulls out some cat food. Now, I’m not going to turn down a meal, but it’s not what I really want. And on top of everything else, I just went to the vet and was told I am overweight (how insulting!). How do I make it clear to my human that I want games, not grub?
Hungry for Playtime
Humans have to be the most thick-skulled creatures around. Things that would be obvious to a six-week-old kitten, they don’t get. Now, if I were to walk in the door and see you waiting for me, all perky and happy, the first thing I’d do is play with you! But all humans ever think about is food. They’re obsessed with eating, and on top of that, they think every other species is equally obsessed with it too (which isn’t true — most species eat only when they’re hungry and go on to other matters). That’s why the United States has a serious obesity problem — for both humans and cats. I think part of the dilemma is that humans associate love with food. They think that the only way they can express affection is by giving us treats. Not only is getting so much food bad nutritionally, it shows a woeful lack of imagination. There are lots of other ways to bond with us kitties — brushing us, petting us and especially playing with us! Because humans are not so bright, you need to be pretty literal if you want them to understand what you want from them. So first off, I would suggest that when your human comes home, stop greeting her in the dining room. The dining room immediately makes her think “food.” Find another place to welcome her home — the living room, or a family room, if you have one. And make it obvious that you want to play. If you have a favorite toy, you could always bring it to her, or you could use a little bit of creative play instead — attack her from behind a chair, for example, or jump on top of her from a high shelf. I’m sure she will scream with delight if you surprise her like this the moment she walks in the door! Food will be the furthest thing from her mind, especially if, after leaping on her, you immediately start racing around the house and knocking things over in your wake. Not only will all this extra activity burn off some calories, it will also keep your human on her toes, which is always a good thing to do. Show your human you want to be an active cat, not some food-scarfing couch potato, and she is bound to follow your lead.