Despite being 16 years old, Tycho still requires plenty of playtime! In fact, last night my sleep suffered because I traveled for Thanksgiving (also why the blog was quiet!) and I didn’t play enough with him when I got home! So at 3am, he decided to crinkle every single crinkle-able toy/tunnel/paper in the living room. All while yowling for good measure. And he’s not sorry he woke me up!
The thing is, Tycho is actually a bit challenging to play with. He’s very particular about what toys he likes and where he likes to play with them. You have to tempt him to chase things in just the right way, or he gets over or under stimulated and just walks away. Gus will happily run around for no reason, chase felt balls thrown haphazardly, or chase feather toys whenever. But not Tycho!
When I first got Tycho, he refused to chase balls or teaser toys (he was very shy as I explained in his origin story!). He would go after the laser pointer a little bit, but he was next to impossible to tempt into playtime. After I had him about a year, I finally found a halloween themed teaser toy from PetSmart that piqued his interest. (Aside: He seems to have a thing for halloween themed toys, as his much loved dog toy is also from the PetSmart halloween bin!)
Anyway, this toy was a little ghoul-like felt figure on an elastic string attached to a stick. He loved it and would go nuts chasing it. For a good year or two, that was his favorite thing in the world! But then one day the elastic caught on his tail while we played, and his favorite toy “chased” him through the apartment. He was traumatized and never wanted to play with that toy again. It broke my heart!
Tycho slowly got over the trauma of being “attacked” by a favorite toy, but it literally took years! For a long time he would only play with me if I had a very specific white feather teaser toy (it had to be the one with the yellow string and only white feathers, nothing else was ok!). But eventually he branched out to being a more normal cat who will chase most things on a stick! (Which is good, because that white feather toy was discontinued, and I ran out despite my best hoarding attempts!)
But he’s still very particular about how we play, and he doesn’t really want to see the person he’s playing with! He much prefers to be able to “hide” from me and attack from concealment. Often that means playing through a cracked door or from around a hallway corner. If you follow the cats on twitter, you’ll know that we recently acquired a bunch of cat tunnels and a cat cube to play with, and Tycho is super happy about that! He can be inside the tunnel or cube and play with me, or he and Gus can play with one cat “hidden”.
Every cat has their quirks, and being very particular about playtime is one of Tycho’s! He definitely lets you know when he hasn’t been properly tired out! It took a while to figure out the best way to get him to enjoy interactive play sessions, and I’m still finding new ways to entertain him. These tunnels are a perfect example. I’ve tried three previous times in the last decade to get him to play with tunnels, and all those tunnels ended up being gifted to other cats because they were ignored. But suddenly they’re cool! I bought the first one for Gus, but I think Tycho now uses them just as much. (This, of course, resulted in me getting three different tunnels so there wouldn’t be fighting!) The setup pictured above is a collapsible crinkly tunnel (Amazon link) that they both love. It attaches to the cube (Amazon link) with velcro, leaving nice holes for sneaking paws between the cube and tunnel (as seen above!). Both cats have been enjoying the cube/tunnel immensely! (Though they are getting put away tonight so I don’t lose more sleep to 3am shenanigans!)