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7 Signs Your Cat Wants You to Play With Them: Vet-Approved Cues To Look For

Written by: Rachel Giordano

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat playing with owner

7 Signs Your Cat Wants You to Play With Them: Vet-Approved Cues To Look For


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats love to play, just like dogs. Although it may seem vastly different from dogs, cats can show us signs letting us know they want to play.

Knowing how to read your cat’s body language is an excellent way to determine if your cat wants you to play with them. Some owners may be oblivious to their cat wanting playtime, but after reading this article, we hope you’ll be able to spot the typical signs.

Read on to learn the seven typical signs that show your cat wants you to play with them.

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The 7 Signs Your Cat Wants You to Play With Them

1. Meowing

Meowing could mean many things, such as your cat being hungry or wanting the litter box cleaned. However, cats generally only meow at humans when they want just about anything; this includes wanting to play! If the tail is erected while meowing, then that’s a good indicator your cat may want to play. A sudden burst of energy that accompanies meowing also could mean that your cat wants to play.

cat meowing
Image Credit by: Marvin Otto, Pixabay

2. Nudging, Pawing, or Pouncing

Every cat owner has experienced their cat rubbing their head against them or pawing at their hand. Pouncing is a way cats stalk their prey, but it could be a sign of wanting playtime if they pounce on your hand or a toy.

Cats like to bat at objects, especially toys if they’re in the mood to play. If your cat does this to your hand, they almost always want to play with you.

3. Showing Distracting Behavior

Cats have no problem getting your attention when they’re in the mood to play. We’re guessing that just about all cat owners reading this article can relate to their cat lying on the keyboard while trying to work or the cat knocking an object off the desk or counter to get attention!

If you see your cat trying to distract you in this manner, go ahead and grab your cat’s favorite toy and play for a few minutes. The little break will do you good!

Image Credit by: Billion Photos, Shutterstock

4. Your Cat Is Staring at You

A long stare could mean your cat wants playtime. You should feel privileged that your cat is staring at you with casual blinking because that usually indicates a level of trust. It also likely means you have a bond with your cat, both of which are positive signs.

Staring is one of many ways cats get our attention, and staring could mean your cat wants to play. Staring may seem rude in our world, but in a cat’s world, it could mean they want your attention.

5. Following You

Another possible indicator of your cat wanting to play is if they are following you from room to room. Though cats may follow you for many reasons (for example, when they know it’s meal time), it may also be an indication of their willingness to play.

cat ruubing head on his owner's leg
Image Credit by: Gordana Sermek, Shutterstock

6. Showing Their Belly

A cat that rolls over and shows their belly means they’re likely keen to interact with you. Many cats do this when they’re in the mood for some cuddles, and a cuddle session may also be enhanced with some playtime.

7. Your Cat Brings You a Toy

You can’t get any more obvious than this one. If your cat brings you its favorite toy and starts batting and pouncing on it, your cat most definitely wants to play. Your cat may also get a sudden burst of energy and zoom around the house.

Playing is an important part of keeping your cat mentally and physically engaged, and a great toy will make it much easier. We like Hepper's Catnip Stick Toys because they're sturdy enough to handle intense play and completely filled with organic catnip. You'll love the fun range of pastel colors and your cat will enjoy the prey-like shape!

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At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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Signs Your Cat Needs More Playtime

Now that we’ve established the seven signs showing your cat wants to play, signs exist that your cat may need more playtime. One sign is if your cat becomes more needy than normal.

Cats can be relatively low-key at times, but they still look for fun and exciting things to do. It is important to note that by nature, cats are not lazy, and a lazy cat that sleeps all the time is either unwell or bored. If your cat seems lazy, grab a toy, such as a feather teaser, and spend some quality time with your cat to see if they perk up.

Cats need mental stimulation, just like dogs, and interactive toys are a great way to provide stimulation to your cat. Mental stimulation keeps their minds sharp and gives them something to do.

Another possible sign is if your cat has become a bit chunkier than normal. In this case, it may mean your cat needs to burn more energy, and playing with your cat will help your cat lose unwanted weight. However, weight gain can be caused by many things, and if your cat’s weight is appearing overweight, your first point of contact should be your veterinarian.

cat lying on the couch
Image Credit: Thewonderalice, Unsplash

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Final Thoughts

Most cats enjoy playtime, and if your cat seems disinterested in play, it might be a sign that your pet is not feeling well. At other times, your cat might be subtly hinting that they want to play, and they do this in a number of ways. We’ve gone over some of the most common things to look for when your cat might be interested in some playtime.

Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

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