I recently adopted a cat, she's five years old, polydactyl, fixed and declawed. My question is, why won't she play and how could I get her to? Also, she sometimes chews on her toe pads, almost like they're bothering her, why does she do that?
Unfortunately, declawing a cat is biologically equivalent (roughly) to removing the tips of their toes at the first knuckle, so you might expect some complications. Even if a vet does not find a specific problem, your cat may simply have lost interest in bouncing around if that area has become tender.
You mentioned chewing on her pads. That alone would prompt me to bring her to the vet to check her out. An X-ray might reveal loose bone fragments which can be left behind with this type of amputation which might explain the chewing and the lack of play.
There can also be other problems related to the declawing which may be correctable (unusual scar formation, for example). I'd have a vet look at it to see if the area has healed properly.
If you've already tried various cat toys to find out what she likes, I wouldn't keep pushing her too hard without knowing if there is something else going on. At five years old, she certainly already knows how to play, so I would eliminate any physical problems before encouraging her in activities that might cause her discomfort. Even if they don't find anything localized to her paws, they may be able to determine if there is anything else that might explain the lack of interest in normal play.
Good luck; I hope it works out!