We own two cats - a Russian Blue female turning 7 this year, and a Russian Blue/Maine Coon Male who is 2 1/2. Both are rescue cats from the local area, and both are very well-tempered around us.

The problem is when the younger cat wants to play with the older cat - which is frequent. Sometimes they will play together and neither one will make any fuss, but I worry about our older cat, as she doesn't seem as enthused by playtime as him, retreating to higher ground when it gets too rough.

I'd rather let her relax than have my younger cat cause undue stress to my older cat - but the problem is, my wife and I are both very low-energy people ourselves, and we're not sure how to best use up this young boy's fountains of energy.

So, how can I best burn this boy's energy after I come home from a long, rough day of work?

  • Laser pointers are minimal effort for humans but a major workout for a cat. Feb 25, 2019 at 19:58
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    Laser pointers, wand toys, catios, balls, treat toys, "automatic" toys... all are little to no effort for humans but can keep a cat busy for long periods. What kind of stimulation are you offering the cat currently other than "the other cat?" That will help with an answer.
    – Allison C
    Feb 25, 2019 at 20:04
  • At the moment we're using a wand toy, which he loves but tends to break the end off of leaving just a little bit of plastic instead of a dangly bell and feather (Though he still chases the little plastic nub around) and a dangling feather toy occasionally too. I'm loathe to get a laser pointer for fear of hurting his eyes, and because I generally don't like using a toy that the cat cannot touch - it feels cruel to have them chase something they cannot catch or feel.
    – Zibbobz
    Feb 25, 2019 at 20:13
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    Have you considered higher quality wand toys (or putting them away when not in use--one of my cats "eats" the ends if I don't hide them)? And while I keep hearing about how "cruel" laser pointers are, I have never seen any of my cats anything but thrilled with them.
    – Allison C
    Feb 26, 2019 at 15:02
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    All What you need to buy is a stick worth $6 and shake it. Move it all over your appartment let them run after it. Make it do sounds behind a chair a chouch they will love it. Imagine it's a stick and carrot. Let them run behind it and if they catch it. REward them. Tell them good boy or good girl
    – Hani Gotc
    Feb 26, 2019 at 18:12

5 Answers 5


To redirect your younger cat's energy from the older one, you need lots of options for where to redirect it. You mentioned in a comment that you do have a wand toy for him; get more. Offer him a variety (and if he's inclined to damaging them when left unattended, find a place to hide them that's inaccessible--I personally use heavy dresser drawers my cat can't pull open). There's lots of options of wand toys on the market--feathery ones, ribbon ones, springy ones, ones with prey toys on the end, and so on.

If he likes those, look into similar toys, as well; there are bases and scratching posts with toys on "springs," cat towers that have dangly toy attachments (and also have the benefit of giving him something to race up and down, or a possible refuge for the other cat), toys that hang from doorknobs, and toys on elastic that hang from door frames.

Try a laser pointer with him. In spite of reports that they're "cruel," every cat I've ever interacted with genuinely enjoys the chase and isn't bothered by not being able to "catch" the toy. It's one of the fastest ways to burn off excess feline energy, and can be entertaining for you as well, especially if you have a hardwood or tile floor.

Try out different kinds of balls. My cats have a selection of hard, plush, crinkle, jingle, "lumpy" (with an unpredictable movement pattern), and pompon balls to play with. On softer ones, you can marinate them in catnip to make them extra appealing and burn off more energy. You can also get track-bound balls, which are balls locked into a larger piece, and which cats enjoy batting around as they try to knock it loose.

Offer different sizes of "prey" toys. Not just the classic little mouse, but the bigger "kicker" styles, in-between sizes, and different shapes. Try different amounts of catnip, different textures, and toys with or without "crinklers" inside.

Periodically, move the couch and throw all the toys that have disappeared under it back into the room to be "fresh" stimulation. Often, they will have been lost so long that they'll feel new to your cat.

Essentially, you'll want to do your best to overstimulate your younger cat. Give him so many choices that there's always some way to redirect him when the older cat wants to be left alone. With safer toys, you can even leave them out while you're at work and let him burn energy while you're away--though you should always make sure all parts are securely attached and there's no damage before letting a toy be an unsupervised toy.


Get a toy he likes. Like a wand with a feather, etc. Get him to run and jump and do flips (if he wants) to catch the toy. My cat loves this. Do this until he stops for a rest. Repeat until cat is tired. Jackson Galaxy calls this boil and simmer. Then feed him. Cats like to hunt, kill then eat, then they will sleep. Works great for my active cat. All you have to do is stand or sit in a chair to do this and it only takes like 10 minutes.


The easiest (fun) low (human) energy cat entertainment I know of is bouncing ping-pong balls off the kitchen floor. The balls are light weight with substantial bounce. Our cat loved this game. The balls themselves are relatively inexpensive and they don't hurt if you step on one.


Do you mind if the cat claws the couch? I had a suede/cloth couch from my student days when Heddle was <1yo. I'm right handed and would sit on the left side with a mouse on a string. And I'd get her to run this. pencil drawing of stickman on blue couch with arrows indicating a clockwise path,  up centre of couch , over the back and around to the front again I mostly got her to do it in the opposite direction so she scrambled up the back of the couch and jumped off the front.

After 4-5 circuits stop the mouse, and assess how puffed your cat is. Repeat till cat tired. Literally all I had to do was move move my arm. Keep the mouse away from you, you don't want a cat in full traction mode running over you


My house has 2 flights of stairs. When I want to tire my cat out, I grab one of those rope-on-a-stick things, and run up and down the stairs until she is tired out. This does take some energy to do, but reliably works.

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    i think running up and down stairs might be a little hard for the op to do judging by how the question is formulated. Feb 28, 2019 at 17:09

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