Training Your Human to Play with Your Cat

a Sphynx cat (not Oscar). photo:

In season 3, episode 3 of My Cat From Hell, Jackson helped Travis and Diane – and Oscar their Sphynx cat – …to just get along.

Travis had some ideas about cats that weren’t helping their situation.

To explain, here’s Jackson:

What I wound up doing with Travis was, he had grown up on a farm and he didn’t know anything but running around watching cats outside.

He didn’t have an indoor cat in his life.  So now, not only does he have an indoor cat but it’s a Sphynx.  So he has to bathe the cat once a week, and there’s just a lot of grooming that goes on with a Sphynx.

But in terms of getting Oscar’s energy out of him, I gave him a Cat Catcher to use with Oscar, because having a mouse toy would approximate what he had seen on the farm, which was: cats chasing mice.

And it actually worked perfectly.  That Cat Catcher became Oscar’s favorite toy, because Travis knew how to play with that.

With proper play therapy works wonders.  You can find the Cat Catcher and a whole bunch of other tools that Jackson uses and recommends for his clients, at his online store,





We regret that Jackson does not answer questions posted in the comments. This is due to his demanding schedule and the high volume of requests he receives. But most importantly, since he has not met your cat, it would be contrary to his approach for him to give specific personalized advice for your specific situation. That being said, general questions and issues are addressed throughout this blog, in his book CAT DADDY and of course, the show My Cat From Hell.

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10 Responses to Training Your Human to Play with Your Cat

  1. Sparkle July 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    That is BRILLIANT – you picked a cat toy that the HUMAN understood to make it easier for him to play with Oscar! You rule, Jackson!

  2. dobson July 16, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    The idea behind this is exactly what we did in order to tire out and direct that cat energy into the toy and not a human’s feet. Of course now that it’s summer, that energy is being expelled outdoors.

  3. April-Marie July 28, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    My name is April-Marie I have a beautiful friendly very loving cat. He has always been very social. Since I moved in with my boyfriend a year and a half ago he has became very anti-social whenever my boyfriend is home, as soon as he leaves he comes out of hiding and is his same old lovable self. My boyfriend likes to scare him, he thinks he is just “playing” with him but I feel this is the cause of him becoming anti-social and going into hiding whenever he is home. My boyfriend can’t understand why my cat doesn’t like him and I’ve tried to explain to him that my cat doesn’t trust him now because he is expecting my boyfriend to scare him. I’m really hoping that out of all the cat lovers on this site someone might have some advice for me since now even when my boyfriend tries to love on him my cat just wants to get away and hide. I’m desperate for a solution that doesn’t involve constantly fighting with with my boyfriend to stick up for my cat. PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME WITH SOME GOOD ADVICE!!!!!!!!

    • Gimpy August 7, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      I was just watching Jackson’s video on getting your cat to not be afraid of strangers. He suggested having the person coming over drop treats near where the cat is hiding and then just leave the kitty alone and let the cat come out on its own time to explore. Since your boyfriend was purposely scaring him, make sure he doesn’t do that ever again and maybe try the treat thing.

      Oh. And I read that your boyfriend lives there and isn’t a “stranger”, but maybe try treating him like one when it comes to this situation since the kitty is scared of him.

      • April-Marie August 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm #


        Thank you so so much for your advice I will try it out for sure and let you know how it works. Once again THANK YOU!

      • April-Marie August 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

        Dear Gimpy,

        I wanted to let you know your advice is really working. I had a long talk with my boyfriend…. We have been doing what you recommended. Mark’s been dropping treats by him and ignoring him completely. Since we have started doing this Neo my cat has been coming in the room and laying down all relaxed while my boyfriend is in the room, normally he would run and hide the minute Mark got home. I was shocked Neo even went up to Mark last night while we were sitting on the couch and was rubbing his head on Mark’s hand for “loving” and “scratchies”……..I’t has made such a difference in the stress level for me at home. I really wanted to just say……Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your help Gimpy!!!!!!!!!

        • Gimpy August 15, 2012 at 9:08 am #

          That’s awesome! I’m so happy that it’s working out for you!

  4. Jane September 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    My cat Tiffany is 13 yrs old. Had some medical problems in the past but she does not like to play too much. How can I get her to engage in play time?

  5. Charlotte September 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    I am trying to tire out my cat. She is incredibly sweet, but she bites my ankles when she is under/over stimulated. I watched Jackson’s episode about Stella, but I just cannot get Peaches to tire out. When we play, she goes nuts, then rests, then wants more, then rests, etc. This can go on for hours. How do I get her so engaged that she settles and won’t bite my ankles?

  6. Jessica February 10, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    My cat has never been very playful. She’s always been so skittish about being around people that I think it may have stunted her playful side. She will play on her own but hardly ever interacts with me. But I worry that the lack of play makes her feel bored and get cabin fever since she’s mostly an indoor cat (while the weather is too bad for her to go outside and explore). She isn’t destructive though she just doesn’t seem to trust humans, even after 13 years, she has a hard time trusting me in certain situations. Has Jackson ever encountered this or offered any tips to remedy a more nervous cat?

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