Last Updated on: May 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys
While cats can sleep between 12–16 hours a day, they still require plenty of exercise and entertainment to stay happy and prevent boredom. Bored cats and cats that don’t get enough exercise eventually start to experience negative health issues, including stress, weight gain, and depression.
Therefore, it’s important for indoor cats to have multiple opportunities a day to get some exercise and entertainment. Different cats will have different preferences on what they find fun and engaging. Here are some ways you can make your home and your cat’s daily routine more entertaining and exciting.
Our 10 Favorite Ways to Entertain Your Indoor Cat:
1. Rotate Their Toys
While it’s nice to have your cat play with new toys, buying new cat toys can get pretty expensive. Fortunately, you can just buy several toys and rotate them so that the fun lasts longer. Instead of laying out all the cat toys, just have one or two out for your cat to play with and store the rest away. After playing with the same toys for a couple of days, you can replace them with other toys. This rotation will make the toys feel like new, and your cat is more likely to enjoy playing with them for longer.
You can also sprinkle catnip or silvervine on the toys to encourage your cat to play with them. It’s helpful to reserve these treats for certain parts of the day so that your cat has something extra special to look forward to when playing with their toys.
2. Hide Food Around the House
Cats are obligate carnivores and hunters, so a part of their natural instinct is to hide, stalk, and pounce on their prey. They have very sensitive noses and strong observation skills, so providing opportunities that engage their senses and hunting skills can prevent boredom. You can do this by hiding treats or cat food around the house.
Distributing food around the house will encourage cats to smell out and “hunt” for their food. You can also treat dispensing toys and hide some dry cat food in them. These sorts of activities provide much more stimulation and excitement for cats rather than feeding them their food in stationary food bowls.
3. Add a Window Perch
If your cat doesn’t have a stable area where they can do some window watching, they’ll most likely appreciate having a window perch installed. You can find several different kinds of window perches at varying price points, so it’s very doable to find one that fits within your budget.
Make sure to install the window perch on a window that has some action outside. Examples of good views would include the backyard, nearby trees, or sidewalks with a decent level of foot traffic. Your cat’s curiosity will be satiated as they watch all the action going on outside while staying safely indoors.
4. Turn on Cat TV Shows
You can also bring the outdoors inside by turning on a cat TV show. There are all kinds of video clips specifically made for cats that you can find on YouTube. These types of videos will feature different kinds of things that will pique your cat’s curiosity.
For example, you’ll find many videos with clips and graphics of squiggly worms, mice, and bugs scuttling across the screen. These videos may also contain nature noises like bird whistling. Just be watchful of your cat when you turn on these programs because they may be tempted to pounce on your TV screen.
5. Save Cardboard Boxes
Most cats enjoy dim and cozy spaces, which is why you’ll find many cats having fun with cardboard boxes. So, the next time you receive a shipment in the mail or finish a box of soda cans, save the boxes and use them as toys for your cat. You can even put bedding or pillows inside the boxes to make them warm and comfortable.
If you have multiple boxes, try using scissors to cut entrance holes and duct tape to attach them together. It’s a great low-cost way to build an entertaining cat condo or tunnel for your cat to play inside.
6. Create More Vertical Spaces
Most cat breeds like to climb and observe their surroundings from higher vantage points. If you have a smaller living space, you can make it more cat friendly by adding more vertical spaces. Vertical spaces can be created by installing shelves, converting bookcases to cat platforms, or adding a cat tree to your home.
Your cat will have fun climbing and jumping from platform to platform, which would also be a great form of exercise for them. Once your cat gets used to using its new vertical spaces, you can also add cat boxes and securely attach them to the platform. Your cat will love having new hiding spaces and napping spots that are above the ground.
7. Install a Birdfeeder
Installing a bird feeder near a window can also provide entertainment for your cat. When installing a bird feeder, try to keep it several feet away from the window. This will feel less threatening for birds and encourage them to approach the birdfeeder. Cats will also enjoy the view better. While cats have excellent vision, they can’t see as well up close and have trouble seeing things that are within a foot away from them. They’ll have much more appreciation for a bird feeder that is installed at a distance so that they have a clear view of all the action.
8. Set Up an Outdoor Cat Run
If you have a backyard, it might be helpful to set up an outdoor cat run. Outdoor cat runs are completely enclosed structures that also often provide platforms for cats to climb on. They’re a safe alternative to having your cat roaming outdoors and risking them running away.
When using an outdoor cat run, make sure to always supervise your cats. Their curiosity may put them in precarious situations, or they might attract other larger animals to your backyard. If your cat shows any sign of distress, remove them from the cat run and bring them back indoors calmly and immediately.
9. Teach Your Cat to Walk on a Leash
If you have a particularly brave, social, and active cat, they may be able to learn to walk on a leash. When training a cat to walk on a leash, it’s important to find a harness that fits both comfortably and securely. You’ll have to start with getting your cat used to wearing a harness before attaching the leash. Use plenty of treats to reward your cat whenever they come near the harness or are wearing it. Eventually, you’ll be able to attach a leash and walk your cat outdoors.
Start by walking your cat in an area that’s close to your home. You can start to expand your range as your cat becomes more comfortable. Just keep in mind that walking a cat is very different from walking a dog. Your cat is not likely to walk by your side. So, going on walks with your cat will look more like having your cat on a leash and allowing them to explore their surroundings.
10. Introduce Your Cat to New Friends
Some cats have more social personalities and don’t mind meeting new people or living with another cat. If you notice that your cat is feeling bored, you may want to consider bringing home a new playmate. However, it’s important to ensure that your cat has a social personality and likes being around other cats. Bringing home a new cat to live with an introverted cat can end up causing more distress and issues within the home.
Cats can sometimes be more comfortable around people than other cats. If this is the case, invite friends over so that your cat can receive more attention. It may also be helpful to ask friends to watch your cat or hire a cat sitter if you plan to be away from home for long hours so that your cat isn’t alone and feeling anxious or bored.
There are plenty of things that you can do to bring more entertainment for your cat into your home. Making adjustments, like installing a window perch or hiding treats around the house, can make a world of difference for your cat.
So, if you notice that your cat is feeling bored or has pent-up energy, try making some adjustments to your home or their daily routine to incorporate more stimulating activities. Your cat will be sure to appreciate the new enrichment activities, and these new additions will only help create and maintain a happy and peaceful home for you and your cat.
Featured Image Credit: Boyloso, Shutterstock
About the author
Cat mom to Ivy – a feisty little rescue kitten that is her one and only child. For now! Throughout her life, she has been introduced to the special love that can be found in the bond with a cat. Having owned multiple felines, she is more than certain that their love is unmatched, unconditional and unlike any other. With a passion to educate the public about everything, there is to know about felines, their behavior, and their unique personalities, Crystal is devoted to making sure that all cats and their owners know the importance of conscious living – and loving!