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How to entertain indoor cats and keep them stimulated

how to entertain indoor cats
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Knowing how to entertain indoor cats is an essential consideration for pet owners looking to keep their moggie inside.

Although cats are well-known for their love of sleeping, they're also naturally inquisitive, ready to explore their surroundings and exhibit their wild traits. 

Knowing how to entertain indoor cats isn't about just starving off boredom; it's about offering them a stimulating environment for both mind and body in which to thrive.

Cats need places to hide, rest, and play, and plenty of space to roam around is essential for knowing how to entertain indoor cats when they likely have more access to the treats cupboard than the outdoors world. 

It's also best to keep your cat stimulated if you want to avoid certain cat behavior problems, such as scratching furniture or peeing in places they shouldn't be!

Don't despair if you live in a small apartment, however, as we'll be providing plenty of ways to enhance your environment and enrich your kitty's life.

How to entertain indoor cats through their environment

how to entertain indoor cats

Adding kitty-safe accessories is a great to way to jazz up the environment.   (Image credit: Getty Images)

Knowing how to entertain indoor cats starts with creating a stimulating environment, some of which will make the most of your existing space, while others may require a bit more creativity.

A few ideas for turning your home into a kitty enrichment haven include: 

• Looking to provide spaces for hiding. This can be as simple as providing a cat tower and enclosed cat bed that features a cat-cave design.

• Providing a quality cat scratching post is a must-have if you're looking to save your furniture (and your sanity!) 

• Consider creating a 'catio' to provide a safe place for your indoor kitty to explore the outdoors safely. As the name suggests, this is a custom cat enclosure built outdoors. Pet owners often use their backyard for this, but a balcony can work too. 

• Make the most of your windows by setting up a cat hammock right next to it. You could even place your cat tower in a way that provides easy access to the windowsill – perfect for a spot of people-watching and sunbathing. 

• Set up a secure pet tent on your balcony or backyard. This may sound like a strange camping accessory, but opting for a transparent mosquito net-like design ensures that it's both secure and breathable.

• Setting up a cat climbing wall is an excellent use of space. If you've got unused space on your walls, adding a few cat-climbing platforms is perfect for adventure cats who love to be up high. 

• Turn any extra spaces in your home into a stylish cat bedroom. Whether it's under the stairs or in the cupboard, you can even fit a custom pet door to allow easy entry then fill it with plenty of toys and their favorite cat bed. 

• Opt for a cat-proof fence to turn your backyard into a kitty-safe lounge spot. 

• Stairs provide endless hours of fun, particularly if you have two cats who love to chase each other, but if you don't have any in your house, you can always provide some pet stairs leading up to spots they find hard to reach. 

Toys to keep your indoor feline entertained

how to entertain indoor cats

How to entertain indoor cats: Providing a wide variety of cat toys will ensure your feline is never bored.  (Image credit: Getty)

If your cat stays indoors, play is an essential part of their day, so most vets recommend a minimum of 15-30 minutes of play per day. This is for exercise and bonding, so it’s very important for keeping your kitty in tip-top shape, as well as providing mental stimulation. 

Try to choose toys that will give your cat a work-out and require personal input from you, so you’re more involved in your cat’s play. These don't need to be expensive; some of the best cat toys out there are also the most classic. Think: feather cat rod and catnip mouse. 

Look to rotate them so your feline is never bored, and don't be afraid to make a few DIY cat toys of your own. Even the most fussy of felines loves a cardboard box, while any spare fabric you have around the home can create a surprisingly fun toy for your feline. 

Even bringing in items from the outdoors or around the house is sure to pique their curiosity. Paper carrier bags are a great example of this, while wrapping paper is feline heaven.  

When buying cat toys, we fully suggest you persist several times after buying them. Some don’t have instant appeal, and many cats are nervous about changes to their environment, so something like a new scratching post may intimidate them to start with. We’ve known cats ignore toys, trees, and beds for months before suddenly loving them. 

How do I keep my cat entertained home alone?

how to entertain indoor cats

(Image credit: Future)

If you're concerned about how to entertain indoor cats when you're out of the home, you're not alone. Many pet owners feel guilty about leaving their beloved friend behind. 

The good news, however, is there's a few ways to keep indoors cat company when you're out of the house:

• Keeping a radio on is a great way to keep your cat company, especially if you're out of the home most of the day. 

•  Think about getting a second feline. Just remember this decision might not always work out for the best so should be carefully considered. Reading our vet's guide on how to introduce a new kitten to cat is a great place to start.

• Consider an automated cat toy. Some toys, like the Skymee Owl Robot, are like mechanical pet sitters: they play and feed your feline with treats when you're away. 

• If you're particularly time-starved, you could also consider a robotic play toy for cats, but since playing with your feline also creates a bond, we'd recommend only using this option when you need it, like when your work meeting requires a distraction from pesky kitty interruption. 

• Setting up a search-and-reward activity, such as hiding part of his regular dry diet around the house, will also provide hours of kitty fun and stimulate a cat's natural hunting instincts.

Activities for indoor cats

how to entertain indoor cats

How to entertain indoor cats: From fishing to bird-watching, these indoor activities will keep them amused for hours.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're considering how to entertain indoor cats in a way that goes beyond simply providing toys and treats, indoor activities provide a great way for both owner and feline alike to enjoy their time together. 

Here are a few suggestions that are so much fun and don't cost the earth: 

1. Provide cardboard boxes

Moggies famously love a good cardboard box. With a playhouse this attractive, you'll never need to throw one away ever again!

It's particularly a good idea to collect a few of different sizes. Our feline friends just love the challenge of squeezing themselves into the smallest spaces possible, plus you can also set up your own DIY cardboard box fort by taping them together if you have plenty to hand.  

2. Set up a cat square

Just as fun for owner as it for feline, behold the mystery of the cat square. This fun activity involves using tape to outline a box shape or two on your floor. Then, wait to see if your kitty will sit in it. 

You'll likely find even in the tiniest of space, your cat will be up to the task, even if it takes them a little while to give it a go.

Much like the challenge of squeezing themselves into tiny, real boxes, a cat square works because it enhances a few of your feline's natural behaviors. Cats love to hide and feel secure in small spaces.

3. Set up a window bird feeder

There's nothing a cat likes more than chasing birds but, if they live indoors, providing them with some stimulating bird activity could pose a challenge. 

Enter: the window bird feeder, which also happens to entertain you and any kids in the household too. It's effectively a bird house that sticks to your window's exterior, entertaining the residents inside.

We recommend pairing with one of our top picks for best cat hammock that sits on the inside of the window, so your feline has somewhere comfortable in which to stretch out and get a good view. 

Wild Birds of Joy Bird House Window Bird Feeder $21.95
With a tray that locks in place and holds up to 3 cups of seed, watch cardinals, blue jays, finches, juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, sparrows and more enjoy themselves through this completely see through, transparent feeder.View Deal

4. Enjoy a spot of indoor fishing

How do you entertain indoor cats that love to fish? Set them up with their very own fish pond, of course!

Before you feel dread at the thought of setting up an ambitious indoors water feature, be rest assured that wonders of technology are here to help.

First off, you can download apps for cats, including ones specially devised for fishing. Watch your cat paw at the screen and try catch their own virtual fish.

If you'd prefer something more tangible, however, there are also some fish-related toys and games, including their very own pond game complete with robotic fish. 

Indoor Cat Interactive Swimming Fish Toy $15.99
This set of cat toys comes with 4 uniquely colored swimming robot fish toys that your cat is sure to enjoy playing with and catching. The interactive cat robot fish toys are a great way to help get your cat excited for playtime by stimulating their natural hunter instincts. View Deal

5.  Movies for cats

If you're considering how to entertain indoor cats with a spot of distraction, then explore the world of videos for cats.

This cat movie-watching trend involves popping on a film for your feline, and can be found on Amazon Prime or, in some cases, YouTube.  It typically involves bird-watching, so you can be sure your moggie will be fixated on the screen and not attacking your plants.