Not every cat enjoys spending its days outside the home. Hunting, running, and exploring is okay for some but it’s not for everyone. Some cats just don’t like being left to wander alone in the great unknown. Others may live in areas where it’s not safe to let them loose. Such as a few stories above the ground, or too close to a busy road. It’s better to keep a cat safe than run the risk. Indoor cats have a different set of needs and requirements to their outdoor cousins. Entertainment is a bigger issue. Most owners will have to leave the house for portions of the day. It’s an unfortunate necessity of owning a pet. This can often leave you worried about what your indoor cat is up to and how they’re coping with being alone.
Indoor cats can end up living more sedimentary lifestyles than their outdoor counterparts. This makes entertainment and exercises a must for indoor cats. It’s something that you have to spend some time addressing if you want a healthy happy cat. If you have other pets, the companionship can ease the problem. However, there are also many ways to ensure that your cat is getting enough stimulation even with their limited area to enjoy.
A Room with a View
Even indoor cats can enjoy some elements of the big world outside. Despite being housebound during the day, most cats still enjoy watching the world go by even if they don’t want to get out there. When you’re out of the house for an extended period of time, your cat should have a clear route up to a window. This will provide them with the stimulation of seeing the outside world, without endangering them. It’s also one of the most cost-effective activities for indoor cats!
When it comes to a view, cats are a little like people. The more they can see out of the window, the better. If possible, you should try and give your cat a route to the biggest window that faces the most active area around your home. They’ll have more to look at. The windowsill should be clear of anything that could get knocked or broken, giving your cat relatively free rein to look outside for the day. If the window is too high for a cat to reach, you could position a shelf partway up to make climbing easier. If you live somewhere with a balcony, this would be another option. However, the balcony would need to be cat-proofed to make sure it’s safe for use.
This won’t suit every cat’s needs, but it’s one of the easier options so it’s worth trying. It might be a sad thought to imagine your cat staring out of the window at a world it can’t reach, but most enjoy this. If a cat cannot go outside, watching provides plenty of stimulation and entertainment.
A Forrest of Cat Trees
Cat specific furniture gives many options for relaxation for cats. Although, if you’re worried about your indoor cat’s entertainment then a piece of furniture for play rather than rest is a better choice. Your cat can sleep with you or on some furniture, what you really need from a good cat tree is something they can play with.
An ideal Cat Tree should provide scratching posts for them along with other activities to keep them both entertained and active. However, you should investigate what sort of play your cat likes before committing to a large cat tree. Test a few things out first. Whether your cat enjoys dangling toys, tunnels, or climbing, you can find a cat tree suited to their needs. If these options are spread out over a few platforms, it should give your indoor cat plenty of scope for exercise as well as play.
Many of these trees will come as self-assembly Ikea style furniture. Don’t let the thought of more assembly put you off, this is a positive. It’s worth checking during the initial install how interchangeable each component is. If you notice that your cat uses certain pieces of the cat tree in certain ways, you can reconfigure the tree. Moving around the parts can give the same old cat tree a breath of fresh air. You can do this to suit your cat’s use. Such as, if a cat tree has a toy attached to the top that you notice your cat is quite fond of then you can reconfigure the tree to utilise this. Move platforms so your cat has to first go through some tubes or up more platforms to actually reach the toy.
Toys and Gadgets For The Indoor Cat
Some more traditional options are still a lot of fun. Catnip stuffed toys are a great way for a cat to kick and roll with the toy and adding a feather to it wakes up your cat’s natural instincts.
Laser pointers will remain a constant in the world of cat entertainment. It’s been debated how healthy they are, but they can be fun play when done right. This is a good tool for when you’re at home and want to help your indoor cat burn off some energy. It’s not the best option for when you’re out of the house though. Other toys have more potential for this sort of situation, like robots.
Maybe not large intelligent robots, but small automatic toys are definitely an option for keeping your indoor cat happy. These toys are similar to wind-up-toys, or those with pull strings but, however, they work without any interaction. When you’re leaving for the day you can set one of these toys off and know that your cat will have plenty of entertainment chasing it around the house.
These can run up quite a battery bill if your cat enjoys them. It’s sensible to not have them running every day but as an occasional activity. If your cat is particularly fond of this type of toy, you can use rechargeable batteries to make it a little more cost effective. You should also be wary of how much use your cat can get out of each. The cuter ones will often delight you more than your cat, or break relatively quickly. You should look for quality and durability over novelty.
While electronic toys can give an indoor cat an excuse to exercise during the day, they are quite prone to breaking. More interactive puzzle-like toys can give your cat as much fun without having to be replaced as often. There are many different types of these toys, but a few stand out above the rest.
A treat ball can be a convenient way to motivate your cat to do some exercise while you’re away. These balls look pretty similar to hamster balls. In fact, you probably get the same reaction from your cat as a ball filled with an actual hamster. You place a treat inside and re-seal the ball, your cat then has to bat the ball around to get the treat loose and enjoy it.
Kong toys are an old standard for keeping a pet occupied while you’re not around, indoor cats are no exception. These plastic cases are filled with cat treats which your cat has to work at getting loose. They will have to paw and knock the Kong around for a while before getting their reward. The treats give your cat the motivation to exercise. While Kongs are quite sturdy, some cats will make quick work of them.
Sometimes a particularly clever cat will crack the system. They will memorise exactly how to get their treats quickly. If you notice that your cat is getting through the Kong too quickly, you can turn the difficulty up. Cut a small piece of cardboard and fold it inside of the Kong. This partially blocks the treat hole. Doing this makes it a lot harder to get the treats out and will thwart your cat’s previous strategy. Steps like these can help you get more longevity out of a toy, keeping your cat happy and stimulated for longer.
Skyping Your Cat
If you really can’t get through your working day without checking in on your cat, there is a huge variety of setups available for video calls. Some of these are quite elaborate, enabling you to FaceTime your cat to tell them it’s meal time. There are cost-effective workarounds if you’re not quite sure if this is the best solution for your indoor cat.
An old phone could be set up in view of your cat, special apps let you use this as a video camera to check up on your cat. This is a good way to test out this technology before you decide to purchase one of the more expensive systems. These options won’t be for everyone. However, if you’re concerned about what your cat is up to when you’re out of the house then this could set your mind at ease.
Now you know how to keep your kitty entertained
There are plenty of ways to keep your cat entertained while you can’t be with them. With a little ingenuity and thought, your indoor cat can be happy, entertained, and stimulated all by itself. It’s also important not to beat yourself up about this. It’s easy to blame yourself and assume that you’re not taking proper care of your cat. However, most experts agree that house cats aren’t as bored as their owners think. With a little work put in, your indoor cat can have a great day while you’re not home.