Cats are usually fairly good at amusing themselves, and generally their short bursts of activity and play are interspersed with a significant amount of time spent sleeping! Unlike dogs, cats do not require a huge amount of additional stimulation and entertainment to be provided by their owners, and are usually fine to be left alone during the day when you go out to work.
Nevertheless, it is important to provide various forms of entertainment for your cat, and some toys and stimulus to keep them amused. This is particularly important for cats that live an indoor-only lifestyle, and are not able to explore the great outdoors for any one of a number of reasons. Added to this, even cats that usually go outdoors may choose or need to be kept inside on some occasions, such as if you are moving home, they are receiving veterinary treatment, or the weather outside is simply too poor for them to want to go out!
Providing sources of entertainment and interest for your cat can even help to lessen hunting behaviour and destructive activities such as scratching the furniture, as your cat will be able to find an alternative outlet for their inquisitive natures and propensity to get into trouble!
Read on for our eleven suggestions for keeping your cat entertained.
Most of us are familiar with the entertainment value of using a torch or a laser pointer to make a spot on the wall that our cats then try to catch; this is a great way to both get them moving and engage their minds!
Setting up a cat bed or window seat somewhere for your cat can keep them occupied (in between naps)! for hours, watching the world go by. It is a good idea to pick a window that overlooks areas of busy activity outside, particularly if you have birdfeeders within sight of the window!
Cats watching fish that are (safely and securely housed)! in a tank can in their turn, be amusing to watch, and cats will spend many happy hours gazing into the bowl and imagining what the fishy contents might taste like! Ensure, however, that your cat cannot gain access to the tank, nor knock it over or potentially do anything to destabilise it
A wide variety of ‘cat climbing frames’ are available on the market, constructed of a range of sisal-covered tubes, platforms and hidey-holes. Most cats heartily enjoy playing on these, particularly if they also have snug, soft stages or boxes to sleep within, or hanging toys to play with!
Remote control operated toys for both cats and kids can be bought relatively cheaply, although they may not last very long under the attentions of a vigorously playing cat! Watching your cat zoom around in pursuit of a remote control car, pounce and savage it can be almost as entertaining for the person operating the toy as it is for the cat!
Mobiles (the hanging kind, not the phone kind)! , wind catchers and reflective sun catchers can all entertain your cat, particularly if they create an interesting pattern of shadow and light. Ensure that they are kept out of reach of your cat in order to keep them in good condition!
While a small percentage of the cat population has no interest in catnip at all, the vast majority of cats are extremely keen on this potent natural herb! Catnip can be grown either in the garden or in the home in pots (although it may not grow very well if your cat is allowed to supervise its development)! Or bought in a wide variety of pre-packaged forms, such as in toys, in powder or dried format, and even as catnip teabags, which can be brewed and cooled and offered to your cat to drink. Catnip bubbles can also be highly amusing, blown through a wand for your cat to try and catch. Assuming that your cat has the taste for catnip, the possibilities are endless!
The sheer range of different types of cat toys on the market provide plenty of variety to keep your cat entertained, and interactive and puzzle toys will usually hold their attention for much longer than a simple stuffed mouse. Balls that run on tracks, plastic toys with slots that dispense treats if your cat manipulates them correctly, and anything that provides feedback or a range of different activates are all great picks.
Most of us are familiar with this scenario: we buy our cats something impressive and possibly expensive, only to see them totally ignore it and become fixated on the bag or cardboard box that packaged it instead! Cats seem to be able to glean hours of entertainment from cardboard boxes and rustling paper bags, and a couple of these left lying about the house will often keep your cat busy for a significant period of time.
Many cats can easily be enticed into a hunting game with a feather, a piece of string or a flexible wand. Ensure that anything your use cannot be ingested by your cat, and remember that fibres that shed (such as wool) are not suitable. Remove anything string-like from your cat’s reach after playing, just to be on the safe side.
Cats love to scratch, and often their favoured outlet for this activity is the legs of your furniture! Accommodate for your cat’s need to scratch and hopefully, keep furniture scratching at bay by providing scratching posts or other rough surfaces such as door mats or corrugated cardboard that your cat can use instead. If your cat adamantly rejects the material or type of scratching post that you supply, you may need to try something else that will be more to their tastes!