Five Simple Ways to Keep a Cat Entertained

Author: Shelby Dennis | Co-Author: Donna Hellmann | April 05, 2023 | Updated June 13, 2023
cat bonding, cat entertainment, cat toys, indoor cats
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Bored cat yawning
Photo by Anna Tóth on Pexels

Watching your cat take their third nap of the day might make you wonder how your feline friend could be so lazy. But have you considered that they aren’t loafing around—maybe your cat is just bored?

You see, cats, especially those kept indoors, need stimulation and fulfillment just like us humans. Without enough, your cat may develop health and behavioral issues like obesity, refusing to use their litter box, and overgrooming.

Luckily, avoiding these serious problems doesn’t require a huge investment of time or money.

Keep reading to discover five simple ways to keep a cat entertained, plus get recommendations for the best science-backed, cat-approved toys and trinkets.

How Do I Keep My Cat Entertained?

Keeping your cat entertained can be quite an event when you have the time. Even older cats often have the energy to jump and chase wand-style toys for up to an hour.

But when you don’t have an hour or you need to leave the house soon, your kitty can still have fun and feel engaged. Here are five simple ways to keep your cat entertained:

1. Curate an Area for Your Kitty to Play on Their Own

Cats are predators, and, as such, they’re accustomed to hiding and ambushing prey. That’s why it’s a smart idea to make DIY cat toys by leaving out handle-less paper bags and cardboard boxes.

As a cat owner, you probably have boxes and bags in your home regularly from cat food, cat litter, and everything else your pet needs. Try using these to create a personal pussycat theme park!

Feel free to get creative and construct a custom set-up. You shouldn’t need much more than scissors or a boxcutter, and maybe some packing tape. You can also keep things simple by arranging boxes and bags near each other.

If you’ve already recycled all your cardboard, consider draping a small blanket over a table so Fluffy has a fort all to themselves.

For a smaller space, place an empty laundry basket where your cat can find it and drop in a few cat toys, including cat chew toys if you have any. Drape a blanket or towel over most of the top to help fulfill your kitty’s hiding instincts.

2. Let Them Experience the Thrill of the Chase

As you’ve likely already discovered, cats typically enjoy a great light chase. You can easily catch sunlight or lamplight with an old CD, pocket mirror, or even your smartphone’s screen and bounce it off the floor or lower half of your walls. Most kitties will gladly chase and attempt to capture these lights.

Want something a bit more high-tech? Laser pointers make great cat toys for this exact reason!

However, while the chase is sure to get cats off the sofa, they’ll also get frustrated quickly since it’s impossible to catch the light. Always conclude these games with a solid toy or treat that your feline friend can stalk and pounce on.

3. Explore Kitty Tech Options

There are apps for everything, so why wouldn’t there be a few for feline entertainment? Cat-inspired apps are designed to keep a pussycat’s paws and brain engaged!

While apps don’t provide as much exercise as regular play, “catching” fish, mice, birds and insects keeps your cat busy and gives them an outlet for their proverbial curiosity. There are other unique options too, like an app that lets kitties “paint” pictures with paw swipes while chasing a digital mouse.

4. Bond with a Brushing

Kitties are fantastic at grooming and often groom each other as a sign of affection. So, by brushing your cat, you’re also showing your love. Cats rarely turn down the gesture because they appreciate it as a bonding experience and because it feels like a relaxing massage.

5. Switch Up Your Cat Toys

If a kitty has access to all their toys all the time, they’ll quickly grow tired of everything. A more effective way to pique their interest is to rotate toys weekly, so there’s always some new.

This doesn’t require you to have a large variety of cat chew toys, mice filled with catnip, or that new flippity fish cat toy you see in ads everywhere these days. Our feline friends aren’t fussy in this regard.

For example, take an old t-shirt, cut it into even strips, and tie them together for a toy that offers hours of fun. Crumpled paper makes wonderful balls, empty toilet paper rolls can be chased—there are endless possibilities.

What Toys Do Cats Like?

Every cat has their own favorites, but generally, cats like toys that get them physically active, make their lives more comfortable, or have catnip.

For active toys, experiment with wand or fishing pole-style options, plastic balls that roll easily, or battery-powered toys that move. For comfort toys, small stuffed animals and cardboard boxes are great choices.

And when it comes to catnip, you can opt for toys that have catnip pockets built in, or just sprinkle some on your kitty’s favorite playthings. 

Best Toys for Indoor Cats

Here are the best toys our indoor cats have loved over the years:

  • Cat trees. Indoor cats love climbing and hiding in these, whether you choose a shorter tree or floor-to-ceiling option. Added bonus: Many cats will scratch these instead of your furniture!
  • The flopping fish cat toy. Also called the “cat fish toy” or “floppy fish cat toy,” these are soft stuffed animals with batteries inside. As your cat bats it around, the tail flops back and forth like a real fish would. It’s perfect for satisfying your cat’s hunting instincts.
  • DIY cat toys. Cardboard boxes and empty toilet paper rolls are great low-cost options. You can also tie fabric scraps, a shoelace, or feathers to a wooden dowel for an irresistible fishing pole toy. Even crumpled up paper balls can provide hours of fun!
  • Cat chew toys. Cats love to gnaw—it’s one of their predatory instincts. These toys can also help clean your kitty’s teeth. Our cats love these Nip Nibblers because they’re also filled with catnip!
  • Catnip toys. Not all cats respond to catnip, so start with just one or two catnip toys to test out. The Yeowww! Banana Cat Toy is a favorite with kitties across the country. It’s also made with all-natural, vegetable based dyes and organic catnip to protect your pet’s health.

So, Can Cats Entertain Themselves?

Yes, cats can entertain themselves so long as you provide them with constructive activities and cat toys. It’s crucial to give your kitty things that’ll stimulate their brain and keep them engaged.

Otherwise, they’re at risk of developing behavioral and health issues—and no one wants that!

To keep your fur baby entertained, introducing and rotating through a variety of toys should be a top priority. If you implement the tips and tricks you learned today, your cat is more likely to be happy and healthy for years to come.

About the Author

Bored cat yawning

Shelby Dennis

Shelby Dennis is a freelance writer who specializes in lifestyle topics like pets, gardening, and health/beauty. All her life, Shelby has shared a home with at least one pet at any given time. Some of her earliest memories include playing with cats and dogs! She’s also adopted mice, guinea pigs, parakeets, and fish over her adult years. Growin[...] Author Details

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