Top 19 ways to keep your cat entertained


You’re looking for new ways to entertain your cat. He’s bored and needs more stimulation. As he is the master of the house, you have your instructions and you now need to get on with it. So, without further ado, here are the best ways to keep your cat entertained!

1) Indoor Climbing Tree

I love these. If I had a huge house I would dedicate a whole room to cat climbing towers. Not only would they be able to climb and jump all over them but they would be able to keep their claws in tip-top condition with the scratching poles.

If your kittens have been climbing up your nice new curtains then this is what you need! What I like is you can get several of them over time and slowly build them up into some kind of Cat-City.

If I had a stack load of cash I would seriously do this, can you imagine how cool that would be? If you’re like me though you will have to make do with one or two for the time being.

Some of these are multi-tiered so if you have more than one cat you could have them all playing on it at the same time, all in different parts.

2) Cardboard Box

ways to keep your cat entertained

I’m not just making these things up by the way. Put a box down with an opening in the top in the same room as your cat and within seconds it will be in it.

I think it’s something to do with them feeling protected by having walls all around them. This isn’t exactly a play activity though.

Make some little windows around the side (kids will love helping) which will enable you to poke little bits of string through and pull them slowly out. Don’t poke your fingers through if you want to keep them.

Make a door (cat size) with a couple of bits of string to create a draw-bridge. Throw a couple of its little toys in with catnip. Another way to get your kids involved is to really make it look like a house by painting it!

3) Bring in stuff that you find

When you’re outside having a walk or out shopping, look around for things that they might like to play with. A great example is bird feathers. They’ll smell of something different and if you poke one through one of the windows in the cardboard box they’ll go crazy.

Other natural things like feathers, twigs, leaves will work. Other family members may not be as happy about this as your cat.

4) Bird-Viewing Gallery

ways to keep your cat entertained

Some people want to still feed the birds even though they have cats, which can be risky. Make sure any outside hanging bird feeders can’t be climbed by your cats.

If there is somewhere inside where your cats can sit and look out at birds, they’ll love it. During the day, if you’re not around they can sit by the window, glaring out, wishing they were allowed to get just one bird a day.

That would be fair, right? Of course, though this isn’t always possible, you’d need a nice ledge where your cat could perch on, by a window. The window would need to overlook the garden where you have your bird feeder.

5) Laser Pointer

As long as you’re careful with these they are such good fun. Make sure you never point them at their faces, the bright light will damage their eyes.  Your kids will also love this but also make sure they’re safe when using them. Run the laser across the floor and your cat will chase it for ages.

Apparently, as the cats never actually ‘get it’, can lead to some frustration so make sure that at the end of the game they can actually catch something so in their head they’ve accomplished something.

What I’ve noticed when playing with ours is that the key is to move it slowly across the ceiling and then down the walls, whilst they’re watching. Then, move it slowly towards them.

If they pounce, quickly move it away from them, always just in front so they get a bit of exercise running around. Also, without them knowing, use it to put a spot on another family member’s chest then tell them it’s probably a sniper and they should ‘get to the ground’.

6) Fish Tank

ways to keep your cat entertained

As long as they can’t get inside it or sit too close to it (you don’t want to stress your fish out) then this is fine. Your cats will love watching the little fishies swim about. Your fish tank should be placed on somewhere quite high, where the cats can’t jump onto and stare directly in.

That would be a bit scary for the fish, like some kind of horror film for them. Make sure they have no way to jump onto the lid (ensure the fish tank does have one), just in case the cat somehow works out a way to climb walls and decides she’s going to just jump right in. Another cheaper option is to just have a virtual fish tank on the tv, more on that later though.

Watch them suddenly become interested when it’s fish-feeding time, remind them that it is not also their fish feeding time!

7) Radio

Cats get bored with long periods of being alone and this can help, perhaps not much but a little. Keep the radio on when you go away to give them a little company.

Make sure you leave it on their favorite station or you may come back to the radio having been knocked off the shelf, now in about a million pieces. Remember, cats like knocking stuff off shelves, it’s just what they do.

8) Ball in a bath

If you have an old bath that you don’t mind getting a little scratched, then get yourself a ping-pong ball and drop it into your (err empty!) bath. They will love how light the ball is and how easily they can bat it about.

For added madness, inject a small amount of water into it. This will make the ping pong ball move in a random fashion, that your cat will love.

I haven’t tried this bit though as I don’t have a syringe lying around my house. Do you have a syringe in your house? No, thought not. Just use a ping-pong ball.

9) Cat furniture

ways to keep your cat entertained

If there’s anything where your cat can crawl into, climb onto or hide under they will love it. If you have the room to create an area with this stuff in it then I’m envious.

You’ll be giving your cats a great life. Did you know you can also get your cats sofas? These are basically normal human sofas, but smaller. I reckon they’re also called children sofas, just cleverly marketed depending on what you search for.

You can also get these tunnels which the cats and dive through. Mine were never keen on these though. Or maybe we didn’t persevere long enough. They were taking up our whole living room floor for a few months when we finally realized they hadn’t used it once and were we in-fact stupid?

10) Remote Control Toys

With so many to choose from you’ll be spoilt for choice. Whether you’re buying them for yourself or for your cat is debatable, but remote control toys are great.

If they’re specifically for cats, you’ll want to look at the smaller options. For instance, you can get a little remote control ball that’s about the size of a ping-pong ball – how about using this in the bath as I mentioned earlier?

Of course, you can get a remote control mouse also. You’re spoilt for choice really and you can end up spending a lot of money on these if you like. The downside is as they are remote control you need to be present to use them. Which is great when you’re there but if you go out the fun stops..

11) Hanging Mobiles

Have a mobile hanging in somewhere that catches the light and reflects it onto the ground. Your cat will love the different shapes and patterns it makes on the ground.

The mobile should be constructed of reflective material and be high enough so your cat won’t contemplate jumping up and trying to pull it down. So if you have a ceiling that’s a hundred feet tall, that should be sufficient. Joking of course but you know exactly what I’m talking about.

12) Catnip

Not many people know this but about a third of cats have no reaction to catnip. I’ve never known one who hasn’t as yet though.

You can actually grow this yourself if you like (don’t expect it to last long if in the vicinity of your cats) quite easily which will be fun if you want any children to be involved also.

Generally speaking, cats go a bit crazy for catnip. The reaction lasts for between 5 and 15 minutes before they start to get a bit drowsy. You can use catnip to sprinkle on or around their toys or put it under something so they need to try and get it.

Catnip is a short-term fix though and can be used now and again when you’re out of ideas!

13) Puzzle Toys

These are a great option for when you know you’re not going to be around for a few hours. They’re something that not a lot of people try but cats can be kept entertained for a much great period of time than those toys that don’t need them to think.

There’s a great selection for you to choose from, even ones that will dispense a little treat if your cat correctly solves the puzzle. It’ll take a bit more brain-power to get the most out of them though and not every cat will understand what they’re meant to do.

If you have an inquisitive cat who likes to be involved in everything then this might be for you. If you have an older cat who would much prefer to just sit on your lap all night, maybe try one and see what results you get.

14) Fishing Wand

Sometimes the simplest things are the best. A simple stick with a bit of string tied onto the end of it will have your cats chasing after it all day. You can run up the stairs and drag it through their toys, they’ll love it. Maybe tie a feather that you found outside onto the end of the string.

Actually, in all my cat ownership years, of which there are many, the fishing wand is most likely my most used cat toy. It’s easy to construct and you don’t need to buy anything. It’s easy to use and you can do it sitting down if you’re feeling particularly lazy, my cats have more stamina than me these days!

15) Scratching Posts

ways to keep your cat entertained

Your cats will need to keep their claws nice and sharp so they can attack your toes as you next walk past. Get a post that has has a little ball hanging off it or something, it’s like getting two toys for the price of one.

If you’re getting a play-tree (covered elsewhere) then these will already have them but if you have a smaller house and just don’t have room for a tree then these are a necessity.

No matter how old your cat is they will still use these. Try and get one with a ledge on the top of it so they can sit on it. Cats love having the higher ground and if there’s an opportunity for them to get a bit higher they’ll usually take it.

16) Hand under bed-cover

ways to keep your cat entertained

Just a word of warning, this game teaches them hunting skills so if you don’t want to encourage that, maybe best to skip this one. If you’re okay though with cats being cats, this is great fun and your cats will love it. Just wiggle your hand under the cover and watch your cat pounce onto it.

Make sure the cover is thick enough for, too thin and their teeth and/or claws will go straight through it and you’ll certainly know about it. Your cat won’t hold back as they don’t realize it’s your hand of course.

17) The Magic Carpet

If you have a rug and a slippery floor, combine the two. Use a bit of string to get your cat to run onto the rug and watch the two of them slide across the room. Once they’ve done it once they’ll want to do it again, you watch! Make sure you have enough room for this activity of course.

They do seem to enjoy it as if you’re playing anywhere near the ‘magic carpet’ then you’ll find them deliberately jumping onto it, hoping for another flight.

18) Another Cat

Well, this is kind of cheating I guess but if your cat appears lonely then have you considered another cat? You’ll need to make sure you have the time (and money) to cater to both their needs. Also, your cat needs to be of the disposition that will accept another cat.

The older they get the more difficult this can become. Unless you have a lot of patience (it may take a lot of time to get the two to share the same room, let alone play with each other) then you should test the water first.

Do try and do this when your existing cat is at a young age as they are more likely to accept the newcomer than when they’re older and used to things how they are.

19) Let them watch TV

ways to keep your cat entertained

If you haven’t done this yet then do it, it’ll make you smile. Have a look at this, it’s basically a video of some birds. It’ll take your cat a minute or so to adjust so they can actually see the image but when they do you’ll see their eyes widen. It might be a little confusing for them though as when the birds fly off they seem to just disappear as far as the cat is concerned.

Cat’s can’t focus on anything under about 30cm so it will need to be further away than that. I tried this with mine today and I couldn’t work out if they were enjoying it or not really. Certainly, a consideration though if you’re out for some time, some of these YouTube videos for cats last for hours.

Or, how about a virtual fish tank? If you don’t have a real tank and don’t want the hassle of keeping one, then try the below:

If you’re lucky enough to own a tablet then you can get apps just for cats. For instance, a little fish will ‘swim’ around the screen so your cat can try and get it with their paws. I personally don’t see how this is a good idea though unless they don’t have any claws surely they’d scratch the screen?

Final thoughts…

So, there we go – these are my personal best 19 ways to keep your cat entertained. If you have any other suggestions then I’d really love to hear from you so please drop me a comment below!

Also, as we’re all like-minded cat owners here – do take a look at my post that describes some weird things that cat owners do in secret!

Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences and those of my family and friends .

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