How to amuse cats

Is your cat bored, lazy or just plain disinterested? Has your feline friend grown tired of the same old furry mice and barely raises a paw when you enter a room? Not to worry, we’ve compiled this list of totally cool fun and games that are sure to get even the most forlorn felines out of a funk:

How to amuse cats

Laser Games!
What cat can resist the wiggly red ball of light from a laser pointer? The red dot stimulates his natural prey drive and he can’t help himself – he has to chase it! Many experts say that simply chasing a laser pointer can cause potential problems because there’s no way to “win” the game. Even if the cat catches the red dot, he hasn’t actually caught anything so it causes stress.

How to amuse cats

The solution? If your cat is totally crazy over the red dot – hide treats around your room and occasionally land the laser light on the treat so when your cat “catches” the red dot – he’ll be rewarded with a treat.

Will Work for Food
Does your super lazy cat only seem interested in eating? Why not make him work for his food? Get a food ball and put his meal inside it. Your call will have to push, roll and bat the ball around in order to get fed throughout the day. This is also ideal for cats who scarf their food too fast – it forces them to slow down and munch their meal one piece at a time.

How to amuse cats

Or, if you want to work your cat’s brain muscle, try putting some cat food in a treat puzzle, so your kitty will have to solve a brain game in order to get a snack! Treat puzzles are a way to keep your cat’s mind sharp well into his senior years.

Another food game that keeps kitties active involves moving their food dishes to different areas of your home each day so they’re never fed in the same place. This feeds into your feline friend’s natural prey drive. The “hunt” for their “catch” keeps them entertained!

Bring the Outdoors In
Plant cat grass and catnip in a sunny window. Mount a bird feeder or a squirrel feeder outside the window, and mount a window perch inside. Your cat will be entertained for hours watching his furry and feathered friends.

How to amuse cats

Give your cat some TV-time. Lots of cats enjoy watching specially made cat DVD’sfull of birds, fish, mice and squirrels. You’ll crack up when your cat meows and swats at the television!

If you’ve got the space, create a “catio” or cat patio – a secure outdoor kitty enclosure! You can find them pre-made or create your own. Just be sure it’s secure and completely enclosed and safe from predators.

Families Who Play Together, Stay Together!
Strengthen the bond you have with your cat by playing with him! Here are a few fun games to try with your furry friend:

Magic Carpet Ride: Drag a blanket or small rug along the floor. You’d be surprised at just how many kitties will hop on board for a ride! Just remember to go slow, so your cat stays on board.

Hide and Seek: Yes, many cats love a good game of hide and seek with their human. If you’ve got a confident kitty, try hiding around the corner, behind a piece of furniture or a door. When your cat walks by – jump out at him …and then run off. Often times your cat will make chase! And when he does, hide again and you’ll notice kitty will start to stalk you. Some cats will even take the game a step further and hide for you!

Attack the Bag: Lay an open paper grocery bag on the floor. Inevitably your cat will crawl inside to check it out. What cat can resist a paper bag? Once he’s inside, poke at the bag with your fingers. If he’s feeling frisky, your cat will try to attack the bag!

How to amuse cats

What fun games do you play with your cat? Tell us about it!

By Jennifer Sellers, Petfinder contributor

With their natural litheness and inquisitiveness, it seems cats are born for play. But, unfortunately, after kittenhood many pet parents tend to think of their cats as stodgy old souls who prefer napping in the sun to romping around the living room.

How to amuse cats

On the contrary, cats like having things to do, according to Kristen Collins, CPDT, ASPCA animal trainer. And without constructive activities to fall back on, they may entertain themselves in undesirable ways, such as excessive meowing, peeing outside the litter box and furniture scratching. Giving your cat brain-stimulating activities from a young age has also been shown to help prevent or delay the onset of cognitive dysfunction syndrome. So to keep your feline family member happy and active, consider entertaining her in the following ways:

1. Provide opportunities for exploration. As mentioned by W.R Shaw in Keeping Cats from Getting Bored, Cats love discovering new places and objects. Take advantage of this trait by leaving out things your kitty can explore. Paper shopping bags (with the handles snipped off) and cardboard boxes are simple, everyday things you can use. You might want to also invest in a cat condo or a few well-placed scratching posts for her.

2. Make sure she has access to “cat TV.” You might like watching television for entertainment, but your cat probably prefers seeing the great outdoors. Her can’t-miss programming includes viewing the family of wrens in your cherry tree, or the next-door neighbor who walks her Corgi every day at 3 p.m., so give her unobstructed access to windows in your home — adding perches, where necessary. If possible, hang bird and squirrel feeders outside of the windows your cat frequents most. (Learn more about setting up a bird feeder for your cats here.)

Don’t forget indoor viewing: Many cats are fascinated with fish aquariums. Even mechanical aquariums, with fake fish traveling across a screen, can appeal to your kitty. And though she may not enjoy television as much as you, your cat might take to specialty cat videos that feature close-up footage of birds and rodents.

3. Set up opportunities for your cat to “hunt” for food. Rather than letting her graze on her food all day, which the ASPCA notes can lead to your cat overeating allow your cat to work (or hunt) for a portion of it. You can do this by hiding food throughout the house or placing it in food-dispensing toys. Even a timed food dispenser for her meals will help keep your cat on her toes. (Learn how to make a cat-powered feeder here.)

4. Allow supervised time outside. The great outdoors can be a dangerous place for your cat. (Learn about outdoor cat myths.) But if she’s allowed outside in a controlled manner, it can be a delightful time for her. One way to do this is to teach your cat how to walk on a leash. Believe it or not, it can be done! Another way to allow her outdoors is to create or purchase an enclosed room, crate or tunnel. Such areas allow cats to experience the sights, sounds and scents of the outside world, without allowing them to roam free. Just make sure your cat’s on heartworm preventative and up to date on her vaccinations before venturing outside with her.

5. Playtime with you. The best kind of play is interactive play. During daily play sessions with you, your cat can enjoy a greater degree of intellectual stimulation and aerobic activity. In particular, consider activities that allow your cat to exercise her hunting instincts. Toys that resemble prey, such as rodents, are popular with cats. You can move these toys toward and away from her so that she has to catch them. Wand toys offer another way for you to tempt your cat into hunting-style play — all while keeping her mind and body active.

There are many other activities and games you can share with your cat. You might even decide to advance both of your skills and teach your cat a few tricks, like high five. You’ll be surprised at how creative both you and your kitty can get! Regardless of what you choose, it’s most important that you give your cat things to do that will keep her happy, healthy and content.

Additional Sources for Reference

How to amuse cats

When faced with leaving their furry companions alone during the day, pet parents often suffer from separation anxiety — not so much from their pets as from themselves and their own guilt over leaving their pets to fend for themselves in a lonely house. Here are four ways to help your cat stay occupied while you’re gone; after all, he can’t nap all day long.

1. Building the Fun Zone

When your cat is ready to play, a special space that has been set up just for that purpose is important. Even if you don’t have an extra room to devote as a cat haven, a corner of a room or a window will suffice. Set up a nice cat tree and/or cat scratchers that is specially made for climbing and claw exercises. A cat perch that overlooks the yard will also give her hours of free, albeit mundane, entertainment. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can build a sitting shelf that sits on the inside ledge of the windowsill using just a shelf, brackets and fabric, or you can buy one from a pet supply store. A bird feeder placed outside the window will provide hours of entertainment (and maybe a little frustration!).

There are also ways to make it so that your cat can go outside while staying inside, with an enclosure that juts from the open window, allowing your cat the best view of all. This is another project that you can either take on yourself, or buy pre-assembled. Start simple: You can begin by hanging toys from different spots so your cat has something to bat around, and place little jingly balls and furry mice on the floor for your cat to bat across the room and play a game of make-believe chase.

2. Get a “Buddy”

If your cat is an “only child,” you may want to consider adopting a feline brother or sister for her. Keep in mind that it can be challenging to integrate a new pet into the household, especially if your cat is older and is used to being the sole holder of the throne, but it is worth the effort to give your furry feline a companion she can grow to love (and groom). When two cats get together, playtime can really be productive and new games will be invented, even if you are not home to witness them.

3. Puzzles and Snacks

If your cat is into cat treats and snacks, a food puzzle toy can be a great way to keep him occupied. These typically ball shaped toys are made to be stuffed with small pieces of cat food, which are released only when your cat figures out the right way to undo the catch or turn it the right way to make the treat fall out. This is good for stimulating your cat’s brain and his muscles.

To make sure that your kitty doesn’t fill up on treats, you can use dehydrated cat food or freeze-dried cat food to fill a interactive cat toy, so that it can be factored into their daily food intake.

4. Soothing Sounds

The poet William Congreve wrote that “music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” We know this to be true for the savage man, and it is also true for our domesticated savage companions. If you find that your cat responds to certain styles of music, you can collect more of that style and set it up to play quietly on the home stereo while you are away. If in doubt, you can’t go wrong with classical. Stick with the soft pieces, piano and string rather than trumpets and drums. There is also a large choice of soothing meditation music that you can play for your cat. Just don’t be too surprised if you come home one day and find your cat in the lotus pose.

Sure, your cat is probably more than happy to spend her day alone. She needs her rest after a long night of resting, but enriching her environment with some extra toys, visual distraction, music or companions will probably end up being one of your greater ideas. If nothing else, it will ease your guilty conscience and make you a happier pet owner.

How to amuse cats

Ragdolls are friendly, loving, and affectionate. They can be a great addition to your household, and you can spend a considerable amount of time playing with them.

Their notably lively nature also demands enough stimulation for mental and physical growth. Other crucial factors are associated with the entertainment of the Ragdoll cat.

You can achieve mental and physical growth using a well-thought toy or course. Playing time also allows you to make a strong bond with the Ragdoll cat.

Ragdoll’s lively nature requires many exercises every day, and playing can be a natural source of the activity.

In this article, we will explore how you can entertain a Ragdoll cat and answer a frequently asked question related to this topic. Let us start by discovering the playing techniques that you can employ for the Ragdoll cat.

How Do You Entertain A Ragdoll Cat?

There are several ways by which you can entertain a Ragdoll cat. In this section, we will look at nine ways that serve the sole purpose of keeping the cat entertained for hours.

1. Laser Light:

Laser light is an innovative way to interact with an active cat. They are astoundingly lively creatures and follow a moving fly or insect instantaneously.

Cats can perceive a moving laser pointer as one of those eye-catching objects and run after it for hours. Their inquisitive and predatory mentality is responsible for this kind of behavior.

You can buy a low power laser pointer from a stationary store and point at some accessible location for the cat.

It should start following the laser soon enough, and you will have something to keep the Ragdoll cat occupied for hours.

2. Recreating Fish Tank:

Fish tanks are fascinating objects for cats, and you can use this knowledge of use by recreating a fish tank’s conditions.

If you don’t want to put your fishes in danger, you can imitate the scene using fake fishes. Fill an empty fish tank with water and float a few silicon fishes inside it.

It will keep the cat occupied for hours without getting bored. It will also keep the cat happy for a long time. However, you have to fix the tank to the spot. Otherwise, cats can topple it over and hurt itself.

3. Rods and Strings:

Stimulating a cat can be a simple enough job for you if you use this method. All you have to do is buy a fishing rod, strings, and some colorful flurry toys.

Attach the toy at the end of the rope and swirl it around the cat. The cat should follow it as long as you want it.

Veterinarians and cat behaviorists recommend this method to help indoor cats in mental and physical growth.

4. Go Fetch:

Ragdolls are also known as the ‘dogs of the cat world’ for its dog-like nature. So, it is quite natural for the Ragdolls to be stimulated by the simple go and fetch game. You have to take care of the few elements of the game, such as:

  • Use an unbreakable object to throw
  • Throw the item in the field of vision of the cat.
  • You can show the object to the cat before throwing it to grab its attention.
  • When they bring the object back to you, you can pet it or give it a treat as appreciation.

You have to be extremely careful about the approach of the game. You can take it gradually and at a slow pace.

5. Hunting Game:

You can emulate hunting games for the Ragdoll cat, as it can be a good exercise for the Ragdoll cat. You can look for jerky movements, fluttering, flailing, or dancing motions as the result of these types of activities.

Typically a mechanically driven mouse will be an excellent choice for hunting games. They will see the mouse as moving prey and catch it with all its might.

It is a perfect choice for the cat’s entertainment, and you can watch the cat prancing around all day long.

6. Scratching Post:

Scratching posts have other advantages other than the cat’s entertainment. Generally, cats prefer scratching posts to fulfill their unfathomable desire to scratch surfaces.

You can purchase a scratching post if the cat is roughening on the wall or furniture. While it is useful in those scenarios, scratching posts is a desirable alternative to regular exercise.

If you buy a long scratching post for the cat, it will stretch on the scratching post.

Ragdolls are outdoor cats, and they like to use trees for scratching purposes. But if you keep it indoors most of the time, a scratching post will be a viable option for the cat.

7. Another Pet:

Ragdolls can be remarkable with other cats in the house. If you have more than one cat in the household, the Ragdoll will remain entertained for most of the time.

You can also look for another Ragdoll as a companion, as they are great together. They love to interact with another pet in the house, and you can fuel that desire with another Ragdoll.

However, two male Ragdolls can be problematic because of the sense of competition. One male and one female Ragdoll should work like a charm.

8. Outdoors:

Taking the Ragdoll outdoors is also a brilliant way of entertaining the Ragdoll cat. Due to their dog-like nature, you can train them to behave with a leash.

Their intelligent nature should help you in the process. Ragdolls are outdoor cats, and this opportunity to explore the outdoors under supervision will be excellent for the cat.

9. Keep Near The Window:

Ragdolls love to sit by the window and look outside for hours. It is a peaceful activity for the cat, and this method can keep the cat entertained for hours.

Look for a good porch near the window and set its bed near it. The cat can look outside from there. It’s an excellent activity to keep the cat occupied.

Conclusion:

The entertainment method will depend on the personality of the cat. You can look for playful activities for the cat if your cat is an active one.

Otherwise, you can look at the activities such as fish tanks, mechanical mice, etc. The vital point you have to be aware of is that the exercise should be favorable for your cat.

There are several advantages of indulging your cat in an activity, and one of the most crucial ones is a loving bond between you and your cat.

Related Article:

Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.

How to amuse cats

How to Entertain a Cat: 5 Creative Ways for Keeping Kitty Happy

Cat lovers know what wonderful companions felines make, but that doesn’t come without its drawbacks. For starters, bored cats tend to scratch, causing damage to your furniture and carpet.

Instead of spending thousands of dollars replacing big-ticket items in your home, try these 5 creative ways of keeping your cat happy and entertained. These tips and tricks will keep your kitty happy and less likely to cause mischief in your house.

Keep reading to discover how to entertain a cat and prevent destructive scratching.

How to Entertain a Cat

It’s impossible to play with your cat 24/7, which is why you need creative solutions to keep them entertained when you’re away from home. The first method may seem like an easy one, but it works.

1. Cardboard Boxes

Any cardboard box will do. Cats love to chew, scratch, and play with cardboard boxes, so be sure to leave a few out for your feline friends.

This cheap, easy solution will provide hours of entertainment and save your furniture from damage.

2. Paper

Have paper you can spare? Leave some out for kitty to play with. They love the crinkling noise it makes.

This is also true for paper bags. You’ll give your cats something to play with that isn’t your furniture.

3. Furniture for Cats

You have your favorite couch or armchair, and your cat also needs the same. It’s a good idea to invest in multiple scratching posts or a cat condo to help keep your kitty entertained during the day.

Many of these posts come with furry, feathery toys that squeak and make noise, providing your cat with hours of entertainment.

You may want to consider placing a cat condo in a room where your cat can see out the window. Some cats will spend hours tracking birds and watching the world outside.

Invest in several hummingbird feeders to give your cats hours of entertainment.

4. Outdoors Time

This may not seem like something you’d think to do with a cat, but with your supervision (and a leash), your cat can enjoy fresh air and sun. Start by purchasing a harness and leash and teach your cat how to walk with it.

Allow your cat to run around and play outdoors. It’s a great way for them to get exercise and to find stimulation outside of the house.

5. Hunting for Food

There are many cat toys that dispense food as your kitty plays with them. Instead of leaving a big bowl of food out all day, let your cat hunt for food around the house.

This will present an entertaining challenge for them, helping them stay busy and entertained.

Entertainment for All Your Cat’s Needs

No matter what kind of entertainment you choose for your beloved companion, remember that a happy cat is less likely to be destructive and scratch. It’s cheaper to invest in some simple toys than to replace expensive furniture.

Now that you know how to entertain a cat, go grab some paper bags and old cardboard boxes, and watch the fun begin!

Check out our website and explore our countless informative articles. No matter what you’re interested in, we’ve got you covered.

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How to amuse cats

How to Recognize a Bored Cat

Is my cat bored? There are telltale signs that a cat can’t have fun while you are away and gets bored. Here are the most common ones:

    The cat destroys the house. A toyless home can quickly turn into a messy home because your cat will turn to the furniture, curtains, carpets and other accessories to play with. Such type of destructive behavior can be eliminated by keeping the cat busy. The right interactive and rewarding toys can keep your cat occupied for hours and consume their energy. If you want to choose appropriate toys for your cat for a quality solo playtime while you are away, check the linked article for a list of the best chew toys for cats based on dozens of user and expert reviews. Food no longer disappears. Some cats stop eating when they get bored. A chronically bored cat will eat less and less until their diet becomes an unhealthy one. You can change the cat’s diet and include some canned treats to make them interested in food again. However, a cat that overeats can be also bored. Such cats seem obsessed with their food, which disappears once you pour it into the bowl. After they are done eating, this type of bored cats will just lie next to their bowl, looking underfed. Too much sleeping or inactivity You may wonder this while trying not to disturb a catnap. Kitties tend to sleep more when they are bored. So, expect longer and more frequent naps from a bored cat.

In severe cases of boredom, your cat will urinate all over the house, begin to lose fur because of excessive grooming, and may potentially begin destroying your couch, bed, shower curtain…

How to amuse cats

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Boredom In Cats: How To Entertain Your Kitty

1. Give Your Cat Space. Vertical Space

In their natural biological construct, cats love to climb and enjoy looking down at dogs and other critters. A cat that climbs and jumps from one place to another is exercising and having fun.

How to amuse cats

There are vertical spaces you can use for your cats, such as window sills, sets of empty shelves, or cat trees/towers which are perfect for your house or apartment.

As long as you keep her safe, your cat has a fresh opportunity to burn some energy. There are cat condos that mentally stimulate cats by making them feel safer and more relaxed. These types of condos and trees come with scratch-resistant surfaces that can handle your cat’s claws.

2. Show Your Cat The World

Cats love to watch life taking its course. This translates into birds flying, dogs running, children playing, and so forth.

For example, by equipping your outdoor window space with a bird feeder, flocks of birds will gather and entertain your cat. Your furry friend will stand still and watch their hypothetical prey.

Note: You only need to make sure that the windowpane is closed and the window curtain doesn’t have a wire. If the window is easy to open, adjust it for cat usage.

Windows with an interesting view are TV for cats. They can watch through the window for hours – unless the prey gets too close, which then means only one thing: the hunt begins…

3. Bring Nature Home

There are plants you should not have in your home as they might be dangerous for your beloved kitty. Tulips, azaleas, lilies, and Sago Palm are just a few of the toxic plants for pets, according to the Animal Poison Control Center.

There are cat-friendly plants that cats just love, like catnip, grass shots, and valerian. Still, keep your favorite decorative houseplants out of your cat’s reach by hanging them as high as possible or pave the soil with stones.

4. Make Her Play for Food

You can make a bored cat’s eating a fun activity. Feeding times can turn into stimulating entertainment if you use puzzle feeders. Your cat will play, solve a simple feline-targeted puzzle, and get food. You can also hide food around the house so that the cat can find it during the day.

The DIY version of puzzle feeders is the empty plastic bottle that you cut holes through, add food and a cardboard tube.

5. Two Cats is Better Than One

If you have a cat, you may have room for a second one. A bored cat desperately needs a play partner. You will soon see that two cats even groom each other. Consider your budget and think about adopting a second cat. Besides saving a little soul from a shelter, you can also introduce your current cat to new concepts such as socialization and sharing. Introduce the new pet to her slowly and then let the two entertain each other.

You Can Engage a Bored Cat

Some people falsely believe that having a bored cat is the sole result of having a full-time job and leaving your favorite pet alone at home. But cats usually get bored due to the lack of activity and possibilities around the house. If you optimize the environment, instead of blaming yourself, you will have a happy and fit pet.

How to amuse cats

Do cats need exercise? Of course! When cats are exercising, they’re helping maintain a healthy weight and also getting stimulation to keep them emotionally and behaviorally healthy.

Here are some tips on how to exercise your cats along with some cat workouts that will be fun for cats and for you.

Tips for How to Exercise Your Cat

Follow these tips for maximizing your cat playtime sessions and making sure your cat gets plenty of exercise.

Schedule Exercise for Cats When They Are Most Active

Cats are most active at dawn and dusk, so scheduling play around these times may help keep them more interested. You can also schedule playtime around their meals so that you can incorporate food into their daily enrichment.

Keep Play Sessions Short

Play sessions should be about 10-15 minutes each and can range from two to three daily sessions for older cats to up to 10 sessions for kittens and younger cats.

Know Your Cat’s Signals for Not Wanting to Play

Don’t worry, your cat will let you know if they are interested in playing. A bored cat will walk away or show no interest in toys.

An interested kitty will be eager to participate, bat around cat toys, chase a laser pointer, and respond positively to interaction with you (no biting/scratching/hissing, ears forward, etc.).

If your cat begins panting or breathing too heavily, let them rest before resuming play. Remember: playtime is meant to be fun for cats!

Cat Workouts to Try With Your Cat

It is very important to avoid using your hands when playing with cats and kittens especially. This can lead to play aggression and lots of scratches! Instead, try some of these ideas for cat workouts:

Leash Training

Just like dogs, some indoor cats will enjoy stimulating walks outside. If you want to try walking your cat, it’s important to get a harness that your cat can’t wriggle out of. There are even harnesses made specifically for walking cats.

You can start by easing your cat into wearing the harness indoors and slowly increasing the amount of time they spend in their new gear. However, do not keep trying to get your cat to walk on a leash if they are not comfortable.

Make sure your cat is microchipped and that your contact info is up to date in the database. It also helps to have a tag with your contact info on their harness in case they happen to get away. Also make sure your cat is current on flea and tick prevention before you take them outside.

Clicker Training

Training your cat to sit, give paw, or meow using clicker training can be a great bonding experience and can provide enrichment for both your kitty and you.

Laser Pointers

Using a laser pointer is a great way to get your cat moving.

NOTE: Be sure to end every laser pointer session by giving your cat a toy that they can actually get their paws on! This will allow them to feel as though they have “caught their prey.”

Cat Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys keep your cat active and provide positive reinforcement at the same time. Using puzzle toys to dole out pieces of dry food can also help slow down their rate of eating while keeping them engaged.

Hidden Treats, Food, and Toys

Just like puzzle toys, hiding treats, food, and toys can help cats feel like they’re hunting for their food as they would in the wild. Be sure to constantly switch out old cat toys for new ones to keep them interested!

Teaser and Wand Toys

Wand toys (or fishing-pole toys) can allow for interactive play without leading to play aggression. This keeps your cat at a safe distance from your hands and allows them to feel like they’re pouncing on and chasing their prey.

Electronic Toys

Electronic toys are fun for cats, and they provide a high-energy playtime. They can be very helpful in keeping cats entertained, but they should be interspersed with other kinds of interactive play.

Catnip Bubbles

Some cats enjoy chasing and popping bubbles. There are even bubbles that are infused with catnip to keep kitties even more intrigued.

Catios

Creating an enclosed and stimulating outdoor environment will give your cat an opportunity to explore the outdoors while remaining active, and most importantly, safe.

Shelves and Perches

Cats love to watch the world from above! This gives them a safer vantage point for hunting in the wild. Providing vertical spaces like window shelves and perches not only gives them an ideal spot to observe from, but can encourage them to jump and climb. Please ensure that these vertical spaces are sturdy and in a safe area.

Cat Trees

Cat trees can also provide elevated rest or play areas for your kitty. Many cat trees also have scratching posts that encourage healthy scratching behaviors.

Cat Exercise Wheels

Cat wheels offer an excellent way for cats to get their cardio! If you’re not sure if your cat will use an exercise wheel, the manufacturers usually offer training materials to help you encourage your cat to try it.

It’s a myth that going outside is a requirement for feline happiness. Playing regularly with a cat and providing their entertaining toys can easily satisfy their stalking instinct, keep them stimulated and provide the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy. It also keeps local wildlife safe!

With the cold weather upon us, here are some tips for making the great indoors an interesting, feline-friendly environment that meets all of your cat’s needs.

Start ’em young

Kittens who are kept indoors are usually happy to stay there as they grow up.

Good fences = happy kitties

Provide a screened porch for your cat to experience the outdoors safely. Consider building or purchasing a “catio” or similar enclosure to allow your cat to get a taste of the outside without the risks. A regular fence may not prevent other animals from entering your yard, so you should always be present when you allow your cat outside in your yard.

Be sure to cat-proof the yard by checking that your fence has no escape routes and by making toxic plants, garden chemicals and other dangerous objects inaccessible.

Walk this way

If you live in a peaceful neighborhood in which you can walk without encountering loose dogs, consider buying a harness and training your cat to walk on a leash. This training takes time and patience, for both you and the cat, and it’s easiest when your cat is young. Some cats can even be harnessed and tied to a stationary object to enjoy the outdoors while you are gardening nearby (but be sure to never leave your cat alone while they are tethered).

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How to amuse cats

Hang out

Install a perch indoors near a sunny window; padded perches can be purchased at many pet supply stores or through catalog retailers. Another option is an enclosure that sits in a window frame (much like an air conditioning unit) and provides a secure space in which your kitty can hang out. Larger perches can attach to the side of a house or ground-floor apartment patio.

Tree’s company

Buy a ready-made cat tree (often called a “kitty condo”), or make your own. A cat tree can be short, or may stretch from floor to ceiling. It provides great climbing opportunities and, in multi-cat households, creates more play and rest areas by taking advantage of vertical space. If you can, locate the cat tree next to a window so your cat can watch the action outdoors.

Play time

Play with your cat each day. Try different types of toys that allow your cat to stalk, chase, pounce and kick. When you’ve tired out your cat, store toys that could harm them (such as toys with strings attached) out of reach. When you can’t be there to supervise, leave out “toys” such as paper bags (with the handles removed) or cardboard boxes. Be sure to switch the toys from time to time so that they seem “new” and more interesting to your cat.

Bring the outdoors in

Plant cat grass (available from pet supply stores) in indoor pots so your feline can graze.

Clean house

Cats can be neat freaks, so clean the litter box regularly.

ID, please

Even indoor cats should still be outfitted with a collar and visible identification. The occasional open window (make sure your windows have secure screens) or door offers a tempting opportunity for your cat. And your cat may become frightened and make their way outside if strangers come to work on your house or if there is a fire or similar disaster. The collar and visible ID could help someone get your pet back to you.

Chip in for safety

For extra insurance, consider having your cat microchipped and keep your contact information with the microchip registry up to date. If you do lose your cat, contact your local animal shelter immediately to file a report. Shelter workers can give you tips on getting your pet back home safely. Also read our tips for finding a lost pet.