9 Ways to Keep Your Cat Entertained When You’re Not at Home
If we had it our way, we’d never have to leave our cats. But there are many times when your cat will need to be left alone.
Whether you’ve gone to work, out to run errands, or to meet up with friends, your cat can get bored home alone without something to do. Read on for 9 ways to keep your cat entertained while you’re gone for the day.
1. Use Food Puzzles
Food puzzles and toys are a great way to keep your cat engaged and entertained while you’re gone. There are a variety of puzzle and toy designs, and you can even make your own from common household items like boxes and toilet paper rolls.
These puzzles let you put food and treats inside, and your cat will have to problem-solve to get their paws on the prize. Puzzle toys and feeders are also ideal for stimulating your cat’s natural hunting instincts.
2. Buy Cat-Specific Furniture
Your cat can certainly climb on any of the furniture in your home. But cat-specific furniture can give them a fun, safe way to explore, get exercise, and enrich their minds at the same time. Cat trees, shelves, window perches, and other furniture help your cat relieve stress and fulfill their instinctual needs.
Many pieces of cat furniture have multiple levels for your cat to explore, scratching posts for stress relief, and even built-in toys for added entertainment.
3. Prepare a Treasure Hunt
If your cat needs an extra challenge while you’re away, you can turn their breakfast into a treasure hunt for them to find throughout the day. Hide parts of their meal in different places around the house like inside toys, behind furniture, or inside boxes.
Your cat will need to engage their hunting instincts to track down each morsel of food. This not only enriches their mind but keeps their body active too.
You’ll want to start small with a treasure hunt before you hide your cat’s entire breakfast. Start by hiding treats in easy-to-see areas to help your cat understand the game, then increase the difficulty slowly from there.
4. Adopt Another Cat Friend
While adopting another cat isn’t always the right solution, if you have the financial means and you’re ready for the added responsibility, a new friend can be a great way to keep both cats entertained.
You’ll need to assess your current cat’s personality to decide whether another cat will be a fun addition or a stressful one. If you believe your cat would benefit from the addition of a new playmate, make sure you take the introductions slowly until both cats are comfortable sharing the same space.
5. Cat-Proof the House
Cats are curious, smart animals, and when they’re bored, they can get into just about anything. While you want to keep your cat entertained, you don’t want them playing with something potentially dangerous.
Before you leave the house, make sure that you:
- Cover up or hide all of your electrical cords
- Tie up blind cords
- Get rid of any toxic plants that your cat can nibble on
- Close the kitchen cabinets and pantry doors
- Put away any medications
- Hide small objects that your cat would want to play with, like needles and thread or rubber bands
The easiest way to keep your cat safe and entertained while you’re gone is to set up a designated cat zone. Block off all other areas of the house except for the space you’ve designated for your cat and fill it with toys, cat furniture, and other fun items.
6. Keep the Windows Accessible
Even though your cat is inside, they can still enjoy the sights and sounds of the great outdoors.
Draw back your curtains or raise your blinds, at least on one window, before you leave the house to keep that window accessible. It’s also a good idea to place a cat tower or perch by the window to give your cat a comfortable seat to watch the birds and other wildlife.
You can even take it a step further and install a bird feeder outside the window to give your cat guaranteed entertainment while you’re away.
7. Turn on Cat TV
If keeping your windows accessible isn’t an option for you, you can still bring the outdoors inside with Cat TV.
There are a variety of YouTube channels, as well as some TV stations that play programming designed for your kitty’s entertainment. These shows are full of birds, fish, mice, and more that will keep your cat entertained for hours.
If your cat isn’t a fan of the TV, try playing soothing music to help keep them calm and relaxed while you’re gone. One study found that playing music made specifically for cats can lower their overall stress levels.
8. Give Your Cat a Self-Play Toy
In addition to puzzle and treat toys, you can also leave your cat with toys that allow them to play by themselves. These include electronic feather toys that move for your cat, flopping fish, wriggling mice, and more.
You can even get an exercise wheel for your cat. Like a hamster wheel, these toys allow your cat to run in place, which is an excellent form of exercise.
9. Get Creative with Household Items
While there are many store-bought toys and furniture that you can give your cat, you can also keep them entertained with items you have laying around the house.
Cardboard boxes are a firm favorite for many cats. Cut holes in a few of the boxes, and stack them into a fun, makeshift fort for your kitty to play with. Paper bags also make for fun cat toys, especially when used as tunnels. The crinkling sound of the paper will help keep your cat interested and engaged.
Is Your Cat Bored While You’re Gone?
If your cat struggles with boredom while you’re gone for the day, there are a variety of ways you can help keep them entertained. Not only are these options great for their mental health, but they can also encourage your cat to stay active and help them maintain a healthy weight.