Keeping Your Cat Entertained Indoors

Great ideas to keep indoor cats stimulated, active and happy.

Cats are explorers, hunters and predators by nature. If you have an indoor cat, there are lots of ways you can feed their curiosity and encourage their natural instincts.

keeping your cat entertained indoors

Sometimes it may seem that your cat spends all day sleeping, and it would be easy to think they are happy to be left alone to laze. But did you know that there are a number of ways you can encourage their natural instincts and keep them entertained indoors?

Whether your cat doesn’t go outside or is just happy to spend the day with you, take a look at our tips that will (hopefully) keep you both busy.

Toy Time

Most cats love to play and this is a really important part of their behaviour. In the wild they could hunt up to 10 mice per day so you can recreate the action and excitement for your cat with toys. Cats are particularly fond of things they can chase and pounce on so the dangly fishing rod type toys are perfect. You can join the fun by making your own fishing rod cat toy with the below video from Cats Protection.

Catnip is a really popular filling for toys as it is thought to mimic feline pheromones and often causes cats to become really playful. Around 80% of cats respond this way to catnip so if you are thinking of making your own toys it’s a great choice - simply fill a sturdy material with the herb and sew it together. Any shape works but long and thin shapes are great because cats love to wrestle and kick with all 4 paws!

Cat playing with catnip toyCatnip toys can be kept in a sealed container in the freezer when you’re not using them to keep their aroma longer. You can even revitalise old cat toys by adding new catnip to them or by rubbing it against the toy, or by putting them in a sealed jar with dried catnip sprinkled over them and leave them to ‘marinate’ for a couple of weeks.

As well as playing, you might find that your cat likes to snuggle up with their catnip toy as it provides comfort while they snooze.

Top Tips for Cat Toys

  • Cats may get bored with the same old toys so rotate them frequently to keep them interested.
  • Be careful with things that can be ingested such as string, ribbon, elastic bands, etc. - these are often very enticing to cats!
  • Have a mix of toys that can be used for interactive and independent play to keep your cat entertained.
  • Choose a variety of sizes so that your cat has things to chase, carry, hide in and wrestle with.
  • Use catnip in new and old toys to stimulate play and keep your cat happy.

Grow Your Ownkeeping cat entertained grass

Cats enjoy eating grass, although the reason for this isn't fully understood. Some theories suggest it is medicinal, as grass contains nutrients that cats need such as folic acid. Also, it often causes cats to regurgitate, which aids their digestion by expelling any unwanted fur, parasites or other irritants. 

The good news is that eating grass is totally safe for your cat - so why not grow your very own mini indoor garden for them to enjoy?

Cat grass seeds can be bought from most good pet supplies shops, or online. The most common species are oat grass, barley grass, wheatgrass and rye grass. It's very easy to grow, and only takes about a week to reach a good height for your cat to enjoy.

You can also grow catnip, which is part of the mint family, in the same way you can grow cat grass - although depending on your cat’s reaction to catnip you may want to ration their access to the plant!

For your cat's safety, make sure to remove any toxic plants from your home, and remember not to use pesticides or other chemicals as they can be poisonous to cats.

Feline Furniturecat tower climbing tree

Make sure your cat has plenty of places to choose from when it comes to sleeping. They especially like high up spots where they can watch over everything and feel safe, so make sure they have access to cat towers, shelves or the top of cupboards. As well as high spots, cats love to hide away so you can also provide enclosed beds or cardboard boxes for them to use.

Scratching is also an important part of cat behaviour as it allows them to stretch, sharpen their claws and mark their territory. Not providing scratching spots could cost you your furniture so make sure you provide more than one scratching post in your home. These can be made of carpet, cardboard, wood or rope and at least one should be tall enough for your cat to scratch when standing at full height on their hind legs.

Enrichment Feeding

Since domesticated felines have their meals provided, they no longer need to hunt for food. Cats continue to hunt because it’s part of their natural instinct to do so, and because they enjoy it. Whether it’s a toy mouse or a real one, our domestic cats like the thrill of being 'predators in action'.

One way to replicate this with your cat inside is to try out some enrichment feeding activities. This keeps both your cat’s brain and body active, without simply putting out a dish of food for them to enjoy. You can try hiding small amounts of food around the house, but don’t forget to check your cat has discovered them all!

You can also buy specialist feeders for your cat, however it’s really easy to make your own enrichment feeders by creating something that makes your cat work for their food. Make some holes in a plastic bottle, cardboard box or empty toilet roll (with the ends sealed) and put some dry food inside. Your cat will enjoy trying to ‘catch’ their food and you can experience watching their natural behaviour.

Handmade Treats

Why not whip up a batch of homemade cat treats in the kitchen to use when playing with your kitty? This simple recipe comes courtesy of Battersea Cats & Dogs Home; you will need 1 tin of tuna in spring water, 1 whisked egg and 210g of plain or wholemeal flour.

Whether your cat has access to the outdoors or not, one thing is for sure, they will really appreciate your efforts to improve their indoor playground!

For more information on diet and exercise, visit our 'Helping Your Cat Get Into Shape' blog.

Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping your cat entertained indoors? We would love to hear them so please get in touch! Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contributor: Ella Street, Cat Chat Blogger
Published August 2020

Image Credits: mowli / Pixabay • fan yang / Unsplash