In a perfect world, we’d take our pets everywhere we go. Unfortunately, be it work, taking the kids to school or doing the groceries, there’s times when you need to leave your kitty home alone. But just because they don’t have you to play with, doesn’t mean they have to be bored.
Here are 10 of the best ways to keep your cat entertained while you’re out of the house.
1. Food puzzles and toys
If your feline friend is food motivated, then treat based puzzles can be a fun, low maintenance way of keeping your cat entertained (and fed). The typical food puzzle is a sphere that can be laden with cat treats which only release when your kitty has figured out the correct method, stimulating both their body and mind.
For cats that are more into the hunt than the prize, toys like the SmartCat Peek-A-Prize allow you to stuff a box with plush toys that your cat can then ‘hunt’ by flipping them out of the box through the holes. It engages their natural instincts and can keep them playing for hours.
Super smart cats might figure a single puzzle out over time, but there’s always plenty of new and challenging products on the market. Just remember to factor these treats into your cat’s diet plan to avoid overeating.
2. Cardboard boxes
Cats love to play in boxes. Whether it’s bounding in and out of them, playing hide and seek, using it as a fort, sled or just generally using it as a play toy, the simple cardboard box is a fun, cheap and easily obtainable item to keep your cat engaged and entertained while you are at work. Not only are they easy to come by, they pose little risk to your kitty (and the furniture), and can be easily replaced once your current box is a broken mess.
3. Paper and paper bags
The crinkling sound of paper and it’s ability to change shape makes for an engaging, low cost material that your cat will just love. Leave a few pieces artfully scattered around the house so your kitty can stumble across them throughout the day.
Paper bags are also fun. Like cardboard boxes, your kitty can pounce in and out and tear holes to use as tunnels. Just remember to remove any handles attached to the paper bag, as they can be a choking hazard.
4. Cat specific furniture
Your cat is a member of the family, so they deserve their own furniture. At its most basic, cat furniture includes:
- Scratching posts
- Scratching bench
- Cat trees
Cat trees include a combination of scratching posts, jungle gym, hidey holes and a host of other features. They come in a variety of configurations and will keep your cat happy and engaged for hours. Check out your local pet store for these.
Cat trees and other cat specific furniture can also help protect your human sized furniture. With a bit of training your cat will take out their natural kitty instincts on their tree, rather than on your couches and chairs.
5. A room with a view
Cats are drawn to the outside world and watching it go by, particularly from an elevated position. If you’ve got a second story with a balcony or floor to ceiling glass, leave the blinds open so your kitty has endless entertainment outside. Alternatively, install a shelf or move a piece of furniture like a bookshelf close to the window so they have a good view while you’re at work.
6. Fish tank fun
While fish and cats aren’t always the best mix (especially if you’re the fish), a properly secured and out of reach fish tank can keep your cat entertained and visually stimulated while you’re at work. Fish tanks also add to the interior design of your home. Just be 100% sure there’s no way your cat can get into the tank or knock it over.
7. Another feline friend
Ever entertained the idea of adopting another cat? A friend for your feline could be the perfect solution to home alone doldrums. Obviously, adopting another cat is a big responsibility, so be sure you’re ready to take it on. Visit your local animal shelter and ask to meet the cats. You’ll know best what sort of disposition will match the kitty you already have.
8. Set up a special space
However you decide to keep your cat entertained, a designated ‘play zone’ is important in setting boundaries for where the action happens. This will contain play activities to a specific area, be it a small nook, corner of the house or even just a windowsill.
If you want your cat to be able to go outside (while remaining inside) there are small enclosures available for purchase (or do it yourself) that jut out from the window, letting your cat get some fresh air without being in danger. Pet MD recommends making these areas entertaining by placing hanging toys and bells from the top so your cat can bat them around and be engaged in their special play area.
9. Cat TV
From YouTube for Cats to DVDs you can buy especially for your feline friend, television can make great entertainment, especially for older cats who aren’t on the go all the time. Most of these videos show animals like birds and mice running around. Show one to your cat and if they get interested, you know you’re onto a winner.
10. Skype your cat
In our digital world, you never have to truly be away from your pet. PetCube have a number of cool products that help you keep an eye on your kitty, play with them remotely and even dispense treats to them while you’re at work. And, if the boss doesn’t like you playing with your cat on company time, just show them how cute your kitty is and they’ll change their tune in no time.
Entertainment is good for you and your cat
Nobody knows your cat like you do. While it might take some experimenting to find the right balance, the tips above should put you on the path to success in keeping your kitty entertained while you’re away from home.