Indoor cats need interaction and mental stimulation to be happy. Bored cats can start behaving badly, destroying property, distract you by constantly meowing, and have a poorer quality of life overall. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to keep indoor cats entertained, you can use a mix of them to keep your cat happy throughout the day. A lack of play is the most common cause of a most behavioural problems in cats so it really is in you and your cats best interests to keep them entertained.
How much play do indoor cats need?
The general advice is to play with indoor cats for about half an hour a day in several short sessions. Not all cats are the same and some may need more play than others to stay happy. Younger cats and excitable breeds like the Maine Coon or Siamese cats will also need more play as they have more energy. Some cats can play for hours before they show any signs of tiredness. Multiple shorter sessions normally work better than one long session play during the day.
The best way to entertain an indoor cat is to play with them until they are tired out. It really has to be high quality play time between you and your cat. You are more likely to get your cat to play if you are enthusiastic and give your cat your full attention. Bored cats may need some warming up before they are interested in playing again. Be patient with your cat and experiment with new toys that you can control with your hands to find out what your cat is interested in. Some cats prefer specific toys or movements to be interested and it really varies from cat to cat. Some cats love lasers and others will completely ignore them.
My cat is bored but I already play with them a lot
If you are already playing with your cat a lot, you can try splitting pay into more sessions throughout the day. We think that it is okay to split up play in to smaller sessions if it means you can be more consistent. Even a quick five minutes of play is better than nothing for your cat, if they were napping it will get them up and may motivate them to have some fun afterwards. Ideally, you should try splitting play throughout the day. This means playing with them before you leave for work in the morning and after you get home, and perhaps again before bed. It can be very tiring to interact with your cat while having a busy schedule but playing with your cat is an essential part of being a responsible indoor cat owner.
My cat is bored but doesn’t want to play
Active play is important for indoor cats in particular as it lets them use up their energy and fulfil their need to hunt prey. It can be very frustrating when your cat shows no interest at all in playing with you, especially if you have spent a lot of money on a big range of cat toys. Cats that have been bored for a while can become melancholic, depressed, and uninterested in play. You can try to entice then to play more with positive reinforcement with small treats. Reward them for interacting with you, even a little bit. Unwillingness to play can also be a sign of a medical emergency. Pains inside of your cat may be making it uncomfortable to move about like normal. You should take your cat to a vet if they have recently been ignoring play with you.
If your vet gives you the all clear, your cat may just be particular about the toys they play with. If this is the case, our advice is to stay patient with your cat and keep experimenting with new toys and play styles. Cats are hard-wired to hunt so using materials that look like real prey or mimicking prey-like movement.
Toys for bored indoor cats
Passive play toys are also a good supplement to stop your cat getting bored. They give your indoor a cat to get some active play while you aren’t about the house. Puzzle feeders are also another effective way to make your cat work and use their brain throughout the day.
There is a very wide range of passive play toys for cats. We have found that the nature of your cat plays the biggest role in if they will show interest in it or not. You may need to shop around for a bit before you find something that your cat regularly plays with.
Our best advice for keeping toys exciting is to either take them away for a period of time or place them in a new location or situation to keep them interesting. If your cat becomes uninterested in one of their usual toys, you can tray placing it in a new location or setting. Cats are normally curious of new things. Something as simple as putting a ball track toy on to a bench instead of the floor could do the trick.
Keeping an indoor cat entertained
When you are gone for the day, your indoor cat’s life can become a lot less interesting. Aside from interactive play, you need to give them interesting things to see and explore through.
The easiest way to do this is to put a cat tree or hammock next to a window so they can see the world go by. Ideally, they will be looking at birds out of the window but they can be stimulated by anything that moves. If you don’t have a good view out of any windows, you could consider leaving “cat tv” videos on a tv or tablet while you are gone. Just make sure that your cat can’t damage or destroy whatever device you are using. You can do this by putting sticky tape on the tv stand or putting a tablet into a rugged case.
You should have a range of spaces for your cat to explore and claim as territory. This is possible in even very small apartments with scratching towers and pop-up tunnels. Moving these objects around and hiding small treats in them can make them more interesting in the long term.
Will getting another cat keep my first cat entertained?
Most cats will benefit from having another cat in the house to interact with, although not all cats will get along well. Assuming that you give your cats a good introudction to each other, they could quikcly come to keep each other company when you aren’t around during the day. Some cats just never warm up to each other and will only tolerate each other being around. Cats can keep each other company throgh grooming, play fighting, and even just being near each other. Getting a second cat is not an easy process so you should take all of your near future neads into consideration when making a decision to get one.