Cats spend 2/3 of their lives sleeping. But once they are awake, they love to do something active and fun. Bored cats can get quite stressed and try to entertain themselves by scratching your furniture, meowing all the time or grooming too much which can lead to an excessive buildup of cat hair in their stomachs.
Having various ways to keep a cat busy and entertained is essential for keeping indoor cats happy.
If you’re wondering how to entertain your cat and want to keep them busy, happy and active, then I’m sure you’ll get plenty of new ideas from my list of 50 ways to entertain a cat. Take a look!
Download my PDF list so you always have a reminder of all the things you can do with your cat! Check it out at the bottom of this post.
Provide mental stimulation
(On the photo: Trixie 5-in-1 Activity Center from Amazon)
1. Puzzle feeders
One way of “spicing up” your cat’s dinner time and turning a meal into a fun activity is by using a puzzle feeder. Food puzzles make the cat use their hunting and foraging instincts, so it has a positive impact on both their mental and physical health.
Even though you might love to treat your cat like a prince or princess, it is better for their mental health to work for food. Actually, this study found that food puzzles reduce stress in cats and make them less demanding. So there’s no reason not to try! Your cat will be more physically active, healthier and less stressed!
Start with a “basic” puzzle feeder. When Kitty gets used to it and no longer finds it challenging, switch to one that is more complex. If you want to save money, you can also make puzzle feeders at home using household items such as empty toilet paper rolls – check out #10 for DIY cat toy ideas.
2. Hide the food in new locations
Make your cat work for food! Now, I don’t mean they should help you with the house chores (Wouldn’t that be great, though?!). Rather, make their feeding time a bit more challenging.
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Next time you’re about to feed your cat, why not make things more interesting by hiding their food? Try putting the food in a few different places so your cat will have to put their nose to work and hunt it down. As felines have natural predatory instincts, they’ll be able to tap into their inner hunter.
You can also do this hiding game with treats. Put treats in places that are not that easily accessible, which will encourage your feline to put in some effort to capture their “prey. However, make sure you don’t overdo it with the treats – they shouldn’t account for more than 5% of your cat’s daily diet!
3. Put food in a kitty KONG
The KONG interactive toy is very popular with dog parents that can also be used for cats. The company makes a smaller version for cats too, which is great for entertaining cats because it bounces around unpredictably. It does, however, only work with larger cat treats since regular sized treats fall out too easily.
4. Put kibble or treats inside an egg carton
You probably have an egg carton in your home right now. When it’s empty, don’t throw it away! Use it instead for treats, placing it inside the carton, and let your feline work to get the treats out.
5. Teach your cat some tricks
Cats may not be quick learners like their canine counterparts, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to train them! You might need to spend a bit more time but it can be done.
Give these cat tricks a try! Teach them to:
- come when called
Always use positive reinforcement and delicious but healthy treats such as chicken or turkey to reduce the likelihood of kitty putting on a few extra pounds!
6. Searching for food scent
Rub lunch meat on old socks or small pieces of fabric to add a yummy scent. Then, hide these meat-scented treats throughout the house. Your cat will enjoy using their nose to track the source of the scent.
7. Make a labyrinth out of boxes
By connecting a few boxes and making doors or “passageways” between each box, you can make an exciting labyrinth where your cat can hide and play.
8. Shell game
Have you seen that popular video of a cat kicking ass in the shell game? You can try playing this with your cat, which encourages them to exercise their brain at the same time. Who knows, you might discover your cat is a genius! Try it out with your cat, it’s easy! Use 3 plastic cups such as empty yogurt containers, and a small ball, or pretty much anything that rolls around.
9. Fetching a ball
Some cats love to play fetch. It’s not only for dogs! Try throwing a ball near your cat and see if they’ll kick it back to you.
10. ‘Which hand has the food’ game
You’re probably familiar with this game, but when you’re playing with a feline, it’s best to use a treat instead of a penny or other things we usually play this with.
Put your hands in front of the cat so they can see which hand the treat is in. Then, place your hands behind your back and put your treat in another hand or leave it where it is. At this point, let your cat decide which hand has the treat. It’s a pretty simple and fun game for both of you.
11. Hide and seek
Hide, call your cat and wait until they find you. If your cat is not very interested, you can take a slice of lunchmeat with you to motivate them.
12. Drag your cat on a slippery material
If you have some kind of old blanket or sheet that you don’t mind dragging on the floor, you can get your cat to climb on the blanket and drag them around the house! If the cat doesn’t want to get on the blanket, maybe she’ll be interested in chasing it around!
13. Playing games on smartphone
Technology has come such a long way that we can even get cat entertainment apps for our furry feline! You can try some of these 7 apps for cats to play. Your cat can catch mice, bugs, fish or even laser pointers on your mobile phone.
14. Move a stick under the door
Use some kind of thin stick or a string and move it under the door. When your cat runs for it and almost catches it, pull it away.
If you want to provide your cat with some top-notch entertainment, there are many cat toys designed to awaken your cat’s predatory instinct, keeping them entertained and occupied for hours. Try your hand at creating cat toys or choose some of the hundreds of different interactive cat toys on the market.
15. Alternate your cat’s toys
To prevent your cat from getting bored with their toys, hide a few toys for a little while. When those toys “reappear”, they will be more fun. Always have a few toys hidden so when your cat gets bored with their “old” toys you can get the hidden ones out.
16. Throw elastic hair bands
When I was a kid, I loved launching hair bands in the air and running to catch them. It is still fun to do it, especially when your cat is so excited to catch them! Try throwing two at a time too!
17. Make foil balls
This is one absolutely simple cat toy that will keep your cat occupied for some time. Just make sure the foil has no food scent so the cat doesn’t try to eat it and supervise them while they play with the ball. You can also put the tape on the foil ball to make it more durable and the cat will not be able to nibble on the foil.
18. Laser pointer
Cats would do anything to finally catch that laser point, even if it sometimes means knocking things over and sliding all over the room in hot pursuit. But it is worth it because it makes an excellent exercise while keeping your feline friend entertained.
19. Ping pong ball in a bathtub
Such a simple game and so much fun! The ball will bounce everywhere while the cat is trying hard to catch it.
20. Drag shoelaces across the room
Cats don’t need a lot to be entertained. Sometimes something as simple as shoelaces will do. Drag your shoelaces across the floor and watch your kitty enjoy while trying to chase them.
21. Bottle rings
You know those things that detach from the bottle cap when you first open it? Don’t throw those away because they can make a great toy for your cat! Give it to your cat so they can push it around and play with it.
22. Put stuffing or catnip in old socks
Use an old sock to put catnip or simply a piece of material inside, and tie it with a string or sew the opening. This makes a really simple and fun cat toy.
23. Make paper balls
Another extra simple toy that will keep your feline entertained. Simply crumple a paper into a ball and give it to your kitty to toss it around.
24. A balloon
Even though there is a possibility that your cat will pierce the ballon, it is worth a try because it can be a lot of fun for your cat to try to catch the balloon. Jou can tie something to a balloon so that it doesn’t go up to the sealing.
25. Remote control or a motion toy to chase
There are many motion cat toys that cats love to play with for hours, such as SmartKat Cat Toy, or if you have kids and they have remote control toys, they can also work great at entertaining your cat while also entertaining your kid. Double win!
26. Hang toys around the room
Put hanging toys in different parts of the apartment. For example, a toy can hang from the door handle, another one from the coffee table etc. So when the cat is walking by it will motivate them to play with it.
27. Wand toy
Wand toys are very popular among the cat nation and you can easily make one yourself with a stick, a string and something attached to it. You can take a look at the DIY cat toy wand from my collection of 10 easy DIY cat toys.
Avoid dangerous items as toys such as:
- rubber bands
- anything else that is too small and your cat might eat it
Encourage exercise, climbing and exploring
28. Put boxes around the room
It’s no secret that cats love boxes and, according to research, boxes reduce stress levels in cats. Boxes not only provide a great hiding place but can make a great playroom. Your cat will enjoy jumping in and out of the box, lurking from the inside and other crazy things cats do with boxes.
You can also put boxes to use and make this simple DIY playhouse.
29. Cat tower or shelves to climb on
Cats love to climb and they love to keep an eye on everything from an elevated point of view. You can install the shelves on the wall for your cat to climb on.
A cat tree would also make a great addition to your cat’s entertainment and by having these areas where the cat can climb and jump to, there’s a smaller chance they will go on the kitchen counter and the table.
30. Fill the box with balls or cloth
If you have pieces of cloth that you don’t mind getting cat hair on, or even better – if you have a bunch of plastic balls, you can fill the box with those and let your cat dig, explore, sniff and enjoy!
31. Leave paper bags and packaging out
When you get home from shopping with a bunch of paper bags, leave those in the room for your cat to explore before you throw them away.
32. Make a cat tent
Cats love to have a hiding place. Ask our cat Minka. Since we made her a pet teepee we barely see her 🙂 She is always inside sleeping and resting! If you are willing to take that risk too, you can easily make a simple cat tent where your cat can go to hide and rest.
33. Make a blanket fort
Did you also make blanket forts when you were a child? I sure was and we had a great time building those and “living” in them!
If you want to refresh your memory of those fun childhood times and have fun with your cat, get those blankets out and start building the fort! Your cat will love hiding inside together with you.
34. Take your cat for a walk
If you have an indoor cat, you can take them for a walk on a leash. If your yard is closed, you might be able to get your cat out without the leash. Fortunately, where I live there are no roads with big traffic nor coyotes or any big threats so my cats are allowed to run around without a leash but they never go far from the house.
If you are not comfortable having your cat out without the leash or there are potential dangers around, it’s better to be on the safe side and use the leash. It is especially important to use a leash for your cat’s first visit outside, when you don’t know how they will react to the outdoors.
35. Make a cat catio
If your cat is an indoor cat only, chances are they will get bored from time to time. Cats like to run around, explore new things and see what the outside world offers, so a cat catio is a great way to allow your cat some outdoor time while keeping them safe.
If you’re not familiar with how cat catios work, it is basically a small enclosed outdoor space connected to your house so your cat can walk into it from the house and enjoy the outdoors. If your living conditions allow it, consider making a catio for your cat.
36. Agility course / indoor playground
Use pieces of furniture and household items to make an agility course where your cat has the jump, wriggle and bypass things. This will make the perfect exercise, plus it is a lot of fun.
You can also hide treats so that your cat has to do make an effort to get to the well-deserved treat.
37. Cuddling time
There’s no better antistress session than cuddling with your kitty while they soothe you with their purrs and warm paws. Enjoy it!
38. Brushing your cat
Brushing your cat can be a great way of bonding and enjoying each other’s company. That is if your cat likes to be brushed. If they do, then you’ll get rid of excess cat hair that would end up all over the apartment, while you’re spending some quality time with your cat.
39. Talk to your cat
If you don’t already do this (I do), this is a great way to relax while you also give attention to your cat who might even talk back to you with their precious meows!
40. Give your cat a massage
That is if they let you! My Okica and Minka are not interested in things like that but your cat might be up for it! Instead of petting your cat as you usually do, give your cat the best massage ever.
Other ways to entertain your cat
(On the photo: Nature’s Hangout Window Bird Feeder from Amazon)
41. Put bird feeder at the window
Your cat will enjoy spending time watching the birds as they feed from the bird feeder attached to the window. It will be like their own cat HD TV! This is also a great way to keep your cat busy while you’re at work.
42. Provide a nice view on the outside
If you have a bit of room in front of your window, put the cat bed there so your cat can enjoy watching the world go by through the window.
If there’s not enough room to put the bed, I’ve seen a practical cat bed on Amazon that can be attached to the window with suction cups. This way your cat will get to enjoy the view while soaking up the sun.
43. Hire a pet sitter or get your family member to check on your cat
When you are away for long such as an entire day, your cat might start to miss your company and interacting with someone so having a sitter or a family member visit your cat once a day would help a lot. Try not to leave your cat by themselves for too long and especially not longer than 24 hours!
44. Plant an indoor cat garden
Cats love to chew cat grass but if they live indoors only, they don’t get that chance. Even though cats throw up after eating a lot of grass, it is actually really good for them. When they throw up, they also clear their digestive tract from any indigestible matter and also their own fur.
Growing cat grass in your house is really easy – you can see how to do it at Balcony Garden. But don’t confuse cat grass with other houseplants because many houseplants can be toxic to cats.
45. Play music to your cat
It seems that cats enjoy classical music the most, while rock and roll is not their favorite genre.
When you play music for your cat, keep it on low volume so it doesn’t irritate them, and observe their reactions because the type of music you like might not be the best choice for your feline.
46. Play videos that entertain cats
Technology doesn’t have to be for humans only! There are a bunch of awesome videos made for cats on YouTube that your cat would love to watch!
You can check this YouTube channel dedicated to cats or try some of these videos with birds:
- Birds and Squirrel Fun in December
- The Ultimate Videos of Birds for Cats To Watch
- Bird Sounds & Song Extravaganza
47. Give your cat some catnip
Most cats like catnip and enjoy it very much. If your cat never had catnip, treat them with some of this exciting herb and see how they react. Most probably, your cat will be very amused! And so will you, because your cat will act even funnier that usually!
48. Make small catnip pillows
I’ve seen these small catnip filled pillows all over the Pinterest and they are totally cute. You can do one yourself if you know how to sew – you simply sew a small rectangle and fill it with catnip. The smell of catnip will get your cat hyper excited!
49. Use sisal rope to make more places to scratch
Put sisal rope around a piece of furniture so your cat has more places to scratch. This is also a good idea if your cat likes to scratch the furniture. If they have more places to sharpen their nails, they’ll not use your furniture as much.
You can get sisal rope for a few dollars and glue it around the coffee table leg, a piece of wood, or something else that can be used as a scratcher.
50. Have a party for your cat
Ok, this one is a bit more extreme but if your cat likes it, why not? You can prepare one special day for your furry feline!
Remeber that this party is for your cat and not you so you must do everything that your cat would enjoy and not you. For example, don’t invite a bunch of your friends because your cat couldn’t care less about them.
Let’s think… What does your cat love to do?
You can get a bunch of new boxes that you’ll place all over the room, get balloons for them to play with, make a few balls out of paper, decorate the apartment with colorful strings, play games…
Treat your cat with their favorite food and treats and just spend the day humoring your cat as they are a prince or a princess and you are their slave (so nothing different than any other day :D).
Or maybe adopt another cat?
If you’re very busy and away for a big part of the day and you only have one cat, they can easily get bored and lonely. You might want to consider adopting another cat to keep it company.
But keep in mind that some cats get used to being alone and can react negatively if you suddenly bring another cat into “their territory”. That is why you need to introduce two cats slowly to make sure they get accustomed to each other.
Spending quality time together = happy kitty
At the end of the day, the most important thing to keep your cat entertained and happy is to give them your loving attention every day. Cats might not seem as attached to humans as dogs but that doesn’t mean they don’t want out companionship.
Make sure to play with your cat for at least 10 minutes a day so you can develop a deep bond with your cat and keep them from getting bored out of their mind. If having a job or/and a family takes most of your day, it can easily happen that you don’t get to spend enough quality time with your cat every day. But 10 minutes is always possible to squeeze into your day, be it before you go to sleep, after dinner or first thing in the morning, while you sip your morning coffee.
I hope this list gave you some new ideas of all the things you can do to entertain your cat. If you liked the list, don’t forget to download your free 2-page printable with a list of 50 ways to entertain a cat so that you always have a reminder!