7 Tips for a Happy Indoor Cat

More cat parents are choosing to keep their feline friends indoors, so how can you ensure they are getting the physical and mental stimulation they need to be happy and healthy? Our resident cat behaviourist Anita Kelsey explains.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a garden for their cat to play in, or easy access to the great outdoors from a window or ledge, especially in large cities. It’s also a well-known fact that most people with pedigree cats keep them exclusively indoors, which many cats can find frustrating.

For indoor cats or ones that used to roam but have since been moved into a place with no outside access, it’s essential that they’re given lots of stimulation within their own homes. You and I are able to go outside every day and be stimulated by hundreds of different sensations – sound, visual candy and smells, but it’s a different story for the indoor cat who only has its owner’s home as its ‘life’.

When confining a cat indoors, owners commonly make the mistake of providing no stimulation and this, in turn, can lead to your cat sleeping for most of its life through boredom and becoming obese. It’s important to remember that cats are animals and the natural state of a cat is to hunt, kill, eat and sleep.

Understanding your cat, its origins and basic natural behaviour will help you to see what needs to be done inside its home environment and will enable your cat to have the happiest and most fulfilling life it can, especially if it’s confined for the rest of its natural life.

Below are some important ways you can improve your cat’s indoor environment.

how to keep indoor cats happy

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CAT TREES AND TOWERS

For urban cat owners, finding space for a cat tree in a small apartment can be a challenge. There’s also the issue of aesthetics with some less-than-attractive options on the market, but cat trees have a very important role to play in a cat’s life.

Cat trees encourage many major functions which are invaluable to a cat’s wellbeing — the climbing poles double up as scratching posts, allowing the cat not only to take care of their claws and exercise the surrounding muscles but also to leave their scent. The climbing also enables a cat to get exercise and is the closest thing to climbing a real tree (a natural everyday action for an outdoor cat).

Importantly, the raised level of the tree enables the cat to feel secure in a high place away from people and dogs looking down on its territory. Not all cats will choose to be up high, but if you have one that clearly does love vertical spaces, then get creative – your cat will love you for it.


STYLETAILS’ FAVOURITE CAT TREES

vespa V high base cat tree

Vespa V-High Cat Tree

This stylish free-standing cat tree has it all — multiple scratching posts, an enclosed hideaway where your kitty cat get some beauty sleep, space to perch and lounge up top, plus some dangly toys for hours of batting.

Hand Woven Banana Leaf Cat Tree

Cat trees don’t have to be unsightly, as seen with this striking example. With two pods, two perches, multiple scratching posts and a toy included, there’s plenty of room to keep multiple cats happy.

Kerbl Dolomit Tofana Wall-Mounted Cat Tree

If you are short on space in your home, a wall-mounted cat tree is an excellent option. We like this cat tree as it takes up no floor space at all, while still offering plenty of opportunities for your cat to climb, scratch, perch and play.

Pippa & Max Floor to Ceiling Cat Tree

Give your cat the ultimate indoor climbing experience with a floor-to-ceiling cat tree. The best part is that they take up barely any of your precious floor space. This model is great because it has a soft base which won’t scratch your floor and safely bolts into the ceiling with minimal effort.


CAT SCRATCHING POSTS & FURNITURE

Cats usually keep their claws in good shape by scratching tree trunks or fence posts. As well as ensuring their claws are trim, cats naturally scratch to exercise the muscles in their paws and to leave their scent, so it’s a basic and natural need.

The indoor cat will scratch your furniture and carpets if a scratching post or area is not provided. Most cat trees have numerous scratch posts within their design and there are trees of every shape and size that can fit discretely into any décor.

A large vertical scratch post for an adult cat will also ensure they get to fully stretch. Another great design is the cat scratch lounger which my cats adore. Not only do they get to fully stretch out on the lounger, but it also doubles up as a fantastic piece of stylish furniture they can scratch to their heart’s content.


STYLETAILS’ FAVOURITE CAT SCRATCHERS

Cactus Cat Scratcher

When cats and design collide, the results can be amazing! The clever cats at RiverNCats have turned the humble cat scratcher into a work of art with this incredible cactus cat scratcher. Each one is handmade in Vienna and you can customise the flower colours. Such fans are some people, they claimed they would have bought one even if they didn’t have a cat!

Wall-Mounted Patterned Cat Scratcher

Designed by Kitksa Cat in Melbourne, Australia, we love the playful use of colour and pattern on this scratcher, plus the fact it is wall-mounted means it takes up none of your floor space.

Kafbo Bird Cat Scratcher

Designer cat brand Kafbo has created a range of eco-friendly cat scratching furniture in an array of fun abstract shapes. We love this bird cat scratcher which has room for two cats with space to lounge on top or hide inside.

Cat Scratching Post with Base

When it comes to furniture, sometimes the simplest designs are the best. We love this stylish take on a classic cat scratcher, handmade using plywood, sisal rope and a super sturdy base that can withstand plenty of action, even from larger cats.


CREATE A ROOM WITH A VIEW

An indoor cat loves to look out of the window to watch birds go by and keep an eye on their ‘territory’. This is a great way to stimulate your cat and to relieve long hours of boredom. Window perches can be found online in many varieties.

sunny seat cat window ledge

If you have a property where it’s difficult to make any alterations on the walls (i.e. with screws, nails etc), there are window perches specially designed to combat this problem. These types of window perches use suckers to connect to the actual glass of the window but are still strong enough to hold most cats’ body weight. One of the best I have come across is called The Sunny Seat Cat Window Bed (above).


CHOOSE THE RIGHT TOYS FOR YOUR CAT

If your cat sleeps all the time, you will need to provide some stimulation. You may think that your cat doesn’t need to play or doesn’t like playing but you will be surprised once you have found the right toy to suit your cat’s personality.

Playtime is imperative to relieve boredom and frustration — it can also improve the human-to-cat bond. Once you have found the correct toys for your cat, they should be rotated to keep the cat interested. Leave out some fun little toys for your cat to enjoy on its own such as ping-pong balls, open paper bags, cardboard boxes or furry catnip mice.

Most people get the wrong kind of toys, and then wonder why their cat is disinterested. Below are some ideas for the best kind of toys to try out on your cat.

Cats are natural hunters and their natural instinct is to kill things, so any toys that stimulate this type of behaviour are highly stimulating for the indoor cat. Toy mice, bugs, spiders or feathers on a wire or string make excellent toys. Play with them by half hiding them under a newspaper, rugs or boxes and watch as your cat enjoys the hunting process. Reward them with a treat afterwards, or a little piece of meat (their ‘catch’). Another great hunting toy is the Tiger Teaser, recommended by US cat behaviourist Jackson Galaxy. My cats love them.


STYLETAILS’ FAVOURITE CAT TOYS

Interactive Cat Puzzle Toy

Puzzle games are incredibly good for your cat’s brain and body. Just pop a ball, a treat, or your cat’s favourite toy inside, and watch as they twist and turn and problem-solve to get it out. We love this version from Pets Helper Co as it’s handmade from plywood and can be personalised with your cat’s name – what a great gift idea!

Natural Cat Toy Set

They say variety is the spice of life and that’s certainly the case with this beautiful set of cat toys. Where possible, we also like to buy natural, which is why we love these seven cat toys from the Natural Pet Company, made from sisal, wood, elastic and feathers.

Assorted Rod & Teaser Cat Toys

Your frisky feline will never be bored with this mixed set of teaser toys which includes feathers, dragonflies and fish lures.

Pixnor Cat Laser Toy

If you haven’t seen a cat go wild for a laser pointer, you are missing out on one of life’s great pleasures! We like this version from Pixnor because it has three adjustable speeds to suit all types of cats (even lazy ones!) plus it has a fancy-looking crystal design on the top. What’s not to love!?


SEND THEM WILD WITH CATNIP

I’m constantly surprised at how many owners never supply catnip for their cats. Catnip is a fun treat, which harmlessly ‘intoxicates’ your cat for between five and 15 mins, and is completely safe.

The main constituent of catnip is nepetalactone, which is an oil contained in the leaves. It is believed cats react to the nepetalactone because it resembles a chemical in tomcat urine. This is a much-needed experience for an indoor cat and is a wonderful way to get overweight cats to kick up their heels a little!


STYLETAILS’ FAVOURITE CATNIP TOYS

Doughnut Catnip Toys

What feline wouldn’t like to have a bit of sweet fun with these catnip-stuffed doughnut toys? Each one is made from eco-friendly felt and filled with certified organic catnip.

Catnip Kicker Toys

These ‘scratch jingle and roll’ cat kicker toys are filled with catnip and valerian root to send your kitty wild. Each one is handmade using all-natural eco-friendly materials.

Loose Catnip

Why not get your paws on some loose catnip? You can put it in your cat’s favourite toys, sprinkle it around their play area, it can be safely chewed and ingested or, use it on new furniture to encourage your cat to accept it.

Cat Toy Gift Set

We love this gorgeous gift box of cat toys, including a catnip cuddle whale for all your cat’s play-time needs. Inside you will also find a feather fascinator and an eco crocheted ball made from virgin wool. The perfect gift for your own kitty or someone else’s.


GROW SOME CAT GRASS

indoor cat grass

Cat grass is essential and your cats will love having the opportunity to eat it as a normal outdoor cat would. They also love to rub against grass too. It’s easy to grow and you can buy special grass cubes for cats from any pet or internet stores.

If you would like to bring more of the outside inside for your cat, check out how to create a lush indoor cat garden your cat will love.


STYLETAILS’ FAVOURITE CAT GRASS

Organic Cat Grass Kit

With these 2 kits, you will have everything you need to grow your own cat grass at home. The Purr Paw Cat Grass contains 100% organic wheatgrass seeds, as well as 100% organic-rich compost that have both been sourced from the UK.

Catit Senses Cat Grass Planter

Give your cat grass a helping hand with this the Catit 2.0 Grass planter, which has been built with a stable design and is easy to clean.

How do you keep your indoor cat stimulated? Tell us in the comments below! 

Anita is an accredited, vet referred cat behaviourist based in Notting Hill and a full member of The Canine and Feline Behaviour Association. She is also a master cat groomer, specialising in working with timid or aggressive cats. She holds a first class honour degree in Feline Behaviour & Psychology (work based studies) and lives with her husband, a successful music producer and two Norwegian Forest cats. Anita writes regular features for Your Cat and The Cats Protection and is on the experts panel of Your Cat magazine.

50 Comments

  • Reply January 12, 2016

    Angela Colvin

    Awesome article! I do most of these things for my two cats, Oreo and Spice. Though my 12 yr old cat, Spice will not play with anything. She sleeps a lot. Is this normal, is she just getting too old?

    • Reply February 21, 2016

      Anita Kelsey

      Elderly cats do sleep a lot but don’t assume because your cat is elderly that they no longer want to play. The games can be less robust like giving them a little catnip mouse to batt around their beds or even an old shoe lace to batt. Cats can have fun without leaving the pod
      It does sound like they have an excellent carer. Well done.

    • Reply July 17, 2017

      Penny Reagan

      I try and stimulate my 2 cats, Baxter and Skylar with colorful, bright ,fun DIY toys! We have gift-wrap ribbon tied to our air conditioner so it flows prettily in the air. Skylar climbs up on the end table and plays with the ribbon! Very entertaining and fun for all! There is always old faithful, being a laser light! Both of my furry four leggers love it!

      • Reply November 3, 2017

        Penny Reagan

        I recently brought an edition to the family. Rex is almost 4 mths old. Siamese kitty. I need some ideas!

  • Reply February 12, 2016

    Jim Sheldon

    Very helpful and enjoyable article. Lots of good information. I passed it on our Facebook to give encouragement to a lot of other cat-owners we know. Thanks!

  • Reply February 19, 2016

    Jen H

    Thank you for your info,
    Our beautiful pussy bear, is trained to walk on a lead and is taken for a walk every day. We have grown cat mint which I dry and crush for her and placed in silk satchels dangled at delectable heights to swipe.She has a large hand woven cane bowel attached to the wall for scratching, and a special pot full of cat grass she eats 5 times a day.
    I play with her during the day with soft objects attached to a long cord so she can chase. She loves it when items are hidden under her mat, and she digs them out. When I cook she sits in the bar kitchen chairs and I give her things to smell. Lemmon, mint basil rosemary. I do not know how I trained her but she never goes on the dinning table or kitchen bench. So when I cook I give her ingredients to smell. She just leans over and gives them a sniff. Some she likes others she hates , but she loves mummy for including her in making dinner.

    My husband was often away,however when he returned home he always brought me flowers,, the funniest thing happened, because as my husband would start up the stairs me and pussy bear would run down to meet him, my husband would lay the flowers down so we could hug and kiss. Pussy bear always had the flowers at her paws, so she thought that the flowers where bought were for her. When we buy flowers now we put them in a place that she can easily smell them and we of course pretend, that the flowers are hers. Everyone is happy.
    We have a special nest at the bottom of the bed for her.
    My husband now walks her and brushes her everyday for 30 minutes she is a rag doll and furry. We now have her clipped in summer so she feels cool and light.
    I feed her human food, roast chicken, rare finely chopped beef, and fish that she likes.
    I always bring her a flower from the garden and we both always say hello to her when we enter the room she is in. When we go out , we always tell her to guard the place, and kiss her goodbye. We both say good morning and good night, we treat her, like a smart person because she generally senses what is happening before we do.
    When I am sick and just wake at night, she will jump on the bed, before my eyes are even open because she knows I have just stirred. Our pussybear is so beautiful, she is a sensitive smart person in a very nice coat,, go spoil and learn what your cat likes. They will tell you if you have the love in your heart, and patience,,not a big ask,,, and they will give you everything they have.
    To love your cat is a measure of how much you love yourself.Go ahead and spoil that joyful smart little person. If only they could talk. Mine does,,, learn to hear it,, it is interesting what they say.
    Love to all the pussy bears,, you are beautiful creatures.

    • Reply March 30, 2017

      Jess

      Love!!!

      • Reply March 22, 2018

        Jean

        Love what you shared about sweet Pussybear. I felt like I could see everything about all of your lives together that you talked about. Thankyou for sharing. Jean

    • Reply April 2, 2017

      gale christine

      So beautifully shared ~ thank you for inspiring me to be a better feline friend & owner to Doc & Charlie Sheen

    • Reply January 19, 2019

      Cassidy

      Thank you so much for sharing. What a beautiful relationship you have with your sweet kitty. I can tell how much you love her and I feel the same way about my kitty. These are amazing tips–I’ll start using a few on my beloved, Cosmo, right away!

    • Reply April 30, 2019

      BRENDA

      WHAT A WONDERFUL FAMILY. THANK YOU FOR SHARING.

  • Reply February 21, 2016

    Sophie Katz

    As much ‘fun’ as it may be for your cat to live an indoor life – it will never come close to the joy the cat will experience being outdoors sniffing new smells, sleeping in a sunny spot in the back garden, and enjoying watching real-life birds in the trees. Get a cat flap for your cat and stop treating them as prisoners on death row. Would you like to never leave your house under the pretext of you will live longer and it’s safer?

    • Reply October 5, 2016

      Ronja

      Well, of course its much nicer for cats to be outside, but sometimes you just don’t have a choice (apart from maybe not getting a cat, but then the big question is if the cat really were happier being drowned or whatnot if you didn’t giveher a home) when you live in the middle of the city. Not everybody has a backgarden, not everybody is allowed to install a cat flap 😉 we certainly plan to let the cat out when we move to a more suitable area, but right now he has to be an indoor cat, thus I really appreciate articles like this that maybe give me more ideas on how to make his life more enjoyable.

    • Reply March 30, 2018

      Cindy Reynolds

      all sounds good and well till they chase a squirrel across the road and people just don’t slow down for cats like they do dogs for some dang reason….I buried 3 of my fur babies in the back yard before I wised up and now all stay inside all the time…..a catio would be the best of both worlds….it isn’t worth loosing your babies!!!! I have 5 of them and many things for them to get into and climb on and they seem fine….and happy and alive!!!!

      • Reply June 17, 2019

        Delilah Tunnell

        I love my two kitty’s, and would love for them to go outside, but there’s problems here in the trees, big hoot owls that kills small animals. I kept a duck alive until my grandson didn’t put him in his house. So my kitty’s will live indoors till I either move or get the screened porch built soon.
        I love them enough to keep them safe. But I’m learning on here something’s to keep them occupied. Which is very helpful, thanks for much!

    • Reply April 19, 2018

      Terri

      How much fun would it be for my 2 indoor cats to be outside where they can get eaten by the coyotes or shredded to bits by the raccoons? Your comment was ridiculous.

    • Reply November 5, 2018

      Arlene

      That is very harsh. Some of us live in a condo and don’t have an access to the outdoors. My cat is very happy and SAFE.

    • Reply July 18, 2019

      M

      While the outdoors, in general, is a cat’s natural environment, most people don’t live in an area where native prey animals are prepared to protect themselves against cats. Thus, pet cats kill MILLIONS of songbirds each year in the continental US alone, sometimes causing entire species to go extinct. Keeping a cat stimulated (with tips from this article!) and indoors, with trips outdoors under owner supervision, can keep a cat happy, and ensure that your furry friend doesn’t contribute to the extinction of another species.

    • Reply September 3, 2019

      K-Lee

      I have 21 rescued cats & they never go outside. If I had the resources, I would naturally build a safe outdoor enclosure, but that is just not possible right now. From the house we just moved from we provided shelter, food, & water for stray, wild, & feral cats that were coming in our yard. For 19 years, we trapped, fixed, & released some, found homes for many, & obviously kept the ones we couldn’t find homes for, or were too sick or injured to be released immediately. I rarely saw the ones we released for very long afterward, except 2 of our boys-who are now inside with us. They stayed in our yard for a couple of years after we released them, hunting & lounging, & then staying in our small sunroom at night. One day they just started walking inside at breakfast & dinner-we automatically treated them for fleas and ticks & had their shots once they were staying so close. At one point, they simply stopped walking back out. On their own accord. Sound like unhappy, imprisoned cats? Voluntarily becoming indoor cats.
      My cats are the farthest thing from being imprisoned. They have full run of the house, toys everywhere the eye can see and no less than 2 cat trees in every single room-they have a bedroom that is just for their use as well, & plenty of food, water, & litter boxes. They are very healthy, happy, & thriving and all of my vets & cat sitters remark at how well taken care of & happy my cats are. They love lounging in the windows, cat trees, their beds, on top of my reptile enclosures(the reptiles are also rescued), & sunny spots on the floors, & they they are played with & brushed regularly. When I’m in bed there are no less than 9 cats with me. Thankfully I don’t take up a lot of space because since my husband is a big guy and over 6 feet tall and moves a lot, they all lie on my side, sometimes 3 or 4 or more of them actually on me or tucked in really close. As we speak, I have 5 black cats, a calico/tabby, silver tabby, silver a white tabby, a Nebelung, & a brown leopard tabby on the bed with me.
      We have a family of 8 siblings. Their momma recently died from cancer. She gave birth to the 3 older ones outside our other house somewhere but gave birth to the younger 5 in the sunroom 4 months later. We closed off the sunroom once we saw the momma was pregnant again, but at 4 months old, one of her 3 kittens had contracted feline distemper/Panleukopenia. The hospitalization and treatments were astronomical, & although she wasn’t in our family yet-and we had no money after I had been paralyzed, but we had to try to give her a chance. At over 4 months old, she weighed only 1 pound when we finally brought her home & made our only other bedroom a plastic-ed quarantine room. I would disinfect myself before going in, stay for a few hours and disinfect myself after coming out, then repeat throughout the day. She is the sweetest thing ever now! But these 8 were quite wild, & the closest to feral of any of the cats I’ve ever worked with. Even so, 3 now snuggle & sleep on the bed and 3 love being petted & brushed. Only 2 are still too skittish to relax entirely. But even those 2 poor conflicted cats never try to run out the door, or exhibit any behavior that they want to leave.
      In 30 plus years, & close to 30 cats, I have had only one cat run from the house. I saved her from my mom’s neighbor. He was going to shoot her for running through his yard. She brought her to my house & I was with her from then on. After her first year with me, she never left again & became one of the best cats I have ever had. She was never punished for running out & was happily greeted when she came back, even when bearing live gifts that flew, or scurried, into the house. Apparently she thought it nicer indoors.
      I have been rescuing cats for more than 30 years. I have seen the horrific & painful ways they suffer and die. I have had cats & kittens die in my arms, bleeding, screaming, crying, and whimpering from dog and cat attacks, injury, car strikes, being set on fire, gun shots, flea infestations, & disease. I would never contemplate simply letting them roam because they should be free to go outside & lie in the sunshine or run around & hunt. We are now in a very rural area with giant bald eagles, bears, coyotes, foxes, deer, and Fisher Cats. Not to mention huge colonies of feral cats that a neighbor is irresponsibly maintaining. *He cares enough to feed them & kill the coyotes that come to eat them, but not enough to get them fixed.
      It is a matter of keeping them safe & healthy. Of caring what happens to them. They might not be human children, but they are our family. And we rescued them. Therefore we have a duty to keep them safe, healthy, and happy for as long as they allow us to be their humans.
      Cats will never be domesticated, but they were also not meant to be in this overpopulation crisis. If those who first began to attempt to domesticate cats had been responsible, as well as others throughout the centuries-and naturally today, those “pets” would have been fixed & we wouldn’t be seeing droves of cats outside, eking out an existence.
      I don’t judge anyone letting their cat roam outside, I just don’t understand why they would risk, or jeopardize their friend’s life. I also get that some don’t see cats the way I do or treasure the companionship, or think of their lives as anything other than an object that’s nice to pet and look at-and is disposable. And then there are those who are too lazy to keep up a litterbox so they just let the cat out. Just don’t have a cat then. Really.
      Put aside all the bad things that can come an outdoor cat’s way, there is always the damage that cat can do to a neighbor’s yard, or pet. Outdoor cats can decimate the wild fauna populations in the neighborhood. The birds disappear, rodents, etc. That creates an imbalance in nature. The strays in our backyard ate Blue Jays, Starlings, and cardinals. Cardinals mate for life. Leaving one mate is devastating. There were very few birds left around my yard from just the 2 boys who wound up inside. The garden snakes ran out of field mice, and also disappeared. I know several pet rabbits and chickens were also killed, and it wasn’t all from the raccoons(or just those 2 boys), & there were no coyotes or other predators there. This probably doesn’t occur to those people. Or they just couldn’t care less.
      That same contented look on a cat you see lounging outside in the sunshine? My indoor cats have that very same look. Every day. I never get fleas or ticks in my house, and don’t have to spend money on preventive medicine for them. And when the sun goes down, they don’t have to remain ever vigilant. Ever tired. Ever prey. They get to play! Or sleep.
      I am no crusader, but I wish more people would rescue a cat rather than have pure breeds or specialty breeds. Don’t get me wrong, I would treasure the honor of caring for a Savannah, Norwegian Forest cat, or any number of the specialty breeds available. But knowing just how many potentially loving and loyal strays are out there-even if it takes me a long time to socialize them, I just don’t have it in my conscience to pay some breeder a ton of money for a cat. And if one household spayed or neutered one stray cat in their neighborhood, we would no longer have a stray cat overpopulation.
      That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  • Reply February 22, 2016

    Jen H

    Dear,Sophie,
    I couldn’t agree more,, it is beautiful for cats to be roaming and chasing butterflies.
    We had cat flaps installed to allow our Littlebear the freedom to explore.We all loved it until the day she was hit by a car. My husband found her,, to the vet, 5 broken right leg bones and a total hip removal. Our vet Michael Bramely was a magician. I couldn’t believe she would be saved.Littlebear went through 2 major operations. That is why my husband trained her to walk on a lead, he takes her out now at 4 pm her tail and meow also incredulously knows the time. In 10 years I think we have only missed a couple of walks.She is taken supervised to play in the grass , smell the cat mint and chase the lizards and breathe in the earth smell.
    She loves her special, time, she is then brushed and massaged in what we call the spar, for 30 minutex,,then she is deliver back inside and fed yummy food that mummy has made for her.
    She has a window to watch all that is happening outside,,, much happens. She smiles at me, when I show her something going on out the window.
    I also had surgery, I too am surprised to be alive. Littlebear spends many hours on the bed with me,,, I suppose we are both prisoners.
    However we love her and try and give her everything that is outside ,,, inside, so she is entertained and importantly safe. Littlebear is so beautiful, smart, and has both of us caring for her and both of us treat her as best parents can. I hope she is happy and every day I regret she was hit by the car. I should never have let her out.
    I hope all pussy bears inside, are never missing out,,,and also have outside supervision to enjoy and feel what it like to lie in the grass upside down with paws extended ready for a tummy rub.
    How I wish it were a perfect world.
    Love to you and your special pussy bear.
    Love and Abundance to every one .

  • Reply November 23, 2016

    Tammy

    I recently adopted a 4 year old neutered tom that has been declawed on all fours (declawing the front is cruel enough, but all four is just horrible) & just to find out what he liked & get him to playing I purchased feathers on a stick with a bell, a crinkly shiny ball, a batter operated toy that flips a catnip ball in a circle & I have learned a couple of things. He is completely uninterested in playing & totally unaffected by catnip. They only thing he has shown interest in & very limited interest, is a pigeon feather I brought in to him. I am in the process of growing him some grass & I have ordered him a cat tree that has faux branches with silk leaves, resting shelves & faux grass on the base. I will just wait & see I suppose to see if he will become more playful once he is more settled in, since I have only had him a week, he may come around………

    • Reply July 6, 2018

      Geraldine

      Good luck with your kitty. He is VERY fortunate that you found him. With you I am sure his personality and happiness will return. I have noticed with my rescues the changes happen gradually over years! But the first year sees the biggest change. It is wonderful to see their true nature return as they are lovingly cared for.

  • Reply December 16, 2016

    Birds Everywhere

  • Reply February 20, 2017

    Holly

    This is a great read. We’re picking up our cat from the Cat’s Protection on Sunday and as she was a stray we’ve been advised to keep her inside for a good couple of months to get her adjusted, so I’m a bit worried about making sure she’s entertained and active enough in our home.
    Thank you for this informative and helpful post 🙂

  • Reply February 22, 2017

    Wendy Murrell

    Brilliant article! My cat is so timid that she will only go outside when it’s not windy & not wet, and then she won’t venture any further than the back garden. She’s 10yrs old now so I don’t think she’s streetwise enough to go any further & I would worry if she did! I’ve tried so many toys over the years & finally found one that she is interested in playing with, it’s a laser mouse light. I like your suggestions but I would be a bit nervous about the dvd in case she tried to attack one of the creatures & killed the tv in the process lol!

  • Reply March 5, 2017

    Jo

    A good informative post. We adopted 13 year old Ernie from cats protection just 2 days ago. Ernie has just 5 teeth, diabetes and FIV so has to be an indoor cat. I don’t want him to be bored so will try the things I’ve read about, to keep him stimulated.

    • Reply March 8, 2017

      Sara White

      Congrats on adopting Jo – hope Ernie is settling in well and some of these things keep him happy and stimulated x

  • Reply April 4, 2017

    Gabby Small

    Any tips for cat trees that allow bigger cats to play and lounge on and aren’t too expensive??? Love my cat, Jane and I always feel terrible about her being home alone most of the day. She’s part main coon and about 20lbs. Just a broke college student trying to find a fun little jungle gym for my furrr baby! Please help!

    Also, I have the cat hammock on the window and she loves it!!! Great advice!

  • Reply May 17, 2017

    Carrie

    I couldn’t figure out if my cats didn’t like toys, or DIDN’T LIKE THE TOYS THEY HAD…… Turns out they both do like a toy… when they “discover” or “find” one. Seems they don’t much appreciate being presented with a ”gift” from me. Mystery solved! Some catnip helps them get on the trail and ”discover” the play toy btw.

  • Reply June 2, 2017

    Vickie Killeen

    I have a Recycled male Tabby, Murphy, who loves catnip, and enjoys most “cat toys” for a while, but becomes quickly bored. But, he loves his fine collection of ping pong balls, and gets a heroic workout with them. I discovered what a true Cathlete he is when he keeps them in the air and sends them flying. Only problem is when they get lost in dark places. Time to search them out again. What Fun!
    >^..^<

    • Reply December 8, 2017

      Lauren

      My 3 year old cat has loved jacks since she was a baby – rescued her from the side of the road at about 6 or 7 weeks old. She mostly loves to play with them in a dry bath tub or the kitchen floor, but will really play with them just about anywhere. Gotta watch out, though, or you might step on one she left in the middle of the floor! 🙂

    • Reply July 6, 2018

      Geraldine

      ?

  • Reply July 7, 2017

    Dm

    Our adopted cat loves just a plain shoelace and will pounce on it and throws it up in the air. I have catnip mice that is second to the shoelace and is dis-interested in felt attached to a wand or even balls with bells. It’s all about the shoelace and catnip mice. He even uses them as teddies.

  • Reply August 31, 2017

    Emily

    Lasers are a wonderful toy as well! Just make sure you don’t get them in their eye. My only wish is that I could stimulate my tabby while I was gone for work for 7 hours. I know he sleeps for a good part of it, but I notice that there is always something on the ground that was once on a table when I get home. He likes a certain type of spring that I am trying to replace. Home Depot doesn’t seem to have it and I couldn’t take it away from my sister’s cat when we moved away. He won’t play with any cat toys though. He only plays with my hair ties, this spring that I am currently trying to find, and lasers. I’m at a loss for pretty much anything else I can add to the mix. I used to take him for walks outside on the leash but now we live in the city so that’s not really feasible. I’m hoping to get some cat shelves that lead to the windows for a different vantage point for him, in hopes that will be of interest for him. Lovely website by the way. Wish my cat wasn’t very picky!

  • Reply October 23, 2017

    Suzanne

    My cats love to play with the rings that come off the top of a milk jug. Also, my Toby plays with a pipe cleaner. I curl it around my finger to make it look like a spring and he carries it around all day in his mouth. He brings it back to me all the time meowing.

    • Reply July 29, 2019

      Susan

      My tabby plays with the plastic rings, too. He brings them to us and we throw them and he leaps and flips in the air to catch it. He’ll keep bringing it back to us over and over.

  • Reply October 31, 2017

    Denny

    I have two BSH kitten sisters and live in big old London on a busy street where cars and buses roam. There is no way I would allow them outside, they would be injured or killed in a week! They keep each other company; enjoy looking out the window, watching the T.V, running up and down the stairs and playing with my shoes. When I am home in the evening they get a good workout with their favourite toy, a soft jingly octopus dangling from a string and a box full of balls. I would appreciate people fortunate enough to live in a place with a garden and not near busy streets to not judge the rest of us.

    • Reply January 28, 2018

      Jen

      My daughter and I rescued a British shorthair in June 2017. She is two and loves bouncy balls, pipe cleaners, and small twigs. We have bought her many kitty toys but the balls and twigs are her favorite. She was afraid of cat nip bubbles. So, we threw those away immediately. She has a cat tree that she loves. She lays in it to look at the window. I also have the love seat next to a window so she can lay on the back of it and watch the cars go by. She is a joy and is spoiled as much as my daughter!!

  • Reply November 15, 2017

    Sarah

    I am now guardian to two young kitties that I got from a shelter earlier this year. I think giving them a kitty companion is wonderful stimulation for indoor cats- just be very thoughtful when you introduce them to each other. I have a variety of toys for them to choose from, a tall cat tree/ scratching post (to the ceiling) and a window seat. They do keep themselves entertained, but they also love when I play with them using wand toys or cuddle with them on my lap. Each cat is different, it is important to spend time getting to know them.

  • Reply December 1, 2017

    Belinda Preece

    Our little Ruben was a rescue from a stranger. At 11 weeks he was infested with fleas, had ear mites, mange and weighed less than 2lbs. At four months old he is a lover and a fierce hunter. He jumps in the bath tub and lowers his body in stalking position. I throw a tiny kibble in the tub from various directions and he pounces on it, kills it, then eats it. He loves this game and jumps in the tub to play every time I walk in the bathroom. We both love it! I also have a three year old dog. They chase each other, attack and play hide and seek. They both get a good workout. Thank you for these great ideas, we will definately work towards indoor living for my big boy.

  • Reply February 13, 2018

    Vivian

    I have a one year old Lilac Burmese who loves to play – I roll some tin foil into balls and flick them or throw them up in the air, also tissue paper (for wrapping fragile glass etc ) left on the floor near an open window when its windy or if the air con is on is great fun as it floats around or you can lift it in the air to help it on its way. A simple piece of string held as you walk or run, and of course cat games that can be downloaded are a great source of fun.

  • Reply March 31, 2018

    ethanmark

    great if you give your cat a thread ball he/she like most because the thread ball get stuck with nails. when i am bored i try this and capture my kitty video and upload on internet there is my website http://www.imagesforpets.com you can see my cats photos and video.

  • Reply May 21, 2018

    Leah

    My husband and I recently moved. We fell in love with a house that was beautifully tucked under some tall trees. We have three cats who we love dearly and they are solely indoor cats. One is afraid of his own shadow, one is highly allergic to grass and one is highly allergic to fleas, so indoor life is all they get. Little did we realize or even think to consider with this house was sun spots. They LOVE lying in the sun when it comes in the windows, so much we have boxes and beds around the house that are positioned for sun spots. New house…no natural sun spots due to the tree line. After a year we had some seriously depressed kitties that just would not leave our bed. It took that year for us to realize why and we found these sun lamps for animals and installed them around the house to see if they would work? They did!!! So now we have them on timers and new beds and boxes around the house and they now know the pattern of which room gets the “sun” next just like in our old home. We have our bed back and some happy kitties again. It’s the little things. Hope this helps someone else who never would have thought sun spots are important either

  • Reply May 26, 2018

    Bridget

    I bought a bird feeder that attaches to the window outside where my kitty’s cat tree is. I fill it with bird seed and he gets to watch lots of birds up close.
    I also bought a catio for him but so far he is afraid to be outside. When the weather here is just right we will try getting used to it gradually with me sitting next to him so he feels safer.

  • Reply July 25, 2018

    Briget

    If your cat isn’t afraid of balloons, they make a great toy. Just tie a ribbon to the balloon and cut it so it dangles just out of the cats reach. Our little girl (we lost her recently after 18 great years) used to grab the ribbon and run around the house with the balloon bonking after her – hilarious! She always got her own balloon for Valentine’s Day and Christmas:-)

  • Reply October 30, 2018

    Karen

    Unfortunately my two babies must remain indoors for their own safety. Both are a true “scaredy-cat” and could dash in any direction at any time. I live with streets on three sides of me, yet enough rural that I have seen a hawk pick up a rabbit out of my yard. Harley and Lily have a lovely screened in porch they enjoy “at will” 9 months out of the year, so all the critters outside get watched closely! The other months our 6ft windows suffice. Toys are always available (catnip mice, birds, etc.) as well as flash reflections from passsing cars offer a lot of options for chase. Lily loves to play fetch by bringing her favorite toy of the day and dropping it at your feet leaving you obliged to throw it down stairs for her to chase, retrieve and return for more. Harley’s favorite indoor activity is playing chase with his sister, and of course the magic laser beam. Both sleep in bed with me at night-Lily under my chin and Harley at my feet. All in all, I try to give them a happy, healthy life by allowing them to be themselves.

  • Reply February 9, 2019

    M

    I love this article! I have recently bought some kitty grass and my cats absolutely love it and eat it all the time. I would not recommend the Sunny Seat Window Cat Bed, though, because I ordered it and the suction cups don’t stick.

  • Reply August 25, 2019

    Patricia

    You people ever hear of a catio so indoor cats can go outside and still be safe?

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