We live in a busy world, and unfortunately, we can’t always be home as often as we’d like to give our pets the love and play time they deserve. But that doesn’t mean our cats have to sit at home, bored, with nothing to do.
It’s pretty easy to set your cat up with fun forms of physical and mental exercise they can enjoy while you’re away from home. Cats are great at entertaining themselves, but providing them with toys and things to climb and explore is the best way to keep it as happy as can be.
Entertainment is important
Cats don’t just nap all day. They also need stimulation so they don’t get bored and lonely. Bored cats may begin to act out, potentially causing destruction.
Not only that, but a cat that is left with nothing to do may become stressed and could potentially develop anxiety over being left at home alone. Providing your cat with opportunities for play and fun will keep it happy and healthy.
Ways to keep your cat active while it’s home alone
You don’t have to break the bank to help your cat stay stimulated. You can make many cat toys and surfaces on your own or buy just a few strategic ones for the most fun.
Cats love to climb, and giving them a variety of spaces they can scale and explore not only helps activate their bodies for exercise but will also engage their minds.
Try creating a space in your home where your cat can leap and climb to its heart’s content, including cat trees, furniture, cat shelves and more. Make sure each place has enough room for your cat to safely climb and is coated with fabric or a surface that can help your cat maintain its grip.
Giving your cat safe climbing spaces can also help prevent it from climbing onto places you don’t want it to go. You may need to conduct some initial training so your cat learns what is appropriate to climb on and what is not.
Puzzles and mind exercises
Puzzle toys generally deposit treats or cat food once your cat figures out the release mechanism or does something special to it. These kinds of toys not only deliver something tasty to keep your cat coming back for more, but they are sure to exercise your cat’s mind and keep it busy all day long.
A good view
For many cats, the outdoors are an elusive place that holds mystery, intrigue and—most importantly—prey. If your back or front yard attracts small critters like squirrels, rabbits and birds, or even passing pedestrians walking dogs, your cat might have a blast just sitting and watching from a window.
Find a window that provides a good view of outside and erect a cat shelf or a cat tree in front of it. This way, your cat has a comfortable place to rest while it people- and critter-watches the day away.
If you do this, make sure the window is secure and closed or has a properly-fitting and intact screen so that your cat doesn’t get bold and decide to chase after its prey. You should never let your cat hang out near an open window.
Give it a friend
If you’ve contemplated adding another cat to the family and it’s in the budget and within your capabilities, it could be a great way to keep your cat at home engaged! Multiple cats can play with each other throughout the day and have a friend to hang out with so they don’t get lonely.
However, be mindful of the age of the cat you bring home. It’s best to adopt kittens together, but if you already have a cat, you’ll want to think carefully about whether your older cat will manage well with a younger or same-age cat joining the household.
Companionship is crucial
Even with an abundance of toys and fun spaces, your cat will still require one-on-one time with you or a member of the family. Remember that cats may seem extremely independent, but they are still creatures of habit and they do require companionship and attention.
You should never leave your cat alone for longer than 24 hours without coming home or having someone visit it to play and give it snuggles. Even this is pretty long, though, so it might be best to ask a friend to stop by more frequently for a little playtime. Or, if you’ll be gone for longer, checking your cat into a boarding facility where it gets designated playtime can ensure that it’ll get the personal attention and care it needs.