11 ways to keep your indoor cat active

Recently, we listed a number of benefits from regular playing with your cat. Most of these benefits exist because play increases your cat’s activity level. With regular physical activity, your cat’s health improves and boredom-related behavior problems fade away. But, hey, there are many ways to keep an indoor cat active.

Can you play chess with your cat? Or are there better ways to keep your indoor cat active?

  • Interactive play is when an owner directs the toy. It is the most beneficial activity for any cat. The hardest part is to commit to playing with your cat several times a day, every day. It’s worth it, though. But if you find this too time consuming, you can play with your cat for only a few minutes every day. You don’t need to schedule this time. It could even be a very short play session before every meal! Your cat will love it.
  • Solo play toys are a great supplement for interactive play, but are frequently underestimated. They are not replacements for interactive play with you and your cat. There are two popular types. The first type is small objects that can be tossed all over the place, like fake mice and rattling or bouncy balls. The second type are toys that are attached to springs or strings and can be pawed by your cat. Quite often, cats jump around and paw objects that are not toys at all, such as pencil caps or pegs. If the object is safe, there is no reason to discourage this kind of playing. A great thing, solo play toys can be left on the floor at all times to catch your cat’s attention throughout the day.
  • Electronic cat toys are adored by busy people. These toys are usually battery operated, and they move without human interference and can hold your cat’s attention for prolonged periods of time. There are many options available, but notable examples are Panic Mouse 360 and Petsafe Frolicat Flik. Watch the video below to see how it works. Note, though, leaving the toy on for hours is not a good idea. Be safe, and switch it off before you leave your home.

  • Remote controlled cat toys are also operated by batteries, but are controlled by humans. These toys not only move randomly, but can be directed to mimic movements of real prey. It’s quite similar to interactive play, but most cat owners would agree it’s additional fun for the human. You do not only have to use remote controlled cat toys (e.g. RunawayRascal), but can also try a medium-sized remote controlled car if your cat is not afraid of it (we haven’t tried remote controlled helicopters, yet). Are you tired of begging your kids to play with the cat? Give a remote controlled cat toy a try.
  • Food hunting provides exercise that your cat will enjoy. It’s wild! Food doesn’t magically appear on plates. Animals, including cats, have to hunt it down. It usually accounts for the majority of exercise done by cats. Indoor cats can try this, too. You could hide small amounts of food throughout the house, and let your cat discover it with or without your guidance. Another option is to let your cat play with a so-called food dispenser toy, which releases treats as your cat plays with it. You could try puzzle feeders, which require your cat to solve a puzzle to receive a treat. IMPORTANT: subtract what you feed in these sessions from your cat’s daily food to prevent obesity.
  • Leash walking is not only for dogs. By patiently training you beloved pet, you can teach your cat to accept and even enjoy walking on a leash. Remember, cats are not dogs. You don’t train your cat to heel. Just let your cat take the lead when walking. If your cat seems too stressed when walking on a leash, maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe providing safe and supervised outdoor access is a better approach. Click the following link to find out how to train a cat to walk on a leash.
  • Cat agility and other training gives your cat not only physical, but mental activity as well. This not only helps your cat stay fit and stimulated mentally, but it is lots of fun for both cat and owner. You can watch the video below if you think cats cannot be trained. You can try to teach tricks to your cat (start with with the book Cat Training in 10 Minutes by Miriam Fields Babineau) and eventually create an agility course in your garden or living room. There is no limit to your imagination—cats can be trained to do almost anything.

  • Vertical territory is very important for cats. It’s even more important than the square feet of your home. Sometimes, people think that their house is too small to accommodate a cat. That is not true. Cats can live in a single room if it is appropriately set up. Most importantly, your pet will need a place to climb and perch, including shelves, furniture, window sills, cat trees, and cat activity centers. Try to create these locations so your cat can jump from one to another. Use additional shelves and furniture as necessary. When you play with your cat, invite him or her to run and jump on these structures.
  • Things to observe both indoors and outdoors is a way to keep your cat active, especially at times when you’re not around. You could hang a bird feeder outside your window. This will make your cat jump up on the window sill every day, and that’s a huge benefit to your pet’s health. A fish tank could be used, too. On the other hand, getting a bird cage to entertain your feline friend is not a wise idea. Your cat will love it, but the bird will feel unnecessary stress. We recently worked with a Persian cat who killed a pet-bird, despite the owner’s effort to keep both animals separated and the claims that the cat exhibited no hunting instincts before.
  • A cat wheel is very similar to a squirrel wheel. It’s just slightly larger. Of course, not all cats will enjoy the activity, but with accurate training and toys and treats, you can teach your cat to appreciate this activity. You won’t be able to get him or her off it, and your cat will spend a lot of energy in this activity. Watch the video below to see how it works. The biggest disadvantage, though, is the price. Alternatively, there are treadmills.

  • Adopting another cat can be the best investment to keep your cat active, but it can also make his or her life hell. Cats are social animals, but can be extremely territorial as well. Besides, adopting a second cat does not solve the problem if your main argument is “I don’t have time to play with my cat. Let’s adopt him a playmate” because both cats will require your attention. If you do most of the above, and are ready to make an informed decision to find a playmate, be sure to introduce the possible companion to your current cat. Having a playmate for your cat can be a great thing, but don’t rush into it.

The best thing about exercising with your cat is that once you suprass the first obstacle, you will discover more ways to entertain your cat and have fun togehter.

Did this start a spark in your brain? Do you have more ways to keep your cat active? Share these ideas with us in the Comments section. Thanks! :-)

Cat Behavior
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