Five Tips To Entertain And Exercise Indoor Cats

Many cat lovers keep their cats inside because indoor cats are less likely to be lost, injured, or catch an infection. Yet, unfortunately, these same cats may be prone to other problems if their owners are not vigilant in keeping their pets active and engaged.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, as many as 50 percent of all cats, especially indoor cats, suffer from obesity in North America. This condition contributes to other problems, including diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, and even cancer.

“The solution is surprisingly simple,” says Kristi Pritchett, founder of “Helping kittens and cats become active and engaged as early in life as possible will extend their years and the quality of their lives.”

In fact, cat lovers who play with their pets reinforce that not all cat-owner interactions should be tied to treats or food. And all it takes is a little time, education, and imagination to provide adequate exercise, entertainment, and enrichment indoors.


Food Puzzles | Treat-based puzzles for cats are increasing in popularity because many feline friends enjoy food rewards. Puzzles range from simple slow feeders to interactive cat toys with food rewards. These innovative feeders not only prevent them from rushing their meals but also stimulate their minds.

Cardboard Boxes | Children aren’t the only ones who find hours of entertainment inside cardboard boxes. Cats love them because they have exciting smells and textures. But more than that, pet psychologists believe boxes provide cats with a sense of security from predators and a good vantage point to stalk potential prey.

Cat Furniture | Scratching posts and benches weren’t just designed to help cat lovers save their furniture. Scratching allows cats to remove an outer layer from their nails, stretch their feet, mark territory, and release stress. Cat trees take scratching to the next level, adding gym elements, jumping platforms, and other fun features.

Window Views | There are several reasons cats love windows. In addition to getting a glimpse of the outside world, they enjoy the sunshine, warmth, and reflections. Keeping a windowsill clear and a well-placed outdoor bird feeder will keep them entertained for long periods. (Fish tanks are equally entertaining!)


Cat Toys | There are dozens of inventive toys made specifically for cats. Toy mice, feathered toys, balls of string, and laser pointers tend to round out the feline favorites. While most cat lovers purchase such toys to help increase exercise, studies have shown that playtime can also increase the cat’s bond with humans and stimulates good behavioral habits.

All cat lovers have to remember that cats tend to be most active at dawn and dusk, so scheduling play time around those times is more engaging for short periods. Most cats prefer shorter play sessions of about 10-15 minutes. Kittens and younger cats may engage in ten play sessions daily, while older cats might only be interested in two or three.

If you are unsure if your cat is interested in playing with you, don’t worry. Cats are well-known for communicating they’re interested. A bored cat will show no interest or even walk away. An annoyed cat might bit, scratch, hiss, or fold their ears. A panting cat is a good sign they need a rest.

“Along with playtimes, it might be worthwhile to explore leash training,” says Pritchett. “There are more special harnesses on the market that are made specifically for walking cats. Just don’t be overly concerned if your cat doesn’t take to it.”

Cat lovers interested in leash training should try easing their cat into a harness. Give them a chance to become used to the idea. If they don’t take to it, don’t force them. If they do, ensure the cat has had appropriate tests, vaccines, and flea and tick treatments before taking them outdoors.


Another solution to helping indoor cats enjoy some time outdoors is the growing number of innovative escape-proof enclosures with horizontal and vertical climbing spaces (special ladders, hammocks, castles, catios, etc.). Some of them are intricate enough to simulate outdoor cat life.

“Ideally, you want to engage them as young as possible because it can be a little more challenging to excite overweight cats who are already spending most of their time eating and sleeping,” Pritchett said. “But don’t give up. If they are already overweight, this is the perfect time to introduce food puzzles or place their food on an elevated platform that requires more effort.”

Once your cat expresses interest in specific activities or patterns of play, make sure to include this information in their Pet Records so friends, family, and pet sitters can help maintain consistency during any time away from their owners. It will help reduce pet stress and help the cat and pet sitter develop a relationship.

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Cat Toys,Cats,Health,pet records

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