How to Keep Cats Occupied When They’re Home Alone

For humans and animals, variety is much indeed the spice of life. Zoos now realize this, and many of them have redesigned exhibit areas and quarters for animals in captivity to more closely resemble natural habitats, with more opportunity for behaviors animals would use in the wild.

While we love and appreciate our cats for their companionship, they’re largely dependent on us for their entertainment, exercise and mental stimulation. Yet, many kitties spend long monotonous hours home alone, without much to do. Some bored felines may damage your home and belongings.

All cats, but especially ones who are “indoor cats,” stay happier and healthier with mental stimulation and physical recreation related to natural instincts and behaviors. Cats seem to respond well to playtime and toys, especially those that engage their predatory skills — stalking, hunting and batting with paws. Toy selection may include feathery fliers, round crinkle balls, laser pointers, toys stuffed with catnip and even treat-dispensing toys for dogs. Also, you should rotate toys periodically to maintain your cat’s interest.

Cats also immensely appreciate hiding places, which could be as simple as a paper bag or cardboard box.


Multilevel cat trees them to climb, providing high perches for observing their environment or secure catnaps. A windowsill perch with an outdoor view will fill their need for visual stimulation. Choose perches or cat trees that are stable, durable, easy to clean, and big enough for your cat while still proving interesting enough to earn and keep their attention.

Even cats who may be declawed get the urge to scratch. Some cats will scratch anything — like your furniture — while others favor a particular kind of surface. Try to match your scratching post up with your cat’s preference, and she’ll be more likely to use it and use it often. If your cat likes to stretch while scratching, make sure the post is long or tall enough for your cat to do so.

But then again, who are we kidding? We are cat people! As long as our cats are healthy and happy, to hell with the furniture!