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Four Ways to Keep Your Indoor Cat Entertained While You’re Away

When faced with leaving their furry companions alone during the day, pet parents often suffer from separation anxiety -- not so much from their pets as from themselves and their own guilt over leaving their pets to fend for themselves in a lonely house. Here are four ways to help your cat stay occupied while you’re gone; after all, he can't nap all day long.

 

1. Building the Fun Zone

 

When your cat is ready to play, a special space that has been set up just for that purpose is important. Even if you don’t have an extra room to devote as a cat haven, a corner of a room or a window will suffice. Set up a nice cat tree and/or scratching post that is specially made for climbing and claw exercises. Perches that overlook the yard will also give her hours of free, albeit mundane, entertainment. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can build a sitting shelf that sits on the inside ledge of the windowsill using just a shelf, brackets and fabric, or you can buy one from a pet supply store. A bird feeder placed outside the window will provide hours of entertainment (and maybe a little frustration!).

 

There are also ways to make it so that your cat can go outside while staying inside, with an enclosure that juts from the open window, allowing your cat the best view of all. This is another project that you can either take on yourself, or buy pre-assembled. Start simple: You can begin by hanging toys from different spots so your cat has something to bat around, and place little jingly balls and furry mice on the floor for your cat to bat across the room and play a game of make-believe chase.

 

2. Get a "Buddy"

 

If your cat is an “only child,” you may want to consider adopting a feline brother or sister for her. Keep in mind that it can be challenging to integrate a new pet into the household, especially if your cat is older and is used to being the sole holder of the throne, but it is worth the effort to give your furry feline a companion she can grow to love (and groom). When two cats get together, playtime can really be productive and new games will be invented, even if you are not home to witness them.

 

3. Puzzles and Snacks

 

If your cat is into treats and snacks, a food puzzle toy can be a great way to keep him occupied. These typically ball shaped toys are made to be stuffed with small pieces of food (or treats), which are released only when your cat figures out the right way to undo the catch or turn it the right way to make the treat fall out. This is good for stimulating your cat’s brain and his muscles. Most pet supply shops sell different versions of treat puzzles, or you can look online.

 

4. Soothing Sounds

 

The poet William Congreve wrote that "music has charms to soothe a savage breast." We know this to be true for the savage man, and it is also true for our domesticated savage companions. If you find that your cat responds to certain styles of music, you can collect more of that style and set it up to play quietly on the home stereo while you are away. If in doubt, you can’t go wrong with classical. Stick with the soft pieces, piano and string rather than trumpets and drums. There is also a large choice of soothing meditation music that you can play for your cat. Just don’t be too surprised if you come home one day and find your cat in the lotus pose. 

 

***

 

Sure, your cat is probably more than happy to spend her day alone. She needs her rest after a long night of resting, but enriching her environment with some extra toys, visual distraction, music or companions will probably end up being one of your greater ideas. If nothing else, it will ease your guilty conscience and make you a happier pet owner.

 

Comments  15

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  • Breast guys! Not Beast!
    09/19/2013 03:56am

    Don't mean to pick nits, but the correct quote is "Music has charms to soothe a savage breast".

    Not trying to be a hater, but I believe our society has degraded because of general ignorance and inaccuracies such as this.

    On theme, my huge brown and black herringbone tabby (25 lbs) spent almost an hour this evening intently watching the 'Europe' episode of Earthflight on PBS (all about birds), so I also suggest a "kitty" video of fish or small animals or birdies.

  • 09/19/2013 07:06pm

    Right you are, Randy. I know I looked this up when it was first published, to make sure all the words were right, so it could be that someone popped in and changed it after publish, thinking it was wrong. Thanks for pointing it out!

  • 08/03/2016 10:05pm

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I am stunned and amazed at the word usage and grammar I see online, and, on television. One of my biggest pet peeves is nuclear, often pronounced as nucular. Another issue is 'the gig is up' often called 'the jig is up', even by journalists and TV personalities. I actually contacted the Dr Phil website when I heard him say 'the jig is up'. Instead of becoming more intelligent, we are becoming inept, lazy, insensitive, and, we are unable to speak correctly in our own primary language.

  • 12/28/2016 07:54pm

    Gosh, I don't mean to pick, but your punctuation is wrong. You need to put your period inside your quotation. Just an observation, mind you. Seriously, if you want to be taken seriously, before correcting another, you need to be sure you, yourself are correct.

  • 01/05/2017 06:06pm

    What in the world does "broke my readers" mean? Seriously?

  • 01/05/2017 12:33am

    Actually, you do mean to pick. You apparently have no life, if you have time to spend 'correcting' people's punctuation. In addition to correcting my punctuation, you had several back and forth with a woman who has 3 German Shepherds, and, a Pit Bull. You apparently thought it necessary to criticize her for the way she ventilates her car. You were condescending, rude, and, arrogant. If you were representing my website, you would be counseled about your attitude twice, and, if there were no change on your part, you would be looking for a new job. Do you enjoy belittling people, or, are you from New York.? Do you actually think you improved that woman's life? One thing is certain, you are a very angry person. Had I seen your multiple comments before I thanked you for correcting me, I would not have responded. Grow up!!!

  • 01/05/2017 06:50pm

    Excuse me? I have no life? I am a professional, full-time-employed (for 20+ years) proofreader and, sweetie, your punctuation is most definitely NOT correct. In addition, you point a finger at me, yet YOU feel you’re so important that YOU need to call the Dr. Phil show (BTW, there is a period after the title “Dr.”) to correct him. Give us all a break! Talk about having no life! Perhaps if you worked a real job, you wouldn’t be sitting at home in front of the TV watching the Dr. Phil show in the middle of the day! Instead of telling ME to “Grow up!!!” (again, another punctuation error), perhaps you should take your own advice - and get a job to boot! In addition, you said you “thanked” me for correcting you. Really? Since when did sarcasm become a thank you? As for me "correcting" someone, YOU started it FIRST when you bashed the poor writer of the article, stating you are “…stunned and amazed at the word usage and grammar…,” in other words, being passive aggressive in criticizing the author. Were your comments necessary and on topic with the article itself?

    And finally, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about when you say I “…had several back and forth with a woman who has 3 German Shepherds, and, a Pit Bull” (again, such sad grammar and punctuation). You go on to disrespect, bash, and attack me by saying I was rude, arrogant, etc. This is the very FIRST time I’ve EVER been to this website and it was to read this particular article. You obviously are mistaking me for someone else who has been on here and left comments. Neither have I ever left any other comments here (a little difficult to do since I’ve never been here before!), nor am I from New York. I’m not sure WHY you think I am that person, but you are very, sadly mistaken. It has been, literally, impossible for you to see my “multiple comments” when I’ve NEVER been to this PetMD site before December 28th and, after your hatefulness, I will never come back, which is such a shame because the article was actually quite good and I have no doubt other cat owners will find it useful.

    It is because of egomaniacs like you that bash the authors, website owners, etc., for a small mistake here and there, that destroys the enjoyment for everyone else. Personally, I don’t think these types of website should allow comments, but that’s just my opinion.

    Don’t bother bashing and making up lies in response to my comments above, as I won’t see them; therefore, you won’t have anyone to antagonize or impress (except yourself, perhaps?). Have a good day.

  • 01/05/2017 06:43am

    Off topic, wouldn't you say?

  • 01/05/2017 06:44am

    Off topic, wouldn't you say?

  • 12/29/2016 04:54am

    The quotation marks outside rule is an American thing, not British!

  • 01/05/2017 05:57pm

    It is incorrect. I am a professional, full-time employed proofreader so you really don't want to get into this with me. ;-)

  • Get them a window Patio!
    07/09/2015 05:19pm

    We both work during the day, so our cat Simon is alone much of the time during the week. We got him a cat window patio that fits into the window like an air conditioner so that he can feel like he's outside, and he sits in it for, literally, hours at a time multiple times a day and at night. It's called a "Kitty Peeper" and we're convinced it's made him a much happier, more content cat, and we couldn't be happier with it. You can find them by simply searching online for "Kitty Peeper" or here's their link: http://catswithanaltitude.com
    Hope this helps some fellow cat owners concerned about boredom during alone time!

  • Soothing Sounds
    08/15/2016 02:28am

    My cats enjoy the audiobook series "Hitchhiker's' Guide to the Galaxy" read by Doug Adams, the author. I like it, too!

  • Thank you!
    12/24/2016 03:25pm

    I been thinking of getting a kitten lately. I want her to be an indoor cat but I am away at school most the day. My parents are not huge on indoor pets so the agreement is that she would have to stay in my room in the basement while I am gone. I have been searching ways to get kittens not to scratch things but my biggest concern is the crazy running thing cats do at like 4 am! My old cat used to run back and forth across our house in the middle of the night like a lunatic! My grandma's cats do the same thing! I searched it up and found out it's usually just stored up energy. Well I don't want my kitten running around at midnight but I can't exactly play with her while I'm at school. Thank you for this wonderful website. You gave me some great ideas!

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