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7 Ways to Keep Your Cat Entertained While You’re Away

Kristin Hitchcock

Cats are quite intelligent and require a decent amount of mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. A bored cat can quickly turn into a destructive cat if left to its own devices.

When you’re home, entertaining your cat is often easy enough. With the right toys, you can easily provide your cat with plenty of entertainment and mental stimulation.

However, what about when you aren’t home? When cats are left home alone all day, there isn’t usually much they can do to stay entertained. You aren’t home to interact with. Boredom can quickly set in.

Below, we’ve outlined several different ways to keep your cat entertained while you’re away all day at work, out of the house with friends, at the gym, etc. If you want to avoid boredom and the destructive behaviors that often go with it, performing at least a few of these methods is essential.

1. Use Puzzle Toys

Cat Puzzle toys

Puzzle toys are specifically made to keep your cat entertained while you aren’t available. These toys come in many different designs and difficulties. Usually, they utilize food as the encouraging factor. You can use treats or your cat’s normal cat food.

There are many different puzzle toys on the market. Most of them can only be used in one way, which can limit their usefulness. After all, after your cat figures it out a few times, it isn’t challenging anymore.

However, several toys can be used in different ways or set up slightly differently every time.

If your cat is only just starting out with puzzle toys, we recommend starting with one that is relatively easy. After that, you can slowly work up to harder toys.


2. Toys

Two cats playing with laser pointer
Image Credit: Wanda Lizm, Shutterstock

Some toys can be used completely independently. Toys that can be batted around and electronic toys are often your best options for independent play. If your cat is quite active, you can likely purchase a few cheap batting toys and call it a day.

Lazier cats often won’t give the batting toys the input they need, though. They require your cat to interact with them first. In these cases, electronic toys that move by themselves may prompt your cat to play with them – keeping them entertained and exercised.


3. Cat Furniture

funny cats playing on tree
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Cat trees and scratching posts can provide your cat with plenty of entertainment while you’re gone. Many cats love to climb, which requires a decent amount of mental and physical energy. A well-built cat tree can keep your cat entertained for hours.

However, cat furniture is rather large and can be expensive. For this reason, you probably just want to invest in a single structure – at least a first. A few smaller scratching posts can also be utilized around the house to spread out the entertainment a bit.

You can use the other methods on this list to make the cat tree more interesting after you’ve had it for a while. For instance, putting a new toy on the cat tree can make it all new again.


4. Catnip

cat-eating-catnip
Image Credit: Olga Malinina, Shutterstock

Many cats respond to catnip – though not all cats. Usually, this plant doesn’t affect kittens, so you may have to wait until your pet is older to make use of this method.

With that said, catnip can keep some cats entertained for hours. No one knows exactly why cats like catnip so much, but it can easily keep your cat entertained throughout the day.

You can purchase catnip from most pet stores. Small bags are not that expensive in the least. It only takes a small amount for your cat to recognize the smell and react appropriately.

Put catnip inside toys, on climbing structures, and in boxes.


5. Boxes!

cat sleeping in a box
Image Credit: Michael Dahmen, Pixabay

Cats love boxes. That’s just a fact. For one reason or another, most cats will spend tons of time in boxes – just hanging out. Some cats love to play with toys in boxes, while others prefer to lounge around in boxes.

We don’t exactly know why cats love boxes so much, but they do!

The best part about our cat’s love for boxes is that boxes are basically free. Anytime you order something, it comes in a box. You can utilize practically any box for the entertainment of your feline. Sprinkle some catnip in it or throw a toy inside. Your cat will surely jump for joy when they find it.

Plus, you can recycle the box after a few days without feeling bad at all. When another box comes through the door, repeat the process over again. Every time you put out a new box, it’ll be like Christmas for your cat.


6. Interactive Treat Dispenser

This option is absolutely one of the more expensive ones on this list. However, it is a sure way to help your feline stay a bit more entertained.

The premise of these treat dispensers is that they hook up to your Wi-Fi. You can then connect with them on an app through your phone, allowing you to release treats, talk to your cat, and potentially interact in other ways.

Theoretically, this is a great way to help break up your cat’s day and keep them a bit more entertained. However, they don’t really give your cat much else to do besides eating a few extra treats.

In many circumstances, utilizing a puzzle toy is likely a better option – especially given how expensive these interactive treat dispensers are.

They are far more helpful for checking in on our felines than they are for keeping them entertained. If you need something to help you keep an eye on your feline, an interactive treat dispenser may be a solid option.


7. Keep the Blinds Open

Cat waiting for his master to get home
Image Credit: Vlue, Shutterstock

When you pair open blinds with a window box for your cat, you can provide hours of entertainment. Some cats absolutely love watching the world go by outside. They can stay on the lookout for interesting birds and people walking around outside.

However, this only works for some cats. Others are much more stressed by the appearance of neighboring cats, people, and dogs walking. If your cat is a bit on the anxious side, this step probably isn’t the best idea.

You can give it a go and keep an eye on your cat’s stress levels. If they start showing more destructive behaviors, it may be a sign that the window is just stressing them out.

Related Read: 7 Best Cat Toys – Reviews, Top Picks & Buyer’s Guide

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Final Thoughts

Keeping your cat entertained while you’re gone is essential. A bored cat can become a destructive one. If you don’t give your cat anything to do, they will try to create their own fun – which unusually involves getting into trouble.

Some cats need more stimulation than others. Kittens and younger cats often need more mental stimulation than older cats. Even senior cats may benefit from some extra entertainment as well, though.

We recommend trying many of the methods we laid out above. Your cat will likely benefit from having a few different choices of entertainment. Usually, just purchasing some new toys or a single puzzle toy isn’t enough.

Most of these are terribly inexpensive – or even free!

We hope you were able to identify a couple that may be useful at keeping your cat entertained when you’re unavailable.


Featured Image Credit: Flensshot, Pixabay

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!