6 Quick Tips on How to Keep Cats Entertained While at Work

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Make your home fun to keep cats entertained.

Here’s 6 quick tips on how to keep cats entertained while at work:

  • Allows spots for window perching
  • Add a second cat
  • Offer puzzle feeders
  • Rotate toys
  • Put down some boxes
  • Add scratching posts

Bored cats often start taking it out on your furniture.

Nobody wants that.

In this article, I’ll go through how to keep your cat entertained so you don’t have to worry about coming home to pieces of furniture.

Why Trust This Article?

As a dietitian, I have a background in researching nutrition for humans, but am also a cat nutrition enthusiast.

I’ve researched the literature to provide evidence based suggestions for bored cats at home.

Whilst I am not a veterinarian, I have taken every effort to ensure the information is accurate and helpful.

Please note that this article is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.

>> Learn More on our About Page

How to Keep Cats Entertained While at Work?

Cats like being outdoors.

Animals need five freedoms. Being indoors limits the ability to perform normal behaviors.

The problem is normal behaviors for cats include:

  • Scratching
  • Chewing
  • Elimination
  • Hunting

When stuck inside, cats might not get the chance to enjoy these normal activities.

Research finds humans are the most fun for cats, preferring them over food and toys. A post COVID study found less behavioral issues, with owners stuck at home.

Cats see you as a ‘one stop shop’ for getting all their needs (i.e. pats, food, play) satisfied.

But when you’re at work, that’s missing.

Here’s 6 quick ideas to keep things fun:

1. Let Your Cat Window Perch

Cats find enjoyment looking at wildlife.

Offer a perching spot near a window to let cats look outside. Putting on a wildlife program also offers stimulation.

Cats get bored from lack of stimulation, which includes exploration. Whilst being indoors is limiting, cats seem to enjoy the window views.

A cat looking out a window, which provides a form of enrichment.
Indoor cats seem to benefit from window views.

2. Add a Second Cat

A cat is the perfect boredom buster for a cat.

Research shows more aggression in single cat households.

Kittens are more in need of play as way to build social skills and for physical health. Singleton kittens get bored easily without a partner.

Two cats laying together
The best fun for a cat, is a cat.

3. Put Down a Puzzle Feeder

Set and forget toys (e.g. balls, lasers) seem like a good idea.

However laser toys increase stress and frustration in cats.


There’s no reward at the end.

Cats are hunters, and may need rewards (i.e. food) to feel like they’ve done a satisfying hunt.

Puzzle feeders solve this issue, rewarding cats when they solve the toy. I recommend freeze-dried cat food as a healthier option.

Puzzle toys are better than free-feeding (i.e. leaving a bowl out) as this increases obesity risk.

A cat with a puzzle feeder.
Puzzle feeders are great options to keep your cat entertained.

4. Rotate Toys

Rotate toys every three days.

This prevents boredom from habituation.

Experts suggest that even a simple change of color and odor can help spice things up (e.g. brown mouse, white mouse).

However, most toy lacks reward and might bore cats due to finding out there’s no payoff. A puzzle toy holds interest with reliable rewards.

A cat with a toy
Switch up toys every three days to keep things fun.

5. Put Down Some Boxes

Cats like boxes.

Boxes or hiding spots (e.g. cat cave) help reduce stress. Adding your scent (e.g. a towel with your scent) also seems to help.

This strategy seems important if there’s other animals in the house that aren’t yet friendly (although most cats get along). Catnip is a type of herb that cats enjoy the smell of.

Boxes seem to also add to new exploration opportunities, if you mix it up with location.

A cat with a box, which is a simple way to reduce boredom.
A good old fashioned box can do the trick.

6. Add Scratching Posts

Cats use posts to transfer scent.

They might also get benefit to claw conditioning. Either way, putting some scratching posts down means less furniture destruction whilst you’re at work.

Scratching is a normal behavior in cats. Whilst owners don’t enjoy it, it’s best to accommodate your cats needs.

A cat scratching, which is normal behavior for indoor cats.
Scratching is a normal behavior, so give cats a chance to enjoy it.

Frequently Asked Questions

10-15 minutes a day.

Consider puzzle feeders and toys to help add more play whilst you’re busy.


Leaving on something to watch provides stimulation to cats. May depend on the program (e.g. watching some cats play might be interesting).

A window perch is another option for visual enjoyment.


A recent survey found three things associated with separation issues (e.g. soiling, destruction):

  • No access to toys
  • Lack of females in the house
  • No other animals in the house

This seems to suggest cats want companionship.

Females may be more ‘active’ participants in a cats life and offer more attention (unclear).

A post COVID survey suggested cats benefited from owners being stuck at home during lockdown.


Cats (particularly kittens) get enjoyment from play fighting. Singleton kittens play with their mothers more.

This suggests cats need social contact.

If needs aren’t met with another animal, you’ll need to offer more social stimulation.


Cats, like all animals, need the opportunity to carry out their normal behaviors.

Being stuck indoors whilst you’re at work can lead to behavior issues, if those needs are unmet.

Problems include soiling, scratching furniture, or worse, running away.

Adding things like scratching posts, boxes, puzzle feeders, and window perches help stave off the boredom. Consider a second cat.

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I'm qualified dietitian that's turned their attention to cat nutrition. My goal is to help tease out the science on how best to feed your cat.

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