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.
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.
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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:
When stuck inside, cats might not get the chance to enjoy these normal activities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Boxes seem to also add to new exploration opportunities, if you mix it up with location.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.