In a perfect world, we’d take our pets everywhere we go. Unfortunately, be it work, taking the kids to school or out doing errands or having a little fun, there are times when your cat will be home alone. But just because they don’t have you to play with, doesn’t mean they have to be bored.

Here are some ways to keep your cat entertained while you’re out of the house.

1. Food puzzles and toys

If your feline friend is food motivated, then treat based puzzles can be a fun, low maintenance way of keeping your cat entertained (and fed). The typical food puzzle is a sphere that can be laden with cat treats which only release when your kitty has figured out the correct method, stimulating both their body and mind.

For cats that are more into the hunt than the prize, toys like the SmartCat Peek-A-Prize allow you to stuff a box with plush toys that your cat can then ‘hunt’ by flipping them out of the box through the holes. It engages their natural hunting instincts and can keep them playing for hours.

Super smart cats might figure a single puzzle out over time, but there’s always plenty of new and challenging products on the market. Just remember to factor these treats into your cat’s diet plan to avoid overeating.

2. Cardboard boxes

Most cats love to play in boxes. Whether it’s bounding in and out of them, playing hide and seek, using it as a fort, sled or just generally using it as a play toy, the simple cardboard box is a fun, cheap and easily obtainable item to keep your cat engaged and entertained while you are at work. Not only are they easy to come by, they pose little risk to your kitty (and the furniture), and can be easily replaced once your current box is a broken mess.

3. Paper and paper bags

The crinkling sound of paper and it’s ability to change shape makes for an engaging, low cost material that your cat will just love. Leave a few pieces artfully scattered around the house so your kitty can stumble across them throughout the day.

Paper bags are also fun. Like cardboard boxes, your kitty can pounce in and out and tear holes to use as tunnels. Just remember to remove any handles attached to the paper bag, as they can be a choking hazard.

4. Cat specific furniture

Your cat is a member of the family, so they deserve their own furniture. At its most basic, cat furniture includes:

Cat trees include a combination of scratching posts, jungle gym, hide-y holes and a host of other features. They come in a variety of configurations and will keep your cat happy and engaged. Check out your local pet store for these. To make these cat furnishings even more enticing, sprinkle some high-quality catnip on to the furniture. 

Cat trees and other cat specific furniture can also help protect your human sized furniture. With a bit of training your cat will take out their natural kitty instincts on their tree, rather than on your couches and chairs.

5. A room with a view

Cats are drawn to the outside world and watching it go by, particularly from an elevated position. If you’ve got a second story with a balcony or floor to ceiling glass, leave the blinds open so your kitty has loads of entertainment outside. Alternatively, install a shelf or move a piece of furniture like a bookshelf close to the window so they have a good view while you’re at work.Other toys are on the market that can engage you’r cat’s attention. One example is a battery operated carousel that holds laser pointers and spins them around for your cat to chase after.

6. Other options

Other options include hanging cat-safe ribbons from cat furniture, toy mice that are not attached and others that are attached to cat trees and can dangle and swing back and forth for your kitty to swat. With a little creativity, you can create a cat-friendly and enriched environment to keep your feline friend entertained.

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