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How to Keep Your Cat Entertained While You’re Away

Cats are curious and playful creatures that need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. However, many cat owners have to leave their feline friends alone at home for long hours due to work or other commitments. This can lead to boredom, loneliness, stress, and behavioral problems in cats. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your cat entertained while you’re away, such as:

Creating a stimulating environment

One of the easiest ways to keep your cat entertained while you’re away is to set up a designated cat zone. Block off all other areas of the house except for the space you’ve designated for your cat and fill it with toys, cat furniture, and other fun items. Some ideas for creating a stimulating environment for your cat are:

  • Provide spaces for hiding, such as a cat tower, an enclosed cat bed, or a cardboard box. Cats love to hide and feel safe in cozy places.
  • Provide a quality cat scratching post or pad to help your cat exercise their claws and mark their territory. Scratching also helps relieve stress and boredom in cats.
  • Consider creating a ‘catio’ or a secure pet tent to provide a safe place for your cat to explore the outdoors. A catio is a custom cat enclosure built outdoors, usually in the backyard or on the balcony. A pet tent is a portable and easy-to-set-up option that can be placed on your balcony or backyard. Both options allow your cat to enjoy fresh air, sunlight, and nature without the risk of escaping or getting harmed by predators or traffic.
  • Make the most of your windows by setting up a cat hammock, perch, or sill right next to it. Windows are a perfect spot for your cat to watch birds, squirrels, people, and other activities outside. You can also place a bird feeder or a bird bath near the window to attract more wildlife for your cat’s entertainment.
  • Set up a fish tank or an aquarium for your cat to watch¹. Fish are fascinating and colorful creatures that can keep your cat mesmerized for hours. Just make sure the tank is securely covered and out of your cat’s reach.

Providing interactive toys

Another way to keep your cat entertained while you’re away is to provide them with interactive toys that challenge their intelligence and curiosity. Interactive toys are toys that require your cat to perform some action or solve some puzzle to get a reward, such as food, treats, or sounds. Some examples of interactive toys are:

  • Laser pointers, balls on strings, feather wands, and other toys that move or make noise. These toys stimulate your cat’s hunting instincts and encourage them to chase, pounce, and play. You can either play with your cat before you leave or use battery-operated or motion-activated toys that turn on automatically when your cat approaches them.
  • Food puzzles and dispensers that require your cat to manipulate them to get their food or treats¹²³. These toys not only keep your cat busy but also slow down their eating and prevent overeating and obesity. You can either buy ready-made food puzzles and dispensers or make your own using plastic bottles, cardboard tubes, egg cartons, or other household items.
  • Catnip toys stimulate your cat’s senses and make them more playful and energetic. Catnip is a herb that affects about 70% of cats and causes them to roll, rub, lick, or chew on a toy. You can either buy catnip toys or sprinkle some dried catnip on your cat’s favorite toys.
  • Apps designed for cats that display moving images or sounds on your tablet or smartphone screen. These apps can keep your cat entertained by allowing them to paw at fish, bugs, mice, birds, or other animals on the screen. You can also download apps that let your cat paint with their paws or watch relaxing videos of nature.

Hiring a pet sitter or a friend

A third way to keep your cat entertained while you’re away is to hire a pet sitter or ask a friend to visit your cat regularly. A pet sitter or a friend can provide your cat with social interaction, affection, playtime, feeding, grooming, and other care. This can help your cat feel less lonely, anxious, or bored while you’re away. You can either hire a professional pet sitter or use a trusted online platform to find one. Alternatively, you can ask a friend, neighbor, or family member who likes cats and knows how to handle them. You should also leave clear instructions for the pet sitter or the friend on how to care for your cats, such as their feeding schedule, litter box maintenance, medication (if any), emergency contacts, and vet information.

Conclusion

Keeping your cat entertained while you’re away is important for their well-being and happiness. By creating a stimulating environment, providing interactive toys, and hiring a pet sitter or a friend, you can ensure that your cat has plenty of fun and enrichment while you’re gone. This way, you can also enjoy your time away without worrying about your cat’s boredom or loneliness.

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