Who doesn't love spending some quality downtime with their cat? Maybe watching tv, reading a book or just watching the world go by. But hanging out with your cat doesn't need to be limited to just cuddles on the couch.
Just like dogs, cats need playtime and enrichment to keep them happy and satisfied. Cats love opportunities to use their natural instincts to jump, stalk, run and pounce.
While we know many cats like to get outside, keeping your cat indoors is so important for their health, safety and also for the safety of native wildlife. We've put together a list of nine games, toys and activities you can easily make at home to keep your cat entertained!
1. Make your own wand toy
A wand toy is a common favourite with cats. To make your own use a long piece of dowel or an old tree branch as the base of the wand and attach some elastic or string to one end.
At the end of the string or elastic, tie a feather from the craft store or a ping pong ball covered in material (you can even add a pipe cleaner tail to make a pretend mouse!)
Watch the video above to see some of our education cats demonstrating their wands and homemade toys!
2. Use recyclables to make a foraging puzzle
Puzzle toys can give your cat the opportunity to search, move and interact with their food. Puzzles also keep them occupied and can mean they have more frequent but smaller meals throughout the day.
A simple toy that you can make yourself is to fill a toilet roll with dry food and push the ends of the roll in so that they form a seal. Then cut small kibble sized holes on the outside of the toilet roll. Now your cat needs to roll the toilet roll around to get the food out!
You can also design a puzzle toy out of left over toilet rolls, plastic yoghurt containers and recyclables you might usually throw out. Use a large piece of cardboard or a shoe box as the base, glue or tape some containers and toilet rolls to the base to the base, cut random paw sized holes and then sprinkle with kitty's dry food.
Check out these pictures of Archie and Alfie enjoying their puzzle.
3. Make a tower for your prince or princess
Collecting old cardboard boxes can be a cheap but creative way to provide your cat with a tower that they can play in. Scatter food in the tower for them to find and leave a comfortable blanket they will love to sleep on. When making your own cat tower remember to have an entry and exit point and cut out little windows to make your cat feel more comfortable. Add toys around the tower to make it more interactive, and make sure all sticky tape is well stuck to avoid it sticking to their fur!
4. Enrichment scents for a happy cat!
Cats enjoy rubbing their scent glands on structures throughout the house. Find a common place like a doorway where your cat likes to rub against, and enrich this activity by adding unique smells. Here are a few scents to try; •Catnip •Olive •Honeysuckle •Lavender •Mint
Experiment to find out which smells your cat loves!
5. Scritches and scratches
Cats are very tactile creatures and often enjoy patting and grooming. They also enjoy rubbing and rolling around on different textures, like door mats and bath mats.
To keep your cats interested in, it can be a good idea to only put them out for small periods of time or swap them out frequently. Go the extra step by adding some nail brushes to areas your cat rubs against so they can enjoy leaving their scent.
6. Get crafty for your kitty
Simple craft items such as various textured paper, string, wool, small amounts of masking tape, leftover material, and ribbons can make a variety of small toys that your kitty can throw around during play time. Include your cat in the process of making the toy as so they can also interact with you during this time. Just make sure you supervise your kitty while they're playing with string and wool so they don't get tangled up in it or try and eat it.
Use an old sock to cover a plastic bottle filled with bells or old buttons. Tie the sock with wool to create a crafty bonbon that your kitty will enjoy rolling around.
7. Ball of a time
Use several boxes glued or taped together with small
tunnels between each box for an inside ball pit. Not only can your cat roll
around, jump from box to box but also toss some plastic balls in for your cat to bat around.
8. Here comes the sun
Many cats enjoy taking in the afternoon sun, choosing to sleep near windows and follow the sun from room to room. You can get creative and make you own sun bed to make your cat even happier!
Glue two boxes together to create height, cut a third box in half to make a bed and attach this to the other two boxes. Line the open box with your cats favourite blanket and you have a sun bed that can be moved from room to room.
Click below for more cat health and behaviour tips such as litter training and introducing a new cat to your home.