Let's face it, being indoors every day, day after day, can get a little tedious. Even the most lazy cat can find it boring.
Since I'm a foster Mom for stray and abandoned cats, I've got lots of experience with dealing with a clan of cats and keeping them stimulated and entertained. Below are some tips and ticks that I've learned over the years:
1. The best and cheapest cat toy is a cardboard box. You can cut holes in it that the cat can paw through. They'll play and sleep in this box for hours. A paper bag can be used but I suggest you cut any handles so it doesn't entangle your cat. Never use plastic bags.
2. Cat nip. You can grow cat nip in your garden (I believe it's a member of the mint family). Cats love to eat and play with the leaves of fresh cut cat nip. All pet stores offer cat nip toys which can help enliven your cat's day. Cat nip has an analgesic affect on your cat (pain killing) so it can help them if they're suffering any pain or stress.
Cat beds can be purchased at pet stores, or made by folding a towel, blanket, or old sweater and placing in a quiet area. Pet stores even sell perch beds that easily attach to the sash of your window.
4. Cats do enjoy TV and some cats will actually sit in front of the TV and watch, pawing the screen on occasion. There are even bird videos available that you can play on your VCR or DVD when you're not at home. But you can go even better by providing a window space with a perch. Cats watching out the window is the best kind of cat TV and it provides endless amounts of entertainment for them.
5. Switch it up - you'd think that rearranging furniture or their environment would scare or frighten your cats but I find it has the opposite affect. It creates something new and fresh out of the same old boring place and can re-engineer their excitement. Once I left a mattress on it's side in the hall for a few days (I was rearranging furniture). I left it a few days longer just to give them something to play on. They climbed on it and ran behind it and had lots of fun with it.
6. Close off one room or an area during the day. I discovered this by accident and it works wonders for the cats. I close off the basement all day long. During the day they only have access to the main floor. When I get home from work I open the basement door. It's like a fur pile to the basement. They play and run around down there for hours on end. It's like it's new for them every day and because it's "forbidden" during the day, it makes it more exciting for them. In some ways it's like getting to go outside.
In winter, their skin gets so dry that they want extra brushing. I provide a bottle brush toy that I bought at a pet shop. They rub themselves on the bottle brush bristles and they and love it. I love that it's self-serve.
8. Free and cheap toys - paper balls thrown around make great light toys they can bat with their paws. String is good but DO NOT tie it to anything. I have seen a cat get a tied up string wrapped around it's neck and then it panicked - something I plan never to see again (I rescued the cat and it was fine). A really good toy are the soft covered hair elastics. They're cheap and cats love to carry them around in their mouths and bat around with their paws.
9. Cat scratchers - the cardboard cat scratchers that you can buy in pet stores are very popular. What is also very popular for cats to scratch is a tree stump or a piece of wood.
10. Kibble hunt - each night before bed I call out "TREATS" and they all come running. This is an absolute favourite. They know what Treats means. There's a good reason to have this habit. Sometimes you will need your cats to come to you and this is a very effective way to get your cats to come to you right away. I purchase Whiskas (which is really like junk food for cats) and I throw handfuls of it here and there around the room. The cats hunt around to find the pieces. By morning all the bits of food are completely gone.life's events with.