Keeping house cats like Coco entertained

Coco Knight from Bristol is our Moggy of the Week. She is a beautiful Mackarel Tabby, just like our Loki, but unlike his Coco is house cat who lives with her mum Emily and no other cats, so Emily says that means Coco needs constant entertainment.

Cats do not have the mental or physical capacity like humans do to become bored, but Indoor only cats can become excessively energetic if they don’t go outside to run off a bit of steam every now and then.

But perhaps you live in a block of flats and it’s not safe or convenient to let him or her in and out whenever s/he wants to, or your kitty is just one of those rare types that is settled and happy at home, without any curiosity for or need to venture past their own front door. If that’s the case and your cat, like Coco, is indoors only, leaving them alone for extended periods of time, while you’re at the shops or out at work, means that when you get home, you really should make some time to play with your cat.

The stick and string toys seem to be the simple yet effective ones that cats seem to enjoy most, but here are some simple tips on things that you can do to entertain your indoor kitty while you’re out, helping to keep him or her happy in your absence:

  1. The cardboard box – we all know that cats love discovering and exploring new places so leaving things like a cardboard box – or even your (empty!) gym bag – out for him or her to sniff around and dive into is a fairly simple, yet everyday item that most homes have, so won’t cost you anything. Be careful of plastic carrier bags though as your cat could suffocate if caught in one of those and/or get the handles around their neck, which would not be good.
  2. Scratch posts – an essential for every cat parent – try to have one for every cat that you own plus a spare, hidden away somewhere like a coat cupboard or porch or under the stairs for them to take their claws to rather than your dining table legs.
  3. TV – now, although cats don’t tend to watch TV, they do enjoy company so leaving your TV on gives them the sounds that they have when you’re at home and if you can, turn onto a channel that has wildlife or nature programmes on, so they can see birds and things, which should keep them entertained. Another TV for your cat is your window, so ensure s/he has an unobstructed access to the window ledge and can sit and watch what’s going on outside whenever s/he wants to be a noisy neighbour. Also, if you have a fish tank, cats love those are they are fascinated by the movement of fish. If you’re not too sure about risking your cat with fishes though, you can get mechanical aquariums that have fake fish swimming back and forth across the screen, similar to games on your mobile phone, that will definitely keep your cat entertained.
  4. Food dispensers – get your cat to “hunt” for his or her food by using toys that they need to play with to get the food out of. Another option is the timed food dispenser that only dispenses food at set times in specific (small!) doses, to ensure your kitty isn’t grazing from a full food bowl all day long.

Always have some toys in your home for your cat to play with, like kitty balls and mouse toys etc, while you’re out too as bored kitties can do things like climbing your furniture and curtains or using your shoes as a litter tray to show they are not happy.

Thankfully, Emily told us that Coco is a very settled and well behaved indoor feline: “She’s a very clever cat who loves to pose for the camera (as the photo shows!), and who’s learned to sit on command…she learns very quickly, but she’s a mischievous little one who’ll do anything to get our attention, like jumping up onto cabinets and knocking things off while staring us directly in the eye!”

Sounds like a lot of other mischievous fur balls that we can think of Emily, like our very own wee nippers Ripley and Loki.

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