When deciding how to exercise and indoor cat it is important to take your cats needs and personality and preferences into account. Not all cats will enjoy all the games mentioned. However, there are lots to choose from that will keep both you and your cat entertained for ages.
If you have an indoor cat it is vital that you play with it and exercise it to keep it fit and healthy both in body and mind. Not only that it’s fun. As we know from the many online videos cats can be very entertaining.
26 Ways to Exercise an Indoor Cat & Have Fun
Below I have put together some different ways you can exercise your indoor cats. Not everyone will be able to do all the ways. There are a couple there that I’d love to do but can’t. And not every way will suit your cat. All our cats have their own preferences for toys.
The best thing you can do is to discover what your cat likes to play with and how. Also with cats, they don’t usually like long play sessions so play with them in smaller more frequent bursts if you can. Also, change their toys that you have out frequently, like anyone they get bored doing the same old, same old all the time.
I have also included everything from the simple things that you might have lying about the house to the more complex toys
Chase & Pounce Games
1. Get A Cat Pounce Stick or Wand
Cats love to chase things. You can get a Pounce toy or wand in the shops for them to play with and chase
Advantages: Cats love to play and chase these and they are a budget item.
Disadvantages: Some don’t last long, and not all are very well designed. You may find your cat will play with one type but not another.
2. String it Along
Cats love string. If you have some thicker string you can pull it along and your cat will chase it.
Advantages: I love this as it is simple, easy to do and economical.
Safety: It is vital for safety that you are careful to supervise at all times and not let your cat get tangled in the string.
3. Mice Chase
This is one of Boos favourites. Mice cost next to nothing to buy. If you can get the right ones your cat will play with them catching them and throwing them about. You may be able to get them either locally or online in shops like Amazon.
Advantages: Gives your cat the chance to show their natural behaviour and exercises them at the same time. Also makes them think.
Disadvantages: They lose them all the time. Get lots.
4. Chase & Pounce on Bubbles
You can use Bubbles for your cat to chase and pounce on as this gives them exercise and gets them to move and twist.
Note: You can get special cat bubbles that are safe for cats.
5. Stairway to Fun
A really great way to exercise your cat if you have a safe staircase is to throw things up and down the staircase for them to chase and catch.
Advantages: This can give plenty of exercises. This is another of Boos favourites he shoots to the top or bottom after his mice.
Disadvantages: Some people don’t have stairs. Not all staircases are suitable and may be dangerous is slippery.
6. Hide & Pounce
Another family favourite. Hide and pounce. Take one cat. One bed and one sheet try to make the bed with the sheet with the cat under it. They love it. They will chase things above the sheet or under it.
Advantages: Great fun and easy to do.
Disadvantages: Not everyone likes their cats on the bed.
7. Catnip & Catnip Toys
Some cats love to play with catnip and catnip toys. They will roll around in it.
Advantage: Most cat (but not all) love catnip.
Disadvantage: Cats can get a bit addicted to it so use with caution.
Cat Climbing & Towers
8. Get a Cat Tree or Tower
All out cats, indoor or outdoors have these. Boo only has one due to space. CAt trees are great for exercising and play. Your cat may play on its own, with other cats or you.
Make sure you place near a window or somewhere your cat is likely to use it. Move it around if you can.
Advantages: Can leave where it is to give your cat plenty to do. Are great as Scratch posts as well as climbers.
Disadvantages: To get a decent one for an adult cat they are not cheap. Getting one for a larger cat breed is much harder as well. If you have a small home choose carefully as they can take up lots of space.
9. Smaller Scratch Posts
Smaller scratch posts can also be used as part of the different games mentioned here. Also if you get a bigger one or a fatter one they can be used to climb on.
10. Get Or Make An Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are great for cats they are naturals at them. You can have great fun with your cat doing this.
You can have elaborate climbing courses or simply make up your own.
Boo: My own cat Boo loves his Tunnel Funnel. He is tunnel obsessed so I create mini obstacle courses with several tunnels & a tent and throw mice through them or “scratch” the outsides with a pounce stick to get him to dive and chase through them.
In addition, I turn the furniture into obstacles for him to climb over.
11. Cat Wall
Set up a cat wall in a room in your house if you have your own home.
I think these are brilliant, I wish I could have one for my cat.
Advantages: They are extremely versatile you can mix and match them to your space and cats needs. Can buy a bit at a time.
Disadvantages: You need the wall space to put them on. If you are in a rental it might not be allowed. Can be expensive. Need to get them fixed to a wall.
12. Boxes are Endless Fun
Don’t overlook the simple box. Cats love boxes and will play with them or sleep in them for ages. Get one they need to jump into or get more than one and make a game out of it for them.
13. Use Toilet Rolls
Lots of people recommend using toilet rolls to play with for your cats. They can be used in several different ways. You can simply give the cat the toilet roll to chase and bap. You can place an object in them for the cat to get out. Or you can tie them together and put in food to make a makeshift puzzle.
14. Corrugated Cardboard Is Fun To Destroy
Some cats love corrugated cardboard, they love to scratch and play with it. So much so that you can now buy ones especially for cats.
Advantages: Cats love them. Easy to get hold of.
Disadvantages: Ripped up cardboard can be messy. Needs replacing.
15. Set Up a Game of Box Squash For Energetic Cats
Get a big box and put balls into it. Cats will chase them around. The balls will bounce off the walls like in a game of squash.
16. Use Their Food & Water For Exercise
You can use food and water to exercise and stimulate your cat and get it to move around.
Place their food and water apart. Also, you can place their food in different areas for them to get it, this makes them both move and think.
Advantages: In the wild cats would not naturally just be fed anyway so you are also helping to stimulate their minds and natural behaviour.
17. Hide Their Treats
You can also hide treats for them to find if they like to hunt and search things out.
18. Follow the Leader
If you have a cat that will follow you they can get exercise by doing that if you keep moving around.
Advantages: You get closer to your cat, there is no cost.
Disadvantages: They might not follow you.
Interactive & Electronic Cat Toys
19. Electric & Interactive Toys
There are lots of interactive and electronic cat toys on the market. If your cat likes these they can give them hours of fun.
Advantages: Keeps them occupied. Fun to watch for both you and your cat
Disadvantages: Some cats don’t like the fact you can’t actually get to the balls on some toys. May require batteries.
20. Use Laser Toys
I’m not a big fan of lasers for cats although I know many people do like to use them. I worry about the beam although cat ones do jump around so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
The trick is to reward your cat for catching the laser or you will have a very stressed out kitty on your hands.
Advantages: Cats love to chase the laser.
Disadvantages: Can leave your cat stressed and frustrated if not used properly. It can overstimulate them.
Note: Make sure you use proper cat toy lasers for safety.
21. Play With Puzzle Toys
You can also get puzzle toys for your cat. These are great to keep them occupied
Advantages: Easy to use, keeps your cat occupied and stimulated.
Disadvantages: while they stimulate the mind and give some activity they do not give the cat as much exercise as other methods mentioned.
22. Other Cats Can (Sometimes) Be Company
If you get more than one cat and your choice of cat is one that likes other cat company cats can chase one another around or playfight giving them outlets for their energy and exercise.
Advantages: The cats will keep each other entertained and exercised.
Disadvantages: This doesn’t always work and can lead to fights if the cats don’t get on. Not all cats like company.
23. Cat Treadmill or Wheel
These are brilliant for exercising your cat if you have the type of cat that will enjoy these. Energetic cats love this type of thing.
Disadvantages. Needs space. Nad needs to be able to put away or in another room as they need to be supervised.
Go Outdoors to Exercise Your Indoor Cat
There are some things you can do to exercise your cat outside if you allow your indoor cat some outside time.
24. Outside – Going for a Walk
For cats that are happy to walk on a harness, you can walk them for exercise. This is great stimulation for them as they have sights and smells to explore.
Advantages: Gets the cat outside and gives them exercise. You get to spend time with them.
Disadvantages: Not all cats will do this. Some will get stressed. Needs somewhere safe to walk. Cats don’t like to be out of control.
25. Outside – Backyard Climbing & Agility
Obstacle course and agility centres do not have to be inside, you can get outdoor ones or make small areas yourself.
Advantages: This is perfect for your cat as they can enjoy a more natural environment and show off their skills.
Disadvantages: You need outside space, and maybe DIY skills.
26. Outside – Catios
Catios are the perfect answer for your cat to have some outside time and get some much-needed exercise. Place them so that your cat can see things and they will explore and climb,
Advantages: Can attach to the house so that your cat can choose when to go out
Disadvantages: Can be on the more expensive side.
Always check that the toys are safe and undamaged before giving them to your cat.
During play, supervise the toys use to make sure your cat is safe and does not get tangled up in string etc.
At the end of a play, session put the toys away as many can be choking hazards