How to Keep Your Cat Occupied While You’re at Work

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 10/12/20 •  9 min read
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Have you ever wondered what your cat does while you’re at work? Does your cat wreak havoc and chaos to stay occupied? Indoor cats need entertainment and activities to keep from being bored, especially when you’re away. Plus, it’s hard enough to leave your pet, knowing they’re alone while you’re gone. Let’s take a look at how you can keep cat occupied while away.

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Keep Your Cat Stimulated While at Work

We’re going to take a look at a few ways you can keep cat active while at work. These solutions come in many variations and price tags, but many are easy do-it-yourself projects that don’t cost much or are free.

1. Set Up a Kitty Activity Zone

Cats enjoy all types of activities—from climbing and pouncing, to chasing. Setting up a kitty activity zone keeps your cat’s activities in a specific area. This area doesn’t have to be large—it can be the corner of a room or even a windowsill. If you have the space, you can create an entire room for your cat to play in!

Things to include in your cat’s activity zone can include a window perch overlooking your yard and the outdoors. Another idea is to add hanging jingly balls in various areas for your kitty to bat around. You can also leave catnip-filled toys, such as fake mice, on the floor.

Cats love to chase these fake critters and carry them around!

2. Wildlife Entertainment

Indoor cats are enthralled with watching other animals, especially wild animals such as birds. You can easily set up a bird feeder outside one of your cat’s favorite windows. In fact, setting up your cat’s windowsill perch near a window, with a bird feeder outside, will keep your cat stimulated while at work.

3. Cat TV

If you’re not able to install a window perch and a bird feeder, another option for your bored cat while at work is Cat TV! There are many DVDs and YouTube video playlists you can turn on for your cat while you’re away. These videos feature birds, mice, and more that your cat can enjoy watching. It’s easy to set up YouTube playlists to play for several hours. The sounds and the animals will stimulate and entertain your cat.

4. Cardboard boxes

To say that cats love cardboard boxes is an understatement, as every cat owner knows! Put down almost any box and watch your cat commandeer it in only a few minutes. Cardboard boxes give cats a place to hide and destress, while also offering cover to pounce on whatever or whoever goes by. Cats creatively use boxes for sledding across the floor, as a fort and much more.

Not only do cats love them, but cardboard boxes are safe (remove any staples or other parts that could injure your cat) and easy to come by. Better yet, they’re also cheap (usually free) and easy to replace.

5. Paper Bags and Paper

Another favorite of cats are paper bags and paper. Cats will pounce into and slide on paper, use paper bags as a haven or a hiding place and more. Your cat may also enjoy shredding the paper. While this creates a mess, it’s better your kitty uses this paper, rather than the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, or the paper towels on the kitchen counter. As with cardboard boxes, remove anything from the paper or paper bags that could cause a choking hazard or other injury to your cat (handles, staples, tape, etc.).

6. Music and Sounds for Your Cat

Is your cat anxious while you’re away? Then some calming sounds and music developed especially for cats may help. Researchers  have found that cats don’t always respond to human music, but they will respond to music and sounds developed for cats. Here, again, you can find cat music on YouTube and put together playlists  that offer hours of music for your cat while you’re at work.

7. Cat Furniture

Cat furniture is another way to keep cat occupied while away. Cat furniture includes cat trees, scratching posts and scratch benches/perches. Furniture made especially for your cat needs to be durable and sturdy, and balanced (to keep it from toppling over). Cat furniture is typically covered with a rough material (such as carpet or jute) and provides a place for cats to use their natural urge to scratch.

Cats need to scratch in order to mark their territory, clean their claws, etc.

Scratching posts and benches are simple. The scratching post is usually just a wooden post covered with a rough material. Scratching benches and perches offer your kitty a place to sit and/or scratch.

Cat trees, also known as kitty condos or cat towers, are generally made of wood covered by rough material. These offer different levels for your cat to play, sleep, exercise and perch—just as she would in a real tree outside. Cat trees may also feature perches and hideaways your cat will love.

Not only will cat furniture offer your cat a place to enjoy her natural instincts, but offering your cat her own furniture may save your human furniture from scratching and other unappreciated kitty actions. 

8. Fishy Friends for Your Cat

Another idea to keep cat active while at work is to set up a fish tank with fishy friends for kitty. The more common types of tropical fish are easy to care for, low maintenance and low cost. Cats enjoy watching fish in an aquarium as much as we humans do.

The key here is to set up a fish tank that your cat can watch, but that she can’t jump on or reach into. While fish friends are fun for kitty, keep in mind that your fishy pets won’t appreciate a paw with claws reaching in to grab them. You’ll need to keep your fish safe from your cat.

You’ll want to ensure your fish tank has a closed lid. You can buy lids of this type or create one of your own from wood or other materials. You’ll also need to protect the tank’s air tubing, as some cats enjoy chewing on the rubbery tubes.  And make sure the tank is in a place where your cat can’t knock it off, causing a cat-astrophe for your fish and your home!

9. Skype with Your Cat

These days, you can even Skype with your cat while you’re at the office! There are devices and services that you can use, but you can also create your own system at home. To do this yourself, you’ll need a web cam or some other device that has a webcam (such as a computer or tablet), a smart phone with Internet access (for you!) and Skype accounts for you and your cat. Be sure to set up the webcam or devices with cameras near your cat’s favorite spot. Once you have it all set up, you’ll be able to view your cat and talk to them from work!

10. Toys to Keep Cat Busy

You’ll find a wealth of toys to keep cat busy while you’re away! There are interactive cat toys, puzzle treat dispensing toys, stuffed catnip toys and more.

Interactive cat toys usually run on batteries and offer your cat all types of play—chasing, pouncing and more.

Puzzle treat toys stimulate your cat’s mind—she has to figure out how to get the treat out of the puzzle. These toys are great for cats that enjoy treats, but make sure to keep treats to a minimum so you cat doesn’t gain unhealthy weight.

Additional Ideas

Here are additional ideas you can try for your bored cat while at work:

There are many options to keep your cat stimulated while at work. Any of these or a combination of these methods will help your kitty to stay active and hopefully out of trouble while you’re away. Remember to spend time with your cat when you get home. Nothing is better for your cat than one-on-one time with you every day!


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Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.

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