kitten peeking over furniture needs indoor cat activities

Whether you’re a long-time cat owner or just bringing a kitten home for the first time, keeping your fur babies active and entertained is a top priority for ensuring their health and happiness—and, at times, your sanity. At Bayside Animal Hospital we encourage all our feline-loving clients to think outside the box when it comes to selecting kitten games, toys, and indoor cat activities to keep your cat playfully engaged.

Why Playtime Is Essential for Kittens & Cats

kitten playing inside, rolling upside down

Most cats seem perfectly content laying on the windowsill and sunbathing all day, but don’t be fooled: Your feline friend enjoys the mental and physical stimulation that quality play has to offer.

In the wild, playtime teaches kittens crucial survival skills like stalking and hunting prey. Even if you’ve decided your cat won’t be venturing outside often, the natural instincts to pounce, chase, and play remain strong.

A variety of games and indoor cat activities also serve as a source of exercise, especially for exclusively indoor cats, and can help to maintain a healthy weight. Not to mention that interactive playtime between you and your fur baby can help build a bond and, with luck, discourage any unwanted behavioral issues that could stem from boredom.

Best Kitten Games & Cat Toys

kittens playing indoor cat games with toy

We’re all familiar with standard cat and kitten toys like catnip mice, feather and fishing pole teasers, and scratching posts. While these are good options to keep in the toy chest, as you start to spend more one-on-one playtime with your kitten, you’ll discover what kinds of activities get their attention and keep them coming back for more.

The staff at Bayside, along with other veterinary professionals, don’t recommend laser pointers or laser toys. Although fun for owners, these toys don’t allow kittens to “catch” anything; cats tend to prefer toys that allow them to engage their natural hunting instincts and will quickly tire of toys that don’t fulfill this need. Choose toys that will help keep your cat a kitten at heart!

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle cat toys are designed to be filled with treats or toys to provide your kitty with a mental challenge. These interactive toys are great for those times you’re unable to participate in playtime—such as daytime work hours.

Look for puzzle toys like the SmartCat Peek-a-Prize Toy Box for curious kittens and cats of all ages. These puzzles make it easy to swap out and customize toys to your cat’s liking and keep them entertained for the long haul.

Cat Trees and Playgrounds

cat playing indoors with toy on mounted cat playgorund

Although cat trees are a household staple for cat owners—look for ones that provide multiple levels, hiding spots, scratching posts, and toys. More modern versions allow you to create the perfect kitty obstacle course or playground with multi-level shelves, hammocks, and ladders.

Tunnels & Tubes

Some kitties just like to be tucked away, but tunnels and tubes provide an opportunity for cats to hone their predatory instincts during interactive playtime. These toys mimic hiding spots your cat might utilize in the wild while waiting for the perfect pounce—or you can entice them to play by tossing their favorite toy into (or through) the tunnel for a game of chase.

In households with multiple pets or children, tunnels can give your kitten a sense of safety as it travels between rooms or a quiet place to hide from larger critters, such as pets and people.

How Often Do Kittens & Cats Need to Play

kitten playing with toy for indoor cat activities

Cats are creatures of habit and, as you’ll soon notice, they love to follow a routine. We recommend playing with your cat for 10-15 minute intervals, at the same times each day. Ultimately, create a play routine that works around your cat’s feeding schedule and will be easy to maintain alongside your busy, human schedule.

Not all indoor cat activities or kitten toys need to be fancy or purchased from the pet store. You’d be surprised how much joy an empty box or old ball of yarn will bring. Keep in mind that all cats are unique and will enjoy different indoor activities than previous or current feline companions…but don’t let that discourage you!