10 Ways To Keep Cats Entertained In A Small Apartment

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Are you concerned your cat might not be entertained in your apartment? All cats need love and attention, a feeling of safety, and fresh food and water, but cats also need enrichment, which is sometimes hard to provide to indoor-only cats living in small spaces. Want to know how to beat the boredom and keep your cat on their toes in a small space? Let’s go over some vet-recommended tips.

Key Takeaways

It is easy to keep your apartment cat entertained, even if you live in a small space.

Make good use of the vertical space in your home using cat towers, trees, shelves, and perches.

Other enrichment ideas for apartments include providing scratchers, cat-safe plants, and interactive toys, and offering lots of attention and play.

Why Is It Important To Keep Your Cat Entertained? 

For a happy cat, make the indoors as mentally and physically engaging as you can.

Outdoor cats and cats in the wild are constantly stimulated by their environment. Hunting takes up a large proportion of their mental and physical capacity. Indoor cats aren’t challenged this way. Hunting alone provides a huge amount of physical and mental stimulation and keeps cats entertained.

Hunting requires problem-solving skills, quick-wittedness, and physical exertion. Outdoor cats also need to be constantly on alert as they might become prey to an opportunistic predator at any time. There is not much time for curling up and relaxing in the big wide world.

Also Read: Should I Let My Cat Outside?

How To Make Your Apartment Cat Friendly

cat in cat tree

Your apartment won’t seem so small if you make use of the vertical space.

If you’re looking at the floor space of your apartment and thinking it’s too small for a cat, start thinking outside the box! The actual square feet of space isn’t the limit—remember to include the vertical space.

Now, the possibilities are endless. Cats love to climb and hide in things. Turn your apartment into a kitty jungle by adding a few strategically placed accessories like cat trees, perches, climbing shelves, and vertical scratchers.

Also Read: How Much Attention Do Cats Need? A Vet Explains

Ways To Entertain Your Cat

1. Hide Treats To Encourage Hunting

cat plays with a toy

Your cat might start actively exploring more if you hide treats in unexpected places.

Cats are natural-born hunters. If you hide some of their treats, this is a brilliant way of creating a hunting scenario as your cat will be able to smell the treats and will be intrigued and excited to find out where they are. It also poses a challenge for them, which cats love!

Also Read: The 10 Best Cat Slow Feeders & Puzzle Feeders

2. Include Scratching Surfaces

Scratching provides physical exercise, keeps claws healthy, and gives your cat the opportunity to scent mark.

Cats have a natural instinct to scratch. In the wild, cats can scratch many different things can without any consequence. In an apartment, we actively discourage cats from scratching certain things (your favorite piece of furniture for example!) However, they cats need something to satisfy their urges. If you provide an exciting scratching post or another cat scratcher, your cat will love it.

Also Read: How To Get Your Cat To Use A Scratching Post

3. Enrichment Objects

Moving feathers are irresistible to cats, whether activated by a battery-operated toy or a human.

Some toys release treats as your cat plays with them. These are invaluable when it comes to keeping your cat entertained as they force your cat to engage their problem-solving brain. They are a brilliant source of mental stimulation and also involve physical exertion too! A popular one is a food puzzle that releases food as your cat plays with it.

Also Read: The 12 Best Cat Toys: Keep Your Cat Fit And Happy With These Irresistible Toys

4. Allocated Playtime

woman playing with cat

Regular playtime engages your cat’s body and mind, and can even improve your bond.

Cats should have about 30 minutes of playtime each day. This doesn’t have to be in one big chunk, but it’s important to take the time to engage with them and make it a priority. Playtime is so important as it mimics the hunting rituals they would go through in the wild.

It’s important for indoor cats to play as they don’t get an opportunity to hunt in the wild. Play also helps to combat obesity. Consider these easy ways to play with your cat:

  • Buy toys that mimic cats’ prey.
  • When you play with your cat, copy the movement of their prey.
  • Allow your cat to stalk the toy “prey” and pounce on it.

Also Read: How To Safely Play With A Cat, According To A Cat Behaviorist

5. Suitable Cat Toys

To keep your cat’s toys interesting, rotate them, bringing some out and putting others away for a while.

If you are confined to a small apartment, ensure you have a good supply of interesting and stimulating cat toys. Many toys mimic the typical prey your cat would stalk in the wild to motivate their natural hunting instincts. Laser toys are brilliant for getting cats to chase them.

Cats love chasing battery-powered toys and some cats go wild with toys that can be filled with catnip. Rotate their favorite toys so they don’t get bored.

Also Read: The 7 Best Litter Boxes For A Small Apartment

6. Cat Trees

Cat furniture comes in many different sizes, styles, and colors, so you can find one that suits your space.

Cats like to sit in the highest place in the room so they can survey their surroundings. Cat trees are brilliant as space savers in your apartment as they don’t use up much floor space, but they give your cat lots of platforms to climb up.

There are many different variations of cat-specific furniture called “cat trees” available in pet-supply stores. Cat furniture is built with different levels, hiding spaces, scratching material, and some even have built-in toys.

If you don’t want a huge cat tree in your apartment, a brilliant DIY alternative is installing some shelves at different levels on your wall to allow your cat to climb and perch. Another cool option is a cat hammock, which makes for super cute photos, too!

Also Read: Best Cat Trees, Towers & Condos For Large Cats

7. Cat Garden

ginger cat hiding on window

Safely bring some of the outdoors inside with nontoxic plants and flowers.

Including cat-safe plants in your apartment offers enrichment for your cat. Plants provide them with interesting places to hide and explore. They also help to recreate their natural habitats in the wild to a certain extent. You can even plant cat grass for your cat to nibble on. Be sure not to use any plants or flowers that are toxic to cats. Be aware, some cats might use your plant pots as a litter box so make sure they have an actual litter tray close by.

Also Read: Good Pet Stuff Hidden Planter Litter Box Review

8. Window Perch

Secure window perches carefully and ensure windows and screens are properly secured.

A window perch is perfect to quench your cat’s thirst for curiosity, and eliminate any FOMO they might have. They can sit in the comfort of their own home, but still have a perfect position to survey the outside world from a window sill. Cats will watch the view from the window and the comings and goings of the house.

If you have a bird feeder in your garden, the view will\ provide your cat with endless entertainment. You can even place a cat bed on a window perch for extra comfort.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Purr When They Sleep? A Vet Explains

9. Cat TV

Cat TV is designed to appeal to cat, incorporating quick movements from prey-like animals or objects.

Screen time possibilities for your cat are endless. There are special channels on YouTube designed to occupy cats, and you can also purchase videos and DVDs made to keep your cat occupied. Cat TV is a nice option for cats that aren’t as mobile, for example, if your cat is injured or recovering from an operation and has been given strict cage rest, and for older cats.

Music can also occupy your cat. Certain songs have been composed to be enticing for cats. Your cat also might have a preference for a certain music genre—with a bit of trial and error you will find out what they like and dislike.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Sit On Laptops?

10. Quality Time

The more attention you can give your cat, the happier they will be, regardless of the size of your home.

Cats love attention and affection, and they thrive off interaction. Cat favor attention from you over any other stimulus. Spending quality time with your cat will not only keep them occupied and entertained, but it will also create a beautiful bond between you and your cat.

This doesn’t just include playing with them, but also things like taking a cat nap together, giving them their favorite cat treats, or grooming them. The more time you spend together in this way, the happier your cat will be.

Also Read: 7 Signs Your Cat Is Not Getting Enough Love

Final Thoughts

It doesn’t take much to turn your cat’s environment into a fun and exciting place to live.

Cats are highly intelligent and inquisitive creatures. It’s very easy to convert even a studio apartment into a neat kitty playground with minimal effort and maximum effect. If you follow this guide you will be able to ensure your cat’s well-being and give yourself some peace of mind, too.

Also Read: How Intelligent Are Cats? Science Has an Answer

Frequently asked questions

Do cats do OK in small apartments?

Yes, they absolutely do! Cats often live in small apartments and thrive. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well cats do and how little room they need to be comfortable.

How do I keep my cat entertained while at work?

There are many ways you can enrich your cat's environment and provide activities while you are at work. Some of these hacks include:

  • Enrichment toys and games
  • Cat furniture such as scratching posts and cat trees
  • Cardboard boxes/paper bags to hide in
  • Hiding their food so they have to hunt it out
  • Cat TV/ radio
  • Spending quality time with them and playing with them before and after work
  • Do cats get stressed in small apartments?

    Different cats are prone to different levels of stressors. You know your own cat. If your cat gets easily stressed or anxious, it's best not to leave them for long periods on their own as they might become upset. If your cat is generally a stressed cat, you can make changes to your cat's environment to attempt to ease this and tend to their needs.

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    About Dr. Emma Chandley BVetMed PGCertSAS MRCVS

    Emma graduated from the Royal Vet College in London in 2011. An expert in cat behavior and nutrition, she also has a keen interest in surgery. Emma went on to do a post-graduate certificate in small animal surgery and was then awarded advanced practitioner status in the same discipline.

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