5 Ways to Help Keep Your Indoor Cat Active

It’s safest to keep your kitty indoors instead of letting him roam free outside — but that doesn’t mean you should let him live the life of a couch potato.

There are plenty of simple and fun ways to help keep your cat on his toes so he can maintain his mental and physical fitness, even if he’s inside. Just remember to consult your vet before introducing a new exercise program.

Cats tend to have short bursts of energy between their snoozes, so be ready to take advantage of those times. We’ve rounded up five ideas to keep them active in the gallery below.

Get Your Cat Moving

tabby with toy


Get Out Some Toys

Invest in some toys for your cat to chase, like feathers attached to a stick, “fishing poles,” balls or little “mice” filled with catnip. Not all cats respond to catnip, but when they do, it’s a treat to watch. Some toys even allow your cat to play when you’re not there, like food puzzles that make him work to get to the treats. Of course, never leave your cat alone with toys that can be chewed apart or accidentally swallowed.

cat furniture scratching post


Provide a Cat Tree

Cat furniture, perching posts and scratching posts provide a place for cats to sharpen those claws and are also fun places for them to do one of the things they do best: climb.

cat with laser pointer


Get Out the Laser Pointer

Many cats love chasing a laser, and it’s a great way to give them a workout while tapping into their hunting instinct. You can vary the speed that the dot moves and entice your cat to run, jump and pounce. The important thing is to remember to let her “win” by switching toys and letting your cat catch something, writes Dr. Marty Becker. Otherwise, the cat may get worked up without ever having a resolution, since there's nothing actually there when the cat catches the red dot.

cat in bag


Play Hide and Seek

Just like with kids, often the best toys for cats are those that you can find around the house. Cats can have a ton of fun with a paper bag and some tissue paper (just remember to cut the handles off the bag so your cat doesn't get his head caught in them). They’ll love both the noise and the potential for hiding spots.

cat walking on a leash


Take a Walk on a Leash

Your dog might not be the only one who likes going for walks. Some cats can be trained to walk on a leash, too. It’s a great way for your feline to explore the outdoors while avoiding dangers like getting lost, being attacked by a predator or getting hit by a car. Cats who are calm and easy-going tend to make the best candidates for using a leash.

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