Looking for your best, most creative enrichment ideas

Meowmee

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My guys tend to entertain each other running around wrestling non stop etc. Quinn’s favorites are the wand type toys… I can get him spinning around in circles like crazy until he drops, and I also run them up and down the stairs and he’ll chase after them. Angie kitten used to love to spin too, until she was panting, and in between she would grab my ankle and scratch at it which I loved. Years later when she was an adult, before she was killed by convenia, I started doing that with her again, and she did exactly the same thing so she remembered itwhich was so touching.

He has toys all over the place and when I go up to go to sleep he carries his creatures around yelling and then brings them up to me I often find them on my pillow. As a Kitten he loved toilet paper rolls and I started giving them to him again. I’m sure you probably tried all of this stuff so it’s probably useless lol.

I don’t play with my cats as much now due to my injury and a lot of the stress etc. but really having them play with each other seems to tire them out and they don’t seem like they need more. I started it up for two days about three weeks ago when I felt better and then I stopped and they were looking at me like are we going to play now? But it was hurting my back too much still.

I have all these toys that are electric one swirls a little butterfly around, one has little feathers poking out from different angles one is a matte which has a little fire flies lighting up and several others I have forgotten what they are. But the wand toys are the favorite. Laser thing that spins around, Sybil loved that. Sybil’s favorite game was to chase a tree branch around on the ground outside and run up and down trees.

They love the cat scratchers that have the ball around the circle too. Quinn loves to watch videos with me especially of himself. I have been meaning to get that app for cats that has a mouse rolling around on your iPad because I saw a video of someone’s cat on video swatting at it. They like to watch me play my games on my iPad too.

They like me to sing to them, they like me to act weird dancing around etc. which I can’t do now. Sometimes I chase them around, and I talk to them. Sometimes in a cockney accent.

They like when one cat gets reprimanded for something, lol.
When Quinn was a kitten he used to love to hide on the chairs under the tablecloth and pop out like a jack in the box. I discovered he still likes to do that even though no tablecloth now.

When Xena gets out of whack and won’t stop meowing I say can I give you a hug… I need a fluffy hug…and then I crouch down and hug him and kiss him and tell him how great he is and that calms him down.

Nobody goes out for walks or anything like that, and unfortunately this huge catio I built years ago was ruined in a storm, and had to be disposed of.

More favorites are balls of all sorts, Quinn and Zena love to chase them. I also trained him or he trained himself to fetch. He will do this either with one of his creatures or with a twisty tie which he loves.

When I play with them now it’s a little boring because Xena hogs everything, and he doesn’t really spin around as much but I can get him spinning too. It was a shock for me to see Quinn just sitting there and letting Zena run the show. Merlin has always been one to watch and then pounce in spurts.
 
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nurseangel

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I hate to say this, but my cats are happy with each other for company. Having two if you are financially able, works out great. My dad's one-eyed cat being the exception. I always thought she would love a kitten to play with, since she liked to fetch and play and was so intelligent. When my brother was moving, there were two stray kittens underneath his house. My dad caught them and brought them home. Cocoa (one-eyed cat) hated them! They had to be separated forever. Nothing worked.

With that being said, after the adjustment period, my cats just loved each other. They play all night and into the morning. My older cat, Daisy, doesn't play, but she loves to snuggle with them. There is a lot of jealously here, but I have a herd. Rescue rules!
 

Luvyna

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This is a constant struggle that I have had as well!

The main thing that's worked for me is introducing something new. Whether it's a toy or a new pot of cat grass or something mundane like a cardboard box or paper grocery bag, my cat loves to play with anything new that comes into my home. However, he quickly loses interest and I'm constantly having to find new things.

Fortunately, the "new things" don't need to be fancy, expensive, or something you even need to go out to buy. Last week I took a clean piece of pellet litter and threw it and my cat went crazy over that piece of litter, chasing and pawing it. He can also entertain himself for 1 hr with the plastic piece that comes off a new bottle of milk or yogurt or a hairband but he will get bored of it right after so it's a constant process of finding new things.

I can also reintroduce old things that he hasn't seen for a long time but there needs to be 1-3 months between the last time he saw the object.

Some entertainment ideas that hopefully haven't already been mentioned:
- Bubbles
- A reusable cloth grocery shopping bag or crinkle bag made for cats
- Small pieces of vegetables that are safe for cats
- Pulling up a chair to let your cat watch you do something at eye level like cook or draw (if he is willing to watch without interfering!)
- Small objects that roll and skitter which your cat normally doesn't get to play with - clean pellet litter, the plastic that comes off the cap for a new bottle of milk, a zip tie, crumpled receipt, hairband, plastic easter eggs...etc.
- Automatic cat toys - there are balls that roll themselves, toys that crawl and look like crickets, feather toys that stick out from under a cloth and move...etc.
- Clicker training - great way to mentally stimulate your cat and bond, you can also get them to exercise at the same time by teaching them to heel, jump onto things, stand on two legs...etc.
 

Meowmee

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I hate to say this, but my cats are happy with each other for company. Having two if you are financially able, works out great. My dad's one-eyed cat being the exception. I always thought she would love a kitten to play with, since she liked to fetch and play and was so intelligent. When my brother was moving, there were two stray kittens underneath his house. My dad caught them and brought them home. Cocoa (one-eyed cat) hated them! They had to be separated forever. Nothing worked.

With that being said, after the adjustment period, my cats just loved each other. They play all night and into the morning. My older cat, Daisy, doesn't play, but she loves to snuggle with them. There is a lot of jealously here, but I have a herd. Rescue rules!
My 3 original cats too, they all play and wrestle etc. that takes care of their activity needs. But I am sure when I am able to play more again they will love it. the guys in the bedroom being tamed etc. do not come near me but play with each other.

I tried those cat game apps with my 3 yesterday… They were interested but scared of them. Merlin lifted up his paws like he wanted to tap the fish but he was scared to do it, lol. So I was the only one that got any fish or mice… I was trying to show them how to do it.
 

cmshap

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The main thing that's worked for me is introducing something new. Whether it's a toy or a new pot of cat grass or something mundane like a cardboard box or paper grocery bag, my cat loves to play with anything new that comes into my home. However, he quickly loses interest and I'm constantly having to find new things.
Yes, exactly. My cat has gotten worse over time, too. He is 10 now, and gets bored of new toys faster than ever. It's like he is saying "seen it... yawn" after playing with something new for only two days.

Speaking of cheap DIY toys, just a random thing I introduced my cat to, and he is loving for now until he gets bored of it...

Take a TP roll, or a paper towel roll (cut in half), and use a scissors to cut along the diagonal seams. The result will be two spiral halves that still roll around, while having an interesting shape that creates more bounce, and also is easier for a cat to pick up and carry.
 

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Alldara

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nurseangel nurseangel Very good advice for young solo cats. I have two 😊 Magnus's energy is through the roof and Cal cannot keep up. He needs extra things to keep him busy.
 

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Alldara

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Yes, exactly. My cat has gotten worse over time, too. He is 10 now, and gets bored of new toys faster than ever. It's like he is saying "seen it... yawn" after playing with something new for only two days.

Speaking of cheap DIY toys, just a random thing I introduced my cat to, and he is loving for now until he gets bored of it...

Take a TP roll, or a paper towel roll (cut in half), and use a scissors to cut along the diagonal seams. The result will be two spiral halves that still roll around, while having an interesting shape that creates more bounce, and also is easier for a cat to pick up and carry.
I'll try this! If no interest at first, I'll try with some catnip spray!
 

Luvyna

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Yes, exactly. My cat has gotten worse over time, too. He is 10 now, and gets bored of new toys faster than ever. It's like he is saying "seen it... yawn" after playing with something new for only two days.

Speaking of cheap DIY toys, just a random thing I introduced my cat to, and he is loving for now until he gets bored of it...

Take a TP roll, or a paper towel roll (cut in half), and use a scissors to cut along the diagonal seams. The result will be two spiral halves that still roll around, while having an interesting shape that creates more bounce, and also is easier for a cat to pick up and carry.
This is an awesome idea, going to give this a try!
 
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Alldara

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This is a constant struggle that I have had as well!

The main thing that's worked for me is introducing something new. Whether it's a toy or a new pot of cat grass or something mundane like a cardboard box or paper grocery bag, my cat loves to play with anything new that comes into my home. However, he quickly loses interest and I'm constantly having to find new things.

Fortunately, the "new things" don't need to be fancy, expensive, or something you even need to go out to buy. Last week I took a clean piece of pellet litter and threw it and my cat went crazy over that piece of litter, chasing and pawing it. He can also entertain himself for 1 hr with the plastic piece that comes off a new bottle of milk or yogurt or a hairband but he will get bored of it right after so it's a constant process of finding new things.

I can also reintroduce old things that he hasn't seen for a long time but there needs to be 1-3 months between the last time he saw the object.

Some entertainment ideas that hopefully haven't already been mentioned:
- Bubbles
- A reusable cloth grocery shopping bag or crinkle bag made for cats
- Small pieces of vegetables that are safe for cats
- Pulling up a chair to let your cat watch you do something at eye level like cook or draw (if he is willing to watch without interfering!)
- Small objects that roll and skitter which your cat normally doesn't get to play with - clean pellet litter, the plastic that comes off the cap for a new bottle of milk, a zip tie, crumpled receipt, hairband, plastic easter eggs...etc.
- Automatic cat toys - there are balls that roll themselves, toys that crawl and look like crickets, feather toys that stick out from under a cloth and move...etc.
- Clicker training - great way to mentally stimulate your cat and bond, you can also get them to exercise at the same time by teaching them to heel, jump onto things, stand on two legs...etc.
This is a great guide!

He actually loves the strip that comes off his food bag best 😂 he also has a bottle cap that he likes to kick around like a hockey puck.

He's very picky about what he will play with. he does use a chair to watch us cook. He likes to smell the vegetables we chop and things. We keep it away from the stove so he's not in danger.

He does some training but isn't food focused. He doesn't really enjoy it for more than a few moments at a time. He's taken more to his AAC buttons (like Bunny the dog).

Automatic toys have been a bust. Between purchases and loaner toys, we have not found a single one that he cares about. He did like two when smaller but now is bored.

We rotate his toys on a 3 week basis.


Tried the ball in a laundry basket this weekend. No interest 😔

It's been an ongoing struggle since we got him in 2020 to keep him occupied. We need more enrichment activities to rotate through as they are not peeking his interest anymore when we put them out.
 

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@cassiopea I haven't tried it! I'll look in to it. This is honestly one I've not heard of in my two year long search.

@susanm9006 Yes, Magnus loves ripping up tissue and craft paper so I'll try stuffing a toilet paper roll with it like you suggest. Maybe even a treat inside as encouragment. I don't mind mess. It's either mess I let him make or destructive mess and I'd rather mess I let him make.

@Juniper_Junebug They do kibble hunting when we go to bed! It's a favourite night time activity here. 🐱 I've started to get creative by hiding it under toys sometimes.
I like your to roll idea. I am going to try that. Actually I like your kibble idea too thank you.
 

Luvyna

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It's been an ongoing struggle since we got him in 2020 to keep him occupied. We need more enrichment activities to rotate through as they are not peeking his interest anymore when we put them out.
I've been having the same struggle with my cat, I was wondering if it might get better when he's 2 years old but looks like I'd better get prepared to entertain him for another 15 years 😂

I like your toilet paper stuffing idea, will try that with my cat! He also loves ripping up paper and has shredded a few paper towel rolls that I left unattended overnight.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe the constant need for entertainment/new things + propensity to destroy things is a male cat thing, my family and friends who have (or have had) female cats have not had issues like this, whereas this seems to be a very common thing I hear from owners of male cats.
 
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Alldara

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L Luvyna I never had a cat do something so stereotypical as shredding a paper towel roll that was left out before Calcifer. I've never laughed so hard as when it happened. I came down to it all over the kitchen. 😂

It's only been 2 out of 7 male cats that I've lived with to be honest.

Nobel was such an easy cat in so many ways. Always tidy.

Magnus broke in to our gaming cabinet today and I had to let him out so now I've had to baby proof it. He was trapped. Though after a good 45 minute walk outside today he's been well behaved this evening.

Were growing some new cat grass for them, but we want to try getting a new inexpensive litter box and making a little indoor edible garden for them.
 

cmshap

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Magnus broke in to our gaming cabinet today and I had to let him out so now I've had to baby proof it.
That's funny.

I have a wall-mounted TV, with a PS5 and Switch mounted to the wall behind the TV, so it's all concealed.

A couple of months ago, I was playing video games, and I suddenly realized I had no idea where Willy was. At 9 years old he's usually pretty chill and doesn't hide like he did in his younger days. I started looking all over because I was concerned he may have gotten stuck somewhere.

I searched for like 30 minutes (and I live in a one-bedroom apartment, so there isn't a ton of space). Looked everywhere, couldn't find him. Started to worry a little and wondered if he got out into my apartment building hallway. I went out in the hall and searched a little. But he's never run away, even when getting out into the hall (he explores then comes right back), so it seemed unlikely.

I eventually found him perched on top of my wall-mounted PS5, barely able to sit on it without falling off. Presumably, he likes the warmth.
 

Luvyna

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My Zephyr is also attracted to dark, small, and forbidden spaces. It’s like opening any kind of cabinet or closet creates a vacuum and he is instantly drawn to it. He has been accidentally shut in a closet and cabinet before (fortunately he rustles around enough for me to realize it quickly) and all my sliding doors have childproof locks because he will open them and then knock everything down inside! He is very quick and stealthy and great at slipping through an open door without you realizing it.

L Luvyna I never had a cat do something so stereotypical as shredding a paper towel roll that was left out before Calcifer. I've never laughed so hard as when it happened. I came down to it all over the kitchen. 😂

It's only been 2 out of 7 male cats that I've lived with to be honest.

Nobel was such an easy cat in so many ways. Always tidy.

Magnus broke in to our gaming cabinet today and I had to let him out so now I've had to baby proof it. He was trapped. Though after a good 45 minute walk outside today he's been well behaved this evening.

Were growing some new cat grass for them, but we want to try getting a new inexpensive litter box and making a little indoor edible garden for them.
Glad to hear not all male cats are such a handful 😆 Also I love your indoor edible garden idea!
 

Drusilla&Finn

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Tunnels and spring toys are my energetic cats only loves besides me playing with the wand toys. She will chase the spring for like 15 mins straight multiple times a day. She’s been super into her tunnels lately will just run in and out of them over and over. We also have a cat wheel which is a recent addition. She really enjoys it but still training her and getting used to it. She will get on by herself and run a bit but stops and stares me down. This means she waiting for me to bring a wand toy to hold against the wheel so she can chase the wand toy while she runs lol she’s def getting better at self starting and using it on her own but still likes it best if I’m there interacting with her!
 

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Tunnels and spring toys are my energetic cats only loves besides me playing with the wand toys. She will chase the spring for like 15 mins straight multiple times a day. She’s been super into her tunnels lately will just run in and out of them over and over. We also have a cat wheel which is a recent addition. She really enjoys it but still training her and getting used to it. She will get on by herself and run a bit but stops and stares me down. This means she waiting for me to bring a wand toy to hold against the wheel so she can chase the wand toy while she runs lol she’s def getting better at self starting and using it on her own but still likes it best if I’m there interacting with her!
I wish my cats would use their wheel! I tried a toy, a laser pointer, and the only one who will occasionally use it is Eva, and that's if she's extra impatient if breakfast is late. I'm hoping my next cat or kitten can be trained to use it reliably, it's so fun to watch them break into a run in that wheel!
 

Drusilla&Finn

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I wish my cats would use their wheel! I tried a toy, a laser pointer, and the only one who will occasionally use it is Eva, and that's if she's extra impatient if breakfast is late. I'm hoping my next cat or kitten can be trained to use it reliably, it's so fun to watch them break into a run in that wheel!
Both my cats took to it surprisingly well but aren’t big self starters lol my girl was scared of the noise at first. Have you tried taking the tiny wheel cover caps off? Seeing the tiny wheels under the big cat wheel part is their main driving force in using the wheel. They will run to watch the little wheel move then stop and as the big wheel still rocks to a stop they like to hit the tiny wheels! They are also picky about which cat wand I use on the wheel lol the cat dancer is a pretty big hit but the Go Cat! Sparkler teaser wand makes them crazy on the wheel! My boy cat is less inclined to use the wheel even with a wand but will sprint after the sparkler. It’s super crinkly and noisy and like reflective as it moves so they can’t help but attack! I know unfortunately cats are cats and if they don’t like the wheel it’s pretty hopeless but if you still have it I totally recommend the sparkler!
 

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This was just a coincidence... I bought an area rug for under the couch BEFORE bringing the new cat home, but it's wool, has a loop weave, and framed by braided tassels around the edges. And with the thick felt rug pad under it, what was I thinking? Definitely provides more enrichment than anything I do on purpose. Zooooom from under the couch to the tassels! Kick and pull and wriggle all round the edges! Bite off chunks of the rug pad and kick and chase them all over! Zooooom and dive back under the couch to stalk the tassels! Rip rip rip at the rug! Up the cat tree and dive!!

I've come to accept it is his toy now :cringe:
 

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This was just a coincidence... I bought an area rug for under the couch BEFORE bringing the new cat home, but it's wool, has a loop weave, and framed by braided tassels around the edges. And with the thick felt rug pad under it, what was I thinking? Definitely provides more enrichment than anything I do on purpose. Zooooom from under the couch to the tassels! Kick and pull and wriggle all round the edges! Bite off chunks of the rug pad and kick and chase them all over! Zooooom and dive back under the couch to stalk the tassels! Rip rip rip at the rug! Up the cat tree and dive!!

I've come to accept it is his toy now :cringe:
You never know, that rug might have been plotting against you all along!
My cats have re-discovered how cool hair ties are. Into the bathroom they go, hop up on the vanity, paw the drawer open, and send them all over the house!
 
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