Cats are adaptable creatures, but they still have the same instincts- whether they’re indoor or outdoor cats. However, if you have an indoor cat you need to know how to keep them happy indoors.
They have a lot of different instincts that need to be catered to, and they look to you for that. Cats can become stressed and suffer health issues if you’re not making accommodations for them. Outdoor cats get more activity and stimulation, and as a result, they’re less likely to become overweight.
Luckily, the best cat toys for indoor cats can help, and we’ll teach you how to keep your cat indoors.
How to Keep Cats Happy Indoors
Make Sure They Get Plenty of Exercises
Cats love to sleep, but indoor cats still need plenty of exercises. In fact, they need more than you might expect. They should have plenty of options for climbing, and if they’re not allowed on counters, make sure you give them a space that they can.
Playing with your cats and encouraging them to run and chase is another great way to get them active. Give them toys, balls, or ribbon toys that they can stalk and run after.
Give Them a Taste of the Outdoors
We’re not saying you need to take your cat outside, but they need to be able to get closer to nature than a plaster wall. Try and make several windows accessible to your cat; in some cases, that may mean placing a shelf or chair nearby so they can relax and look outside.
On nice days, leave a window (or a few!) open. Your cat will love all the different sounds and scents coming in. Of course, if your cat is one to bat at the window screen, it may take some flexibility on your part, and some training on theirs.
Keep Interactive Toys Around
Indoors cats are as happy as any other to chase a suspicious-looking string or explore a foreign box. That said, it won’t keep them entertained forever, nor will it give them ample exercise. As cat owners, we don’t always have time to dangle a ribbon or walk it around so they can chase it (although when you can, do!).
The best solution is to keep some interactive toys around. These are toys that ‘play back’ with your cat, and require minimal to zero effort on your part. They encourage indoor cats to get active, and that’s exercise indoor cats need.
Interactive toys are also nice for indoor cats because it gives your cat a feeling of taking down a wily critter on their own, without breaking the illusion when they see you behind it.
Give Your Cat Some TLC Time
Yes, we all know our cats can act like they’d just as soon take or leave our attention. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still craving some much-needed face time with you.
Since cats are fairly autonomous, it can be easy to overlook the personal time they need from you, especially when life gets busy.
Try and set aside time every day to give your kitty that one on one time. It doesn’t have to be high energy play; that’s not always as easy as it sounds. However, a good belly scratch (more than just a few seconds, we’re all guilty of that, and know the look when your cat feels cheated) does wonders.
Or, just let them relax on your lap with you while you read or watch your favorite show. They might not act enthused, but the personal time really strengthens the bond between you, and keeps them feeling secure.
Best Cat Toys for Indoor Cats
Best for Exercise:
Cat owners know that there’s almost nothing more amusing than watching your furry friend chase a mysterious light. Cats love it too, and it really caters to their inquisitive nature and instinct to hunt and track.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s great exercise for them too. That’s one reason we loved the PetSafe Bolt toy. Unlike a manual laser pointer (which also isn’t as safe), you don’t have to hold a button, or do much of anything.
You can use this laser pointer manually, but it also runs on an automatic mode that lasts for up to 15 minutes.
- Includes a mirror that creates different zig-zag patterns
- Timed perfectly (longer could cause anxiety)
- Gets even stubborn cats to exercise
- Includes one year warranty
- Requires 4 AA batteries (not included)
Best for Kittens:
This tunnel is a such a treat for indoor cats: it allows them to crawl and hide, much like they would outside (or do with your empty boxes and bags). Since it isn’t a straight tunnel, they get more of a feel of actually exploring.
The 3 way tunnel is built with that crinkly fabric that cats love, but it’s hidden inside the outer covering, so they can feel like they’re really tracking something down.
Another thing we loved was the peep hole where the three tunnels meet (and our cat got a thrill out of it too!).
- Keeps cats entertained for long periods of time
- Easy to store and bring out as a special treat
- Has a built in peephole and hanging ball
- Some larger cats won’t fit (it’s best for kittens and smaller cats)
Indoor cats need extra stimulation to keep them active and happy. That said, they don’t always want to break the illusion by seeing you at the end of the toy they’re chasing.
You can still control the Mousr, or put it on automatic mode. It’ll remind you of those remote controlled race cars you played with as a kid, but better. The body looks like a robotic mouse, and the tail is irresistible to cats!
It has 3 different modes, and works with your cat’s natural instincts to create super interactive play. Since it is a physical catch, they can play for hours without stressing about a target they can’t get to.
- Built with sensors to detect your cat and avoid obstacles
- It’s designed to ‘play’ the way your cat does
- Easily controlled with your smartphone
- Helps indoor cats stay active
- Much pricier than other cat toys (although it is a smart toy, so that’s to be expected)
This is one of the most realistic acting mouse toys we’ve found for cats so far. Our cat loved chasing after it, and pausing to get ready for a leap whenever the mouse paused.
It moves somewhat erratically, just like a real mouse being stalked by a cat. It also navigates obstacles and flips over, so your cat stays busy trying to figure out what the mouse will do next. Now, not every cat wants to chase. Some are perfectly happy batting a ball (or moth or leaf) while they lay on the ground.
That’s why we loved the two modes: one is for a real chase, and the other lets you cat bat at it.
- Very realistic critter movements - cats love it!
- Includes 2 modes for active and more passive cats
- Mouse gets through obstacles and flips over when batted
- Designed for hard surfaces, slows down significantly on carpet
We loved how comprehensive (but also easy) this play center is. It’s designed in a way that encourages cats to play, experience it with all their senses, and inspires curiosity.
Since cats are pretty clever, and can figure out easier games before long, there are also some more challenging games. As pet owners, that’s a bonus, because we all know how frustrating it is when your cat tires of its latest toy.
It doesn’t take up much room at 12x16 inches, and it’s dishwasher safe, which is hard to beat. It even comes with a guide to help you make the games more exciting for your cat.
- Built with 5 different games, but a ton of ways to play
- The guide it comes with is a fantastic resource
- It’s dishwasher safe, so very easy to clean
- Cats stay interested even after mastering easy levels
- Older cats with poor eyesight don’t seem as interested
We’ve looked at a ton of different toys for indoor cats, but we’ve only included the ones that really impressed us on our list. To make the grade, they have to be high quality toys that both encourage cats to play, while also working with how cats play.
Which toy did we think was the best toy for indoor cats? If we’re limited to only one, it’s the HexBug Mouse. It requires very little supervision, but easily keeps your cats endlessly entertained.
It’s the most realistic critter toy, and gives your cat a chance to stretch their stalking and chasing muscles.