Indoor Cats Don’t Get Bored If They Get Play and Toys

Some indoor cats get bored because they aren’t being engaged in proper play, or don’t have enough to do within the home. However, indoor cats don’t feel bored when well cared for.

Spend 10-15 minutes before each meal playing with your cat and make sure they have plenty of toys.

They also need indow perches, and scratching posts to provide stimulation.

You may have heard that indoor cats are healthier and live longer than their outdoor companions, or maybe you’re considering keeping your cat indoors due to the risks they face when venturing off on their own.

The thing many cat owners wonder when making this decision is: don’t indoor cats get bored?

Well, the answer to this question depends on the person—not the cat.

Of course, if you never play with your cat and give them nothing to do inside, they’ll be bored out of their minds! They probably won’t be very active or healthy either, and they might even display problem behaviors like running around in the middle of the night or even spraying.

But indoor cats who get proper playtime have plenty of fun indoors, and without the risks of going outside unsupervised.


Most of a Cat’s Life is Spent Sleeping

Cats sleep anywhere from 15-20 hours every day, depending on their age. This is relevant when considering whether or not they get bored—since, at most, cats are only active 9 hours a day.

I know for certain that, for my cats, they don’t want to run around that whole 9 hours either. They spend much of it snuggling or, if they have it their way, eating food!

So, while cats do need stimulation and ways to burn off energy, your cat might be a lot lazier than you think.


Play with your Cat for 30-45 Minutes a Day to Keep them Healthy and Happy

All cats need to get their energy out somehow. Daily play that simulates hunting is great for this as it engages their instincts.

Try to move toys in unpredictable patterns to keep your cat engaged and feeling like they’re really hunting down prey.

You should be playing with your cat for around 30-45 minutes, broken up throughout the day. Kittens might crave more playtime, while older cats may spend more time watching toys move than actively chasing them.

Personally, I play with my cats for around 15 minutes before each meal, as I believe it makes the most sense. If play simulates hunting, then after they hunt, they’ll want to eat.

Other great times to play with your cat are before work and before bedtime. This way, they aren’t getting into trouble while you’re out of the house or keeping you up at night.

If you’re transferring an indoor-outdoor cat to a full-time indoor life, try playing with them during the times they’re usually outdoors. This way, they still get the stimulation that going outside was giving them previously, and they aren’t missing out on anything. 


Provide a Variety of Toys and Activities for Your Indoor Cat

A cat who only has a laser light to play with might get bored of chasing the light around every single day. Though, if you ask my cat Frank, the laser is the best toy ever! 

You don’t have to spend a ton of cash on cat toys, but vary up their play in simple ways. You can find wand toys at the dollar store, or even make your own. If you can’t afford a laser light, try using a flashlight and making shadows on the wall for your cat to chase.

Many cats like to play with random household objects, like bottle caps or crumpled pieces of paper. Of course, make sure that the objects they choose to play with aren’t choking hazards, and that they aren’t eating anything they shouldn’t.

In addition, make sure your cat has toys they can play with on their own when you’re busy, sleeping, or at work. I love stuffed catnip toys for this. Other activities you can provide for your cat are track toys with balls inside for your cats to bat around, a window ledge with a bird feeder outside, and scratching posts.

If you want to occupy your cat for an extended period, there are a great selection of puzzle toys on the market that will challenge their minds and get them thinking. These are also great for cats who cause mischief at inappropriate times, like when you’re trying to work from home or go to sleep.


Try Safe Ways of Bringing Kitty Outside, Like Leashes, Cat-Proof Fencing, or Catios

Going outdoors isn’t entirely bad for cats—it only becomes so when they’re unsupervised. If you want to let your kitty get some fresh air, try purchasing a harness and leash.

It might take some time for them to get used to wearing the harness, and I recommend using it indoors for small periods of time first.

But once they’re used to it, it can be a fun way for you both to go on adventures together!

You might also work on training your cat to stay by your side outdoors without a leash, and only allow them into the back yard when you’re there with them.

A pricier option is a catio, or cat patio. This is a screened-in patio where your cats can get fresh air in a safe, enclosed space.

There are also a variety of cat-proof fencing options you can look into if you have a fenced-in yard that you’d like to allow your cat to roam.

If you do decide to allow your cat supervised time outdoors, talk to your veterinarian about getting them on a flea and heartworm preventative. This will make sure they’re completely safe during their exploration. You definitely don’t want your cat bringing pesky fleas into your home!


Overall, Indoor cats are Healthier and Face Less Risks

If I haven’t yet convinced you that indoor cats are perfectly happy and healthy, I urge you to consider the risks of allowing your cat outdoors.

Playing with your indoor cat might seem like a pain, but isn’t it worth taking time out of your day if it means extending your cat’s life by 12 or more years?

On average, an outdoor cat will live 3-5 years. That’s quite different from the average lifespan of indoor cats, which is 15-17 years.

The reason that outdoor cats live shorter lives is that they’re always facing risk. They can get hit by cars, attacked by predators, or catch deadly illnesses.

It’s common for neighbors to turn on outdoor cats by bringing them to overcrowded shelters, dumping them in other areas, or even poisoning them. While the last two are illegal in most areas, it still happens far too often.

Outdoor cat advocates like to argue that they’ve seen outdoor cats live long lives—or, worse, that they think a short but “happy” outdoor life is better than one spent indoors.

The problem with this is that it’s outdoor cats who are the least happy when you think about it. If you spent your day running from threats, would you be happy? Most of us wouldn’t, and neither would our cats.

Indoor cats get to have all their needs fulfilled, and the only threat to their lives they have to worry about is the vacuum cleaner!


Writer: Katelynn Sobus

I am a freelance writer who specializes in the pet industry.  My full bio