Cat enrichment DIY is crucial for a cat’s happiness.

Enrichment is crucial to cats because it keeps them entertained and active.

An entertained and active cat is a happy cat!

This guide features 70+ cat enrichment DIY ideas.

Here’s the best cat enrichment DIY:

This is a very long and detailed guide. With everything you need in one place. Bookmark this page!

Check out these ideas today or save THIS PIN to your Cat Enrichment board on Pinterest.

pin image best indoor cat enrichment ideas

Disclaimer: I earn a commission through affiliate links below. No additional cost to you. 

Also, nothing I say is medical advice. All photos are of my cats.

cat playing with wand toy

Cat enrichment DIY

DIY cat enrichment is easy when you think about the cat’s wild side.

Provide plenty of places to climb, scratch, hide, and perch.

You can make your cat toys, train your cat, hide treats to hunt, and make homemade cat food.

This enrichment will make your indoor cat happy.

Cats prefer routine and predictability in their lives.

Work down this list gradually. Cats are sensitive to change.

Have fun and keep track of what your cat likes and dislikes.

Every cat is an individual, but most cats will love these enrichment ideas.

Health and safety

Proper health and safety are a must for the foundation of ultimate cat enrichment.

It’s important to keep note of your cat’s behavior changes.

Cats will not tell us when something is off.

So knowing your cat intimately is the best tool you have for cat health and safety.

1. Cat happiness checklist

A diary and checklist can help you keep track of your cat’s daily behaviors.

This comes in handy when you’re testing new toys or activities with your cat.

Knowing your cat intimately is the best tool you have. Cats hide their pain so this diary comes in handy.

You’ll know what’s normal for your cat. And it will help you speak to your cat’s vet during yearly wellness exams.

Keep track of eating habits, litter box action, activity, and behavior.

You can also use the diary to keep track of what toys your cat likes and doesn’t like. This will help provide the best enrichment.

2. Set up a cat guardian

A cat guardian is someone you trust with the care of your cat. This is especially helpful if you travel a lot.

It’s a grim topic. But who will care for your cat if you no longer can?

Setting up a cat guardian ensures your cat’s health and safety if you cannot care for your cat anymore.

The guardian should visit your home to go over proper care and your cat’s needs.

Include your cat’s guardian in your will, at the vet’s office, and with your professional cat sitter.

A cat guardian will be there to provide enrichment to your cat if you can’t.

3. Learn cat behavior

Cat behavior is important to understand because cats are complex creatures.

Cats are very different than dogs when it comes to behavior. We need to respect cat behavior to keep our cats happy.

An example, some people have an urge to hold, hug, and pick up cats.

However, cats do not like to be picked up. I’ve worked with over 400 cats and only 1 of them wanted to be picked up.

Another example, people think that cats do not care about them because they are aloof.

Cats prefer human interaction to other stimuli. It just has to be on their terms.

Spend time with your cat. But do not force it.

4. Learn cat tail language

Cats do not speak our verbal language (aside from meows). But they do communicate with their tails and body language.

Learning cat tail and body language is crucial if you want your cat to be happy. Different tail signs mean very different things.

An example, a cat tail sticking straight up with a curl at the end means your cat is happy and confident.

But a quickly thumping and moving back and forth tail means he is annoyed.

Knowing the different cat tail movement meanings can help you understand your cat’s mood.

This comes in handy with interactions and providing the right enrichment.

coconut oil supplement for cats

5. Natural supplements

Natural supplements are great for cats with dry skin and seniors.

Even if your cat doesn’t fall into these categories, he can benefit from natural supplements.

Coconut oil is great for cats with dry skin. It can also be a substitute for toothpaste.

Nutritional supplements are available for homemade cat food.

Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are crucial for healthy skin and coat.

Feeding freeze-dried salmon treats instead of crunchy carb-rich treats can make a big improvement.

Natural supplements are good for enrichment. They work with your cat’s needs and set him up for a happier life.

cat taking a nap with human

6. Spend quality time together

The best and easiest form of DIY cat enrichment is just spending time with your cat.

Studies show that cats prefer human interaction to other stimuli.

A bonus, use petting sessions to detect sensitive spots or hair loss.

Gently massage your cat’s paws while he naps with you. This can help get him used to claw trimming sessions.

Spending quality time with your cat is great for bonding. And you can use these sessions as wellness checkups.

Tip: Check out my guide for 29 fun cat activities you can do together and how to pet a cat (with pictures).

7. Emergency first aid kit

An emergency first aid kit is helpful during travel. But you should also keep this at home, just in case.

Unfortunately, we never know when an emergency will take place. Keep an emergency pet first aid kit at home so you have it on hand.

Being prepared for emergencies before they happen can potentially save your cat’s life.

Buy an emergency first aid kit online:

8. Pet first aid book

A pet first aid book also comes in handy during an emergency.

A physical book is much easier to access, read, and follow. Versus frantically typing on your phone to find the solution.

This pet first aid book on Amazon is short, to the point, and it’s designed for kids. It’s easy to understand and has pictures.

9. Claw clipper

Cat claws help with hunting, and they’re a useful defense mechanism.

All cats have the urge to scratch. Even if they have never been outside.

Cats will scratch to sharpen their claws and shed dead layers. So a proper trimming is necessary about every 2 weeks.

Never declaw your cat. And never use human nail clippers to trim your cat’s claws.

A human nail clipper can splinter the claw and cause serious pain.

You need to use a claw clipper designed for cats.

EDIT: I have heard of people using human nail clippers. But they hold the clipper sideways. I have not tried this yet. And will have to update when I do.

Buy a cat claw clipper on Amazon:

cat dental chart

10. Dental health check

Dental health is important for cats. 70-80% of cats have gum disease by the age of 3.

This can lead to other serious health problems as the bacteria travels throughout the body.

Brush your cat’s teeth daily and inspect thoroughly at least once a week.

You can use coconut oil to brush your cat’s teeth. Raw meaty bones are mother nature’s toothbrush.

Kibble is bad for cats and crunchy “dental” treats don’t clean teeth.

That would be like saying crunchy peanut brittle cleans our teeth.

Tip: Check out my full guide on healthy cat teeth.

Basepaws dental kit ad
Grab the dental care kit to stay on top of your cat’s dental health!

11. Yearly wellness exam

Your cat should see the vet for a yearly wellness exam.

The vet will check his eyes, ears, teeth, temperature, blood, urine, and feces.

This is important because cats tend to go downhill quickly. Their illnesses progress very quickly, and cats hide their pain.

Preventive care is the best form of care. Check out my video where I discuss tests for cats with your vet.

A yearly wellness exam will help keep track of your cat’s health.

A healthy cat is a happy cat!

indoor cat enrichment ideas

Lots of playtime

Wild cats get a lot of “play” while they hunt. Hunting provides mental stimulation and healthy exercise.

The indoor version of hunting is playing.

All cats need to play. It prevents boredom and stress.

All cats love to play because they are natural-born hunters.

Many clients, friends, and family have said something along the lines of my cat isn’t interested in playing.

But I’m able to get all of those cats to play. Including my 17-year-old grumpy Siamese.

My cat, Jericho, loves to play with me. And he also plays by himself.

He plays by himself because I provide the right enrichment.

And I encourage playtime throughout the day.

12. Get creative with toys

If your cat “doesn’t like to play” it’s probably because the toys aren’t fun and/or you aren’t being creative.

Cats are finicky. They get bored easily.

We have to mimic prey in appearance and movement when we play.

Remember, playing is the indoor version of hunting.

The cat will not pounce the first moment he sees prey. Keep this in mind while you play.

If your cat gets bored, change it up.

Choose a different toy or think about different ways to use the toys.

13. Safe playtime plan

It’s important to have a safe playtime plan in place.

Cats swallow things and get tangled easily. You don’t want fun playtime to turn into an emergency.

Keep track of your toys and put them away when you can’t supervise playtime.

You could use a cat toy bin to stay organized. Cut off strings of some toys so you can leave them out.

Buy toys that you can wash regularly. Replace unwashable toys regularly.

Toys grab a lot of dust and bacteria while they roll on the floor.

It’s best for enrichment to stay happy and healthy.

neko flies wand toy

14. Wand toys

Wand toys are excellent because they are interactive. Meaning you are required to play.

Have you heard that cats prefer human interaction?

The best wand toys are washable and interchangeable.

Remember, cats get bored easily. And we have to practice a safe playtime.

Best wand toys:

15. DIY wand toys

You could DIY a wand toy if you want.

Use safe materials and always check that pieces are secure before playing.

DIY wand toy materials:

cat dancer toy playing under the door

16. Cat Dancer

The Cat Dancer is a simple yet effective toy.

All cats love it! It’s easy to get creative with this toy. I’ve found 10 different ways to play with it.

Cats love it because they love cardboard. And the shiny wire catches their attention.

Buy the Cat Dancer:

  • Amazon (US, CA, UK)
  • Chewy (their version of the Cat Dancer)
cats toys that make sound

17. Sound toys

Sound toys get your cat to play because the sound is attractive.

These toys are especially helpful for blind cats and older cats.

Best sound toys:

Jericho likes the hum singer. He goes crazy bunny kicking and biting.

He bit it so hard that the sound stopped working the next day.

So grandma bought a new chirpy bird, and Jericho loves it!

18. Crinkle toys

Crinkle toys are fun because they make sounds. Most cats enjoy crinkle sounds.

Some crinkle toys are large and the perfect size for cuddling and bunny kicking.

Best crinkle toys:

The crinkle sound may entice your cat to play more.

cotton chase ball toys

19. Ball toys

Cats love to bat balls around. They’re lightweight and move quickly during playtime.

Keep an eye on these because they tend to get lost under the couch.

Best ball toys:

Jericho loves the cotton chase balls. I hide them in his Ripple Rug and on top of the Cat Ladder.

He goes crazy pawing them out and knocking them off the ladder.

cat playing with toys

20. Ball track toys

These toys have a track and a ball that rolls around on the track when kitty paws at it.

Best ball track toys on Amazon:

  • Scratcher pad in the middle on Amazon (US, CA, UK) and Chewy
  • Multiple tier track with a ball for each tier on Amazon (US, CA, UK)

These are really fun enrichment toys because cats love pawing around at things.

Jericho likes using the scratcher pad. And he knocks the ball back and forth with me.

Give your cat a confident and comfortable life with the digital + printable Cat Care Binder so you can become best buds.

cat enrichment diy catnip toys

21. Catnip toys

Most catnip toys are stuffed animals or balls that come with catnip inside.

If your kitty loves catnip then these toys will get her playing. The larger toys are great for bunny kicks.

You and your cat can toss around the smaller toys.

Best eco-friendly catnip toys:

Tip: If your cat likes catnip, use it to get him interested in new toys.

diy catnip toys

22. DIY felt catnip toys

DIY catnip toys are easy. You don’t need to be an expert sewer.

DIY felt catnip toy materials:

Tip: Check out my DIY catnip toys with felt tutorial.

23. Plush toys

Some cats will be happy with stuffed animals.

Larger plush toys may be fun for bunny kicking and cuddling.

Jericho doesn’t care for these. But other cats like them.

24. Automated toys

Most automated toys are battery operated.

They tease something for kitty to catch or paw at. These toys are handy to use if you work long hours or travel frequently.

Some automated toys allow you to set a timer so that it stays on and enriches your cat while you aren’t home.

This automated toy is so easy to use, your cat could turn it on.

25. DIY crochet balls

You could DIY crochet ball toys.

Use yarn or animal fur to crochet a toy ball for your cat.

You can put a bell on the inside or attach a string to it to entice your cat to play.

Buy a crochet ball PDF pattern on Etsy.

cat playing with toilet paper roll toy

26. TP roll toys

Cats love cardboard because trees are mother nature’s scratching post.

You can make so many different toilet paper roll toys.

Since you cannot wash TP roll toys, use new rolls regularly.

Tip: Check out my guide for simple DIY toilet paper rolls toys.

ideas for cats in small apartments

Fun cat furniture

Ok we have plenty of toys for playtime.

Now we need to add some things around the home that make your cat feel safe and comfortable in her territory.

Cat furniture provides endless enrichment.

Take a look around your home.

You probably have:
  • Pretty posters on the wall
  • Warm blankets dressing the couch
  • Framed pictures of friends and family

All of these things make you feel happy and at home, right?

Well, your cat needs a personal touch to your home as well.

tuft + paw Modern Furniture For Cats ad

27. Condos

Cat condos and trees are great for indoor enrichment.

Get a condo that has a sturdy foundation. That way when your cat jumps around, it stays put.

Best budget-friendly condo:

We have that grey condo. It looks like most generic condos you find online.

Best eco-friendly, modern cat condos:
cat furniture for small apartments cat ladder
Jericho loves his Cat Ladder

28. Trees

Cat trees are similar to condos. Some cat trees have more room for climbing and perching.

You’ll want sturdy and quality materials here too.

Best eco-friendly cat trees on Etsy:
cat bed for enrichment
Jericho loves curling up in his 2 in 1 bed

29. Beds

You should provide warm, comfy private beds for your cat. Even if your cat likes to sleep in bed with you.

Cats prefer warmer temperatures. And they like to snuggle up in small, comfy spaces.

Enclosed beds make perfect spots to curl up and harness warmth.

Get a few different beds so your cat has options.

Best cat beds:

Jericho loves the 2-in-1 bed and organic sleeping bag. He curls up in the sleeping bag on my desk and my lap.

organic eco friendly cat bed
Jericho in his sleeping bag on my lap

His space camp bed is folded down to an open layout. And I put a soft blanket inside. Jericho likes it best this way.

Furry Masterpieces Cardboard Cat House with Scratcher ad
Use code caticles10 for 10% off this beautiful cat box!

30. DIY bed

If you don’t want to sew a bid, you could use a box and a shirt or blanket.

Cats love boxes so this is a win-win.

Put a soft blanket or a small pillow inside for extra comfort.

Check out my story pin for genius cat bed ideas.

best supplies cat tunnel

31. Tunnels

Tunnels make a great addition to playtime. Most tunnels have a crinkle sound and little toys that hang from the top.

This will entice your cat right away.

Best cat tunnels:

Toss your cat’s favorite toys through the tunnel. He’ll run like crazy for it.

Tunnels have openings and ways to attach to other tunnels, beds, or condos.

You can create a jungle gym just by using tunnels!

purrfect post scratcher
Jericho loved Purrfect Post right away

32. Scratching surfaces

Scratching posts are important to have because cats need a place to scratch.

And you don’t want it to be your furniture.

The urge to scratch is ingrained in cats. Even if your cat has never been outside.

Choose a jumbo cat scratching post because cats like to stretch when they scratch.

Never declaw your cat.

Declawing is an amputation of the toe, not just the claw.

New York was the first state to ban the declawing of cats, and several municipalities are doing the same.

Best scratching surfaces:

These are great buys considering they are built to last.

Others online and at pet stores are cheaply made. They typically need to be replaced at least yearly.

But a basic scratching post is better than no scratching post!

Basic scratching post:

Tip: Don’t forget to teach your cat how to use it. Use catnip, tease toys around it, or scratch on it yourself.

before and after sisal rope upcycled scratching post

33. Upcycle current scratching post

Hopefully, you already have a scratching post.

Chances are it’s a frayed mess like mine was. I bought the basic scratching post from Amazon.

I had to change the sisal rope twice in 2 years.

Rather than buying a new one, I decided to upcycle the scratching post with carpet.

ripple rug activity center cat hiding inside ripple

34. Hiding spots

Cats need hiding spots to feel safe in their environment.

Wild cats have many hiding spots so we need to provide hiding spots indoors as well.

These hiding spots come in handy when a guest comes over, there is a storm, or loud neighbors are moving in.

Beds and tunnels make great hiding spots or you can make your hiding spots with boxes.

35. Climbing

Providing climbing options allow your cat safe access to watch over his territory.

This is important because wild cats like to know what’s going on in their territory.

Being up high allows cats to see danger coming or spot their next meal.

Cats don’t have to worry about those things indoors. But instincts are ingrained in them.

A great cat enrichment DIY is to put blankets on top of your kitchen cabinets. This will make a nice warm lounge space for your cat.

The Cat Ladder is another fun way to add some height to your apartment.

Cats love to climb and scratch, and this ladder fits those needs as well.

I have the 6-step ladder, but you have other options. It’s great for small apartments because it doesn’t take up a lot of space.

window perch enrichment

36. Window perch

Window watching is one of the best and easiest ways to provide enrichment and entertainment.

Cats are attracted to movement. When they look outside, all they see is movement.

Your cat will be able to chatter at birds, paw around at bugs on the window, and nap in the warm sun.

Even if your view isn’t great, your cat will enjoy window watching.

Get a sturdy window perch and install it according to the instructions.

Best window perch:

I use the legs, and I also rest the perch on top of Jericho’s condo for added support.

Tip: My clients and friends have tried the other hammock-like and suction-cup window perches. Their cats didn’t use it.

cat playing on ripple rug

37. Cat activity centers

Cat activity centers are so much fun for cats.

You can hide treats and toys for hunting, create hiding spots, tease toys for playtime.

Best activity centers:
raw cat food

Healthy cat food

We must use sanitary dishes and proper supplies for food enrichment.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention 2019 survey found that 59.5% (approx. 58 million) of cats in the US are overweight or obese.

They also found that 82% of cat parents feed kibble.

Seems like kibble is the problem ????

Obesity-related health issues require pills, insulin injections, and/or subq fluids daily.

Overweight cats are also at risk for shortened lives.

So what should cats eat? A proper diet for cats is biologically appropriate to the cat species.

Want to feed your cats naturally? Grab my Switch Your Cat to Raw eBook!

aquatru review

38. Clean food and water bowls

You eat and drink from clean dishes, right?

Ok, great. So clean your cat’s dishes daily too!

Cat food bowls should be cleaned after each meal. Water bowls should be cleaned and refreshed at least once daily.

Give your cat fresh, filtered water. Even if you use a water fountain.

It’s important to test your water quality as well. I use Tap Score (use code CATICLES to get $10 off your $100+ order).

I found the best water treatment: AquaTru reversis osmosis. Read my AquaTru review here.

Buy the Glass carafe model (10% off with that link). Or the Classic model (10% off plus a free 1-year filter pack with that link).

Avoid plastic filters and bowls.

Plastic traps bacteria even with regular washing.

cat enrichment diy

39. Raised stand

We should use raised food stands for cat food and water dishes.

Bending to eat from the floor puts a strain on their neck and other muscles.

Elevated dishes make it easier for your cat to eat in a comfortable position.

Best raised food stands:

The stand on Amazon comes with 2 stainless steel bowls and a plate.

Raised stands also help prevent the chance of bugs, dust, and dirt getting into the cat’s food and water.

40. Food mat

A food mat can help keep the food and water area clean.

This food mat fits perfectly with the raised stand linked above.

darwin's raw cat food ad

41. Learn cat food label rules

A few important things here.

AAFCO does not approve, test, certify, or endorse cat food. They only put rules in place for pet food manufacturers to follow when labeling products.

If you don’t know these rules, you don’t understand what you’re buying.

Even the FDA says not to be swayed by fancy names and eye-catching claims. The FDA does not approve, certify, or endorse cat food, either.

Neither of these organizations regulates the QUALITY of cat food. No one does.

You must learn cat food label rules. One word in the product name makes a huge difference in the ingredients.

Also, AAFCO feeding trials are very loose.

Vet-recommended cat food is garbage because most of these foods are highly processed with low-quality ingredients.

Tip: Check out my video playlist on how to read cat food labels.

42. Transition cat food properly

Cats are sensitive to change.

Always transition cat foods gradually.

Switching foods too quickly will make your cat sick. Regardless of the new food’s quality.

Any sudden changes, regardless of quality, can wreak havoc on the digestion system.

homemade raw cat food

43. Healthy cat food

Cats are obligate carnivores. Meaning, they are strictly committed to a meat-only diet.

Cats need meat to survive and thrive.

Wild cats consume a fresh food diet. A BARF diet is made with food that cats love.

Another crucial factor in cat food is moisture.

Cats rely on food for moisture. Even if your cat drinks water.

One mouse is 80% moisture. The average moisture content of kibble is 10%.

Kibble is bad for cats and most wet canned food isn’t much better.

Feeding dry food only puts your cat at a higher risk for serious health-related issues.

Here are the best cat food brands I’ve found. You can start upgrading by supplementing kibble with raw.

But the healthiest diet is balanced, homemade cat food.

You control the ingredients and how it’s made. It’s the best way to naturally feed your cat.

Check out my free 5-page plan to feed your picky cat better.

44. Prevent pink residue in cat bowls

Have you ever seen pink residue in the cat’s water bowl?

That’s bacteria.

Prevent this slimy biofilm by ditching plastic and washing your cat’s bowls daily.

healthy cat treats hare today

45. Healthy cat treats

Have you ever wondered what’s in cat treats that cats love?

Crunchy “dental” treats have the same garbage ingredients as kibble.

Cats get addicted to the flavor enhancers and carbohydrates.

Instead, feed healthy cat treats made with one ingredient: meat.

Best cat treats:

I buy all of Jericho’s ground food from Hare Today. He loves everything.

More healthy treat options:

46. Treat-release toys

Treat-release toys require cats to do some work before getting their reward.

This will force your cat to get active to eat.

Your cat will have to figure out how to get the treat (problem-solving). Then get active to get the treat (exercise).

And finally, your cat is rewarded with the treat (mental stimulation).

Feeder mice treat-release toys:

Note: Wash the toys after each use and replace them regularly since they are plastic.

47. Cat food puzzles

Puzzle toys are a bit more complex than treat-release toys.

Cat puzzle toys require multiple actions before the treat is released.

Some are more advanced than others. I recommend starting with basic ones first and working your way up.

You can buy basic food puzzle toys on Amazon. Or advanced puzzles on Amazon and Chewy.

Keep in mind that once your cat figures out the trick, the treats will be gone in seconds.

However, you can keep your cat entertained by rotating the use of these in addition to using treat-release toys.

48. Hide treats for hunting

Hide healthy treats around your home for an easy DIY hunting simulation.

Your cat will have to sniff out the treats and use his smarts to find them.

This is another way to keep your cat entertained before you leave for work or while you’re busy at home.

Places to hide treats:
  • On condos
  • In beds
  • Between furniture
  • Inside tunnels
  • On top of the scratching post
  • Inside the Ripple Rug
  • Anywhere else they fit

Use glass jar lids or treat-release toys to hide treats.

toilet paper roll food puzzle toys

49. DIY food puzzles

You can DIY food puzzle toys too.

Always make sure there are no jagged edges. Safety first!

DIY puzzles and toys:
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Jars
  • Egg cartons
  • Tupperware containers
  • Anything else you have lying around

Make your cat paw out her treats or create hidden areas so he has to sniff out the treats.

Remember, if you can’t wash the puzzle, replace it regularly.

cat grass eco friendly

50. Cat garden

DIY a cat garden with safe plants for nibbling.

This can create fun entertainment and enrichment.

Cat plant options include:

Keep in mind that wild cats nibble on grass to help regurgitate anything that they don’t need in their systems.

If your cat eats these plants, he may regurgitate what he eats.

These plants are safe. But keep them in a closed room.

Supervise short interactions with them.

Keeping the plants away from your cat will also make interaction with the plant more special.

Cat routines

Having routines in place for your cats is important because cats want predictability in their lives.

Imagine that you live outside.

Your primary focuses are to eat, sleep, and survive. You wouldn’t want your day full of surprises, right?

Well, this is how we have to think when we share our homes with cats.

Wild instincts are ingrained in cats.

Even if cats have lived indoors their entire lives. Cats need a routine because they want their lives to be predictable.

Establishing routines in your life will help provide environmental enrichment for your cats.

Tip: You can establish cat rituals to prevent your cat from waking you at 3 am.

cat licked raw food plate clean

51. Cat feeding routine schedule

Ditch the all-access buffet. Your cat is overeating rancid food.

Instead, establish routine mealtimes. Feed your cats at the same time every day.

Thankfully indoor cats do not have to hunt or worry about their next meal.

But we should still provide stability to mealtime to prevent anxiety and stress.

Create a cat schedule feeding routine that works for both of you.

organic catnip on furniture lazy cat toys

52. Playtime routine

Implementing playtime as a routine is the best way to get your cat to play.

Your cat will expect it once the routine is established.

Start with 5 minutes a day and work your way up to 30 at your fur baby’s pace.

This can be broken up into multiple play sessions each day.

Wake up an extra 5 minutes early to get some playtime in before you leave for work. Implement a routine for when you come home or before dinner to play some more.

Play right before bedtime so your cat sleeps through the night.

53. Reduce stress around the home

Keep routines in mind with any life changes.

For example, moving furniture around, moving to a new place, or adding a family member.

Cats like consistency so any changes to your home and routine should be made gradually.

You can also establish routines for when you leave and come home to ease your cat into alone time.

Before you leave, put out treats for your cat to hunt.

When you come home, your routine could be spending 10 minutes on the couch cuddling, brushing, and/or petting.

Tip: Check out my story pin for the best ways to pet a cat for ultimate purring.

clean litter box area

Clean litter box

Unfortunately, many people overlook the importance of a clean litter box.

Cats are clean creatures. They spend 30-40% of their day grooming.

Cats prefer and deserve a clean bathroom. Just like you.

Provide your cat with sanitary options and keep that box clean!

A clean litter box is great for enrichment because it keeps your cat happy and healthy. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and behavioral issues.

Especially if your cat refuses the litter box.

54. Litter box location

Litter box location matters. Cats prefer a quiet, low-traffic, and private bathroom area.

You do too, right?

Don’t smush the litter box in the closet behind a bunch of stuff.

Instead, clear out the area where the box will live. Keep nothing else in that area.

Don’t put the litter box next to your cat’s food and water.

Do you eat in the bathroom?

Find a place that’s quiet and has a lot of space.

Don’t move around the litter box, either. Remember, cats prefer predictability.

55. Cleaning litter box routine

Cleaning the litter box once a month is unacceptable.

Would you ever go longer than one week without cleaning your bathroom?

Scoop after each use and clean it out completely once a week. No exceptions.

Tip: Check out my guide on how to keep litter box area clean to help you stay organized. I only spend 10 mins/week on litter box maintenance.

56. Stainless steel litter box

Ditch plastic. It traps bacteria. Even with regular washing.

Plus, you have to replace plastic at least yearly.

A stainless steel litter box is a one-time purchase. It won’t trap bacteria, and it’s easier to clean.

That means no more stank and less work for you.

And it’s better for the environment because you can use it for the rest of your life.

Buy a stainless steel litter box on Amazon.

metal or ceramic scoop to keep litter area clean

57. Metal scoop

Ditch plastic.

None of your cat’s food and litter supplies should be plastic.

A metal scoop is more sanitary and easier to clean.

And guess what? This is a one-time purchase too.

Just remember to clean this once a week as well.

Buy a metal litter scoop on Amazon and Chewy.

walnut clumping cat litter

58. Unscented, naturally clumping litter

Cats prefer naturally clumping litter.

Clumping litter allows you to remove the waste from the box.

Non-clumping litter would be like mixing your toilet waste and not flushing.

Yuck.

Cats don’t want to walk around on pee pee and poo poo litter. Would you?

Cats also prefer unscented litter. The cat’s nose is super strong and sensitive to strong scents.

Imagine smelling the litter 40x stronger.

PS: I’ve tried 11 types of litter, and I’m not 100% satisfied with any of them. Right now, I’m settling with walnut litter because it’s the best option we have.

Buy walnut litter:

double layer litter mat to keep area clean

59. Litter mat

A large, double-layer litter mat is super helpful with keeping the litter area clean.

The mesh-looking mats are great at trapping litter. But they aren’t great at letting the litter go. It’s really difficult to get it all out.

That means more stanky stank and bacteria buildup.

A double-layer litter mat traps the litter, and it all slides out when you dump it. You can clean between the layers which keeps it sanitary.

And it’s LARGE.

Buy a double-layer litter mat on Amazon:
diy litter genie

60. DIY litter genie

The litter genie is a great idea. In theory.

Unfortunately, the litter genie is expensive and plastic.

They get very stinky very quickly. And they’re awkward to use and clean.

Instead, try a DIY litter genie. It’ll keep litter waste out of your kitchen garbage.

And it will help you with scooping the box daily.

Buy a small stainless steel garbage bin on Amazon.

Check the size then buy waste bags that fit the bin.

61. Litter enclosures

I don’t recommend litter enclosures.

Cats prefer an open space when they go to the bathroom. It helps them feel safe while they are most vulnerable.

Cats like to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

But most apartment-living people want to hide the litter box.

So, if that’s you, choose a litter enclosure that’s built to last and has proper ventilation.

Check out my guide to litter enclosure benches that are worth your money.

urine test dipsticks

62. Urine test strips

Urine test strips come in handy when you’re transitioning foods or just as preventative care.

Use the strips to make sure your cat’s urine pH, urine specific gravity, protein levels, and others are normal.

It’s much easier to fix problems before they happen.

Most of the time, when cats show symptoms, the damage is already done.

These strips will help you communicate with your vet more accurately what’s been going on with your cat.

Buy urine test strips on Amazon for basic tracking.

Even better, use Affordable Pet Labs for more accurate monitoring of urine and feces.

training cats on harness and leash

Cat training

Training your cat can provide enrichment and entertainment.

It also comes in handy during emergencies.

You can train your cat on a harness and leash to provide safe outdoor time. This will open up your cat’s world to new smells, sights, and sounds.

You should also use friends and family to enhance your cat’s enrichment. Cats love their humans and interacting with them.

Give your cat some new friends and always hire professional sitters when you travel.

Even if your cat is shy.

63. Cat training

Dogs are much different when it comes to training. Their brains are hardwired to complete tasks for us.

We’ve bred them to be that way.

Cats shouldn’t be trained in such broad varieties of tasks like dogs.

However, practicing a few simple commands can help with entertainment and mental stimulation.

This is key when providing environmental enrichment for cats.
  • Train your cat to look at you when you say her name.
  • Train a sit on command.
  • Make her come to you when called.
  • Go into his carrier on command.

These are all crucial if you plan to travel with your cat.

Commands will also come in handy in the event of an emergency.

cat carrier

64. Cat carrier

A cat carrier is necessary for vet visits, safe trips outside, and emergencies.

Ditch the hard-case prison cat carrier. Cats like comfy breathable spaces.

Get a soft-case carrier that’s more inviting.

Buy a soft-case carrier on Amazon and Chewy.

Or backpack-style carrier on Amazon and Chewy.

cat outside enrichment

65. Safe supervised outdoor time

Taking your cat outdoors can help with social enrichment because your cat will meet a lot of new people.

Most people have never seen a cat walking on a harness and leash.

Everyone comes up to me and Jericho when we go outside.

You’ll have to train your cat on a harness and leash inside first.

Chances are, your cat will flop over and forget “how to cat” when you put the harness on.

Take your time with it and offer healthy treats as rewards.

Never bring your cat outside if you cannot supervise him the entire time.

For example, it drives me wild when I see people leave their dogs leashed up outside the store. Dogs don’t like this. And cats certainly don’t either.

It’s unsafe and causes them stress.

Also, bring your cat outside in the carrier so he doesn’t think it’s ok to walk out the front door whenever you open it.

Buy a harness and leash:

Buy natural flea deterrent powder on Etsy.

66. Catio balcony

If your apartment has a balcony, consider building a catio.

Never let your cat on the balcony without enclosing it.

A catio balcony is a great way to offer the outdoors without walking around the neighborhood.

Check out the DIY plans on Catio Spaces.

67. Social enrichment with friends

Have a friend or family member come over and interact with your cat.

If your cat is food motivated, give some of his favorite treats to your friend or family member.

Now your cat associates this person with a yummy treat.

If your cat is toy motivated, your friend or family member should play with your cat and his favorite toys.

Remember to be patient and move slowly.

Cats do everything on their terms.

This is great for enrichment because most cats are shy and timid around new people.

68. Hire professional sitters

When you travel, consider hiring a professional cat sitter for your cat’s social enrichment.

Cats love their humans and get lonely and bored without interaction.

So having someone check on your cat daily (at a minimum) is crucial for when you travel.

Even if your cat is shy, he will still benefit from a professional sitter visiting.

Your cat sitter will bring in new sounds and smells which will help entertain your cat.

Many of my clients have said that I’ll never see their cat.

Most of the time, after only a few visits, the cat comes out. And then we become best friends.

You can find an insured and background-checked cat sitter in your local area using Meowtel.

New clients can enjoy $15 off their first Meowtel reservation by using code: JESSICAL555665 (minimum 3-day reservation required).

cat enrichment diy scents cat sniffing inside shoe

69. Scent enrichment

Cats learn their environment and get around based on smells.

The cat’s nose is strong so they can pick up on scents that we are not able to detect.

Indoor cats are not exposed to as many scents as outdoor cats.

Providing lots of different smells will help build environmental enrichment for your cats.

Let your cat sniff you, your clothes, your shoes, and anything else that was outside with you.

This will allow your cat to learn more about what you do outside of the home.

These scents will help with stimulation because they present a whole new world to your indoor cat.

My cat and my clients’ cats love smelling my shoes.

They stick their whole head in there and roll around on them.

It’s important to let your cat rub on you and your clothing as well because they want to put their scent on you.

Cats rub their scent on you so they can recognize their smell on you.

siamese cats cuddling

Adding new family members

For the most part, cats are solitary animals. But that doesn’t mean they cannot get along with or become friends with other cats.

It’s important to introduce new cats properly because cats are very territorial.

Cats see your home as their territory. So when you bring in a new cat it can cause behavioral issues if they are not introduced properly.

cat enrichment diy siamese cats cuddling

70. Cat adoption

Adopting saves cat lives. But only if the cat finds his forever home.

Don’t rush into adopting another cat. Make sure you’re ready for another cat first.

Tip: I have a full guide that will tell you if you’re ready for a cat.

cat sniffing human finger

71. Introducing yourself to a cat

Cats remember us and our interactions.

It’s important to introduce yourself to a cat the right way the first time.

Cats are wary of newcomers and prefer everything to be done on their terms.

Tip: Check out my step-by-step guide on how to approach a cat for the first time.

72. Introducing cats properly

Cats are territorial creatures. They see your home as their territory.

Bringing in another cat can be stressful for everyone.

Introducing cats properly, however, can lead to a happy household.

Your cats are more likely to bond if you introduce them properly.

Tip: Check out my step-by-step guide on how to introduce cats fast.

cat enrichment diy cats grooming

FAQs

How can I enrich my cat’s life?

You can enrich your cat’s life by providing mental stimulation, fun playtime, and the right cat supplies. Wild cats get tons of enrichment from hunting. Mimic prey in appearance and movement when you play with toys. Provide tall cat furniture for climbing and scratching.

How do I keep my indoor cat entertained?

Keep your indoor cat entertained with these fun enrichment ideas! Every cat is an individual so you will have to keep track of what your cat likes and dislikes. Cats prefer human interaction to other stimuli so include yourself in playtime.

How do you stimulate a bored cat?

Cats get bored when they don’t have proper stimulation in their environment. Stimulate your bored cat by hiding healthy treats around your home for hunting. Play with engaging toys to get your cat active. Create fun routines like hunting for treats and playing. Once they are implemented as routines, your cat will expect them.

How do you make enrichment toys for cats?

Enrichment toys for cats are easy to make with the right supplies. You can DIY catnip toys with felt, wand toys with wooden dowels, and simple toilet paper roll toys. Cats love to play with string. But use caution and practice a safe playtime to prevent your cat from swallowing small pieces.

cat enrichment diy cats cuddling

Final thoughts on cat enrichment

Cat enrichment is crucial for indoor cats. It prevents boredom and keeps them entertained.

Provide multiple forms of enrichment. Cats are finicky and get bored easily.

Take your time and make changes gradually. Cats are sensitive to change.

Provide lots of toys, clean food and water, sanitary litter box conditions, routines, and fun training.

Your cat will love his new enrichment.

Need a centralized place to keep track of everything related to your cat? Grab my Cat Care Binder Bundle!