As winter approaches, it can be more difficult to take your cat out for their regular adventures. That’s where indoor cat enrichment comes into play! These DIY cat enrichment ideas are perfect for those times you’re not able to take your cat outside or for your less adventurous kitties who prefer the comfort of the indoors.
The best part? All these ideas are totally FREE! They use things you can find out in your yard or while you’re out for a fall hike. You’re essentially bringing the outdoors in for your cat and providing them with hours of fun.
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1. Create a sensory box for your cat.
Grab an old shoe box or any other sort of cardboard box you might have lying around, and fill it with dried leaves, pine straw, pebbles, clippings of cat-safe plants, etc. Any kind of yard debris you can find outside will work just fine.
Bring the box inside and let your cat explore! Your cat will appreciate the different smells, sounds, and textures.
BONUS TIP: Take things up a notch by sprinkling in some treats. Your cat will have to forage for them amongst all the leaves. You can also add in a battery-powered hex bug, creating a hunting experience for your cat.
2. Bring in some pinecones.
Pinecones come in a variety of sizes and make great toys for batting around on the floor. You can try tossing them for your cat to chase too.
3. Find a log or piece of driftwood for a natural cat scratcher.
Providing your cat with multiple scratching surfaces in your home not only helps preserve your furniture, it also provides your cat with the means to stretch and scratch the way they need to.
If you’re really wanting to spice things up and give your cat the chance to dig their claws into a real tree, you can find a log or piece of driftwood to bring inside. The log gives your cat a new kind of surface to feel and scratch on, and it will also have all kinds of interesting smells on it.
4. Bring in a large branch with leaves.
If you’re able to find a larger tree branch that still has a decent amount of leaves and twigs on it, bring that sucker inside! Your cat would love to play and hide in it.
You’d be able to get involved too for some interactive playtime and bonding. Wiggling the branches for your cat and tapping on the leaves to entice them to pounce and jump is so much fun!
5. Use a piece of tall, ornamental grass or a vine as a wand toy.
Every cat loves a wand toy! For an easy DIY option, pick a piece of tall grass or maybe even a vine to use. Just make sure whatever you pick is safe for kitties! I can guarantee your cat will love chasing it and maybe even munching on it.
About the Author
Emily Hall, ABCCT is a certified cat trainer and cat adventure enthusiast. As a “mom” to seven cats, one dog, and two sugar gliders, she has been writing in the pet industry for 10 years, with a focus on traveling and adventuring with cats. Emily and her husband enjoy hiking, road-tripping, camping, and canoeing with their three cat adventurers. Read more about her here.