9 Toys to Keep Cats Happy When They're Home Alone

  • 01 of 10

    Worried About Leaving Your Cats Alone all Day?

    Cat playing with toy mouse
    Roz Todaro/Moment/Getty Images

    Common questions from my readers include, "Is it fair to keep a cat cooped up indoors while I am at work all day?" and "What can I do to help keep my cat from being bored when I am not at home?" These are good questions because bored cats can sometimes become mischievous cats while trying to entertain themselves.

    Fortunately, there are several toys that can help keep them occupied, while stimulating and challenging their curiosity and intelligence. The exercise certainly helps, too.

    Be sure to...MORE alternate the toys regularly to keep your cats' interest stimulated.

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  • 02 of 10

    Mewvie Birdland Bonanza Cat Video

    Cover Photo of Mewvie Birdland Bonanza
    Cover of Mewvie Birdland Bonanza. Amazon.com

    My cats think their Mewvie Birdland DVD is the best thing to come along since fish flakes. Billy, in particular, will watch the twittering birds in an outdoor setting for several hours. In fact, this DVD has stimulated his interest in television in general. The DVD can be set to play in a loop for extended continuous play. Be sure to read my photo review.

    Buy at Amazon

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  • 03 of 10

    Peek-a-Prize Toy Box

    SmartCat Peek-A-Prize Box

    The most interesting aspect of the Peek-a-Prize Toy Box is that cats' natural hunting and stalking instincts come into play. Their interest is not particularly in the "prey" (toys hidden inside the box), but in the thrill of the hunt. Our floor soon became littered with toys flipped out of the box by one cat or another. Be sure to stock the box with plenty of toys to maximize your cat's home-alone playtime. This is not a toy that cats will soon grow tired of, as my photo review demonstrates.

    Avail...MOREable through Amazon

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  • 04 of 10

    Yeowww Catnip Cigar

    Yeowww Catnip Cigar

    Yeowww Catnip Cigars are in high demand in our house. We almost always have three or four of them lying around in various stages of wear, and the cats compete over the new ones fresh from the store. The catnip scent lasts amazingly long, and I've found a few spins in a warm dryer refreshes Catnip Cigars for a whole new round of play. Yeowww also makes Catnip Bananas and a number of other catnip products, but for some reason, my cats prefer the cigars.

    Purchase at Amazon

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  • 05 of 10

    Babble Ball by PetQwerks

    Babble Ball

    The Babble Ball with electronically activated "kitty-friendly" sounds, will get your cat's attention right away, and pique his curiosity as he tries to find the source of the voice. Don't kick one in the middle of the night, though, unless you want to jump out of your PJs!. (Been there - done that.)

    Read my review of the Babble Ball.

    Buy at Amazon

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  • 06 of 10

    Mylar Balls by Think!Cat

    Mylar balls

    Cats generally love shiny, crinkly toys, and a mylar ball provides hours of chasing fun. You'll need a plentiful supply as these will tend to end up hidden under furniture. These balls by Think!Cat are suitable for both play alone or interactive play.

    Available at Amazon

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  • 07 of 10

    Go!CatGo! Play-n-Treat Balls

    Go!CatGo! Play-n-Treat Balls

    Colorful balls that you can fill with small treats or kibble. The treats fall out of the holes in the side when kitty rolls the balls around. They come two in a pack, and are reasonably priced. My kittens go nuts over the Go!CatGo! Play-n-Treat Balls.

    See Them at Amazon

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  • 08 of 10

    Petmate Cat Crazies

    Photo of Petmate Cat Crazies Cat Toy
    Petmate Cat Crazies. photo © Petmate / Screenshot by Franny Syufy

    I can fling one down the hall and Gaither will chase it down, then bring it to me and drop it by my feet for the next chase. When I tire of that game, he will pick one up and carry it to the water fountain, drop it in, then pick it up and fling it over his head then chase it down again.

    Caution - even though those "points" are rounded, they're painful when stepped on with bare feet. Also, I read ​an Amazon review that large dogs could swallow them, so buyer beware if you have large dogs at home.

    Se...MOREe at Amazon.com

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  • 09 of 10

    Paper Shopping Bags

    Photo of Cat Playing in Paper Bag
    Cat Playing in Paper Bag. photo © Getty Images

    Don't forget the "freebies." Most cats love the crinkle and hiding ability of paper bags. Crunch one up to make it more interesting, then open it up. Cut or tear a window or two in the side for hide 'n' seek with other cats. Hide a toy or two inside. Use your imagination, or just let your cat use his own. Our living room sometimes resembles a supermarket disaster because of the number of paper shopping bags lying around. Don't forget to cut off any handles first.

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  • 10 of 10

    Cardboard Boxes

    Cat playing in cardboard box
    Nazra Zahri / Getty Images

    Cat-sized cardboard boxes also make great free cat toys for adventurous cats. Just leave one on the floor with the lid partially open. Try duct-taping two or three open-ended boxes together for a tunnel. Cut peek-a-boo windows randomly in the sides. Cardboard boxes are also a good place for hiding a toy, catnip cigar, or other treats. Boxes also make great interactive toys. Our Jaspurr loves to be dragged around in his "box sled."