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Should You Spend More Time with Your Cats In Winter? Indoor Enrichment & Activity Ideas

Written by: Chantelle Fowler

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat owner with her cat near window|

Should You Spend More Time with Your Cats In Winter? Indoor Enrichment & Activity Ideas

For many people, winter is the perfect time of year to stay inside, where it’s cozy and warm. These cold months of the year can be particularly rough for some folks and even for our pets. If you have an outdoor cat or a catio for your indoor kitty, they may not take so well to being cooped up indoors all day. So, should you spend more time with your cats to help pass these long and cold days a little faster? It depends on your kitty and their personality.

Read on to learn more.

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Should Cats Get More Attention in the Winter?

When the weather gets colder, your kitty will likely prefer spending most of their time indoors where it’s cozy and warm. They may like snuggling up for a good, long nap on a warm blanket instead of participating in play and getting their required physical activity in. You must provide them with the entertainment they need to ensure they’re getting the mental and physical stimulation they require to stay happy and healthy. Inactivity can lead to weight gain and obesity, which can cause devastating secondary conditions such as diabetes or impairments to cardiovascular health.

Of course, not all cats will be receptive to receiving more attention during the winter. If your cat prefers to be alone and not fussed over too much, don’t go overboard with your attention-giving. Offer play sessions throughout the day, but don’t force them into it.

cat welcomes his owner at home
Image by: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

What Activities Should I Do With My Cat in the Winter?

Winter is a great time to ensure your home is set up to be an enriching and cat-friendly space for your feline family members.

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1. Invest in Different Types of Toys

Cats will derive much enrichment from having access to many different types of toys. Visit your local pet store and invest in the following types of toys:

  • Toys that replicate hunting
  • Toys for cats that chew
  • Toys for cats to play with on their own
  • Electronic cat toys
  • Kicker toys
  • Catnip toys

Our Favorite Cat Toys Right Now

Here are a some of our favorite toys, each catering to a variety of senses and play preferences. Which one will your feline fancy? 

Hepper Mouse kicker toy Hepper Furballs
Hepper Plush Mouse Kicker Toy Hepper Furball Toy Set
Multisensory :
Multisensory :
Encourages self play
Encourages self play:
Encourages self play:
Durable :
Durable :
Set of 2
Set of 2:
Set of 2:

At Catster, we've admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

2. Get a Scratching Post or Two

If you don’t already have scratching posts in your home, now’s the perfect time to buy one. Scratching is a natural behavior all cats engage in, and without a dedicated place to do so, your kitty may turn to your furniture or walls. Scratching helps cats express emotions, sharpen their claws, and mark objects with their scent.

Pro tip

Provide different types of scratching posts to keep your kitty engaged. Some cats prefer vertical posts, while others like angled or horizontal ones.

3. Consider Quick Outdoor Sessions

If your kitty spends much of their time outside during the warmer months of the year, they may really struggle with staying indoors all winter. If this is the case, you might consider offering them quick outdoor sessions on the warmer days of the season. The keywords here are quick and warm. Cats can be prone to frostbite and hypothermia, so you shouldn’t allow them time outside on particularly frosty days. Still, provide places to shelter outdoors if it gets cooler out, and they’re not ready to come in, such as an outdoor shelter or cat house. Do not let them sleep outside in the winter.

We have a catio at our house accessible to our cats via a window. We open the window during the day in the winter sometimes if it’s warmer outside. Not all of our five cats will venture out during the winter, but most of them will go out to do some bird-watching for a few minutes before coming back in to warm up. Sometimes, all they need is a quick 15-minute jaunt outside to make sure they’re not missing out on anything exciting.

Pro tip

If your cat is old or arthritic, you may not want to let them outside during the winter. The cold has the same effect on feline joints as it does on humans, making them stiff and tender. Additionally, older cats tend to have thinner skin, which makes them more prone to the effects of cold weather.

Bengal cat sitting in a catio
Image by: TheCats, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Cats may need more attention from you during the winter, especially if they’re used to going outside to burn off all their excess energy. Ensure your pet has plenty of opportunities for play throughout their day so they don’t become complacent and lazy over the season. Buy new toys if you must, and even consider investing in a catio to give your pet some safe, structured outdoor time during the warmer days of the winter.

Featured Image Credit: Olezzo, Shutterstock

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