Grumpy cat looking at a white uninterested cat

How To Keep An Indoor Pet Active

As the weather starts to cool down and people prepare for winter, our pets spend less time outdoors and make a transition to becoming indoor pets. Having an indoor pet can be great, but they might become lethargic and are at risk of becoming obese if they do not get any exercise. What can you do to keep your pet healthy as an indoor pet? Continue reading to learn more about keeping an indoor pet active.

Keeping an Indoor Pet Active

When it comes to keeping an indoor pet active, there are many different ways to go about doing this. Some ways might cost some money, while others simply require some of your time.


Playing games with your pet can give them the exercise that they need along with giving you quality time with them. It can also be very fun and entertaining for everyone involved. Here are some fun games to play with your pet.

Obstacle Course

If you have a large room, such as a spacious living room, basement, or garage (with any cars parked outside) you can set up an obstacle course for your dog or cat. You can have them jump over chairs, crawl under tables or anything that you see on dog shows. You can try to recreate something similar to this on a smaller scale.

Hide and Seek

This can be another fun game to play with your pet. You can do this by hiding treats in a secret stash around your home and sending your pet to find it. You can also go and hide and have your pet find you and other family members in different rooms.

Tug Of War

This can be a fun game and can be a great learning activity for your pet. Most people, however, are hesitant to allow their pet to play because they think that it will cause aggression. The American Kennel Club states that "Playing tug of war will not make your puppy aggressive. Rather it will teach him valuable skills like Drop It and emotional self-control."


You can play this game almost anywhere. All you need is a ball or other enticing object that your pet enjoys. Then simply throw it and have your pet retrieve it. To increase the amount of exercise that they are getting, you can go to the top of your stairs (if you have a second floor) and throw the ball down. Make sure that you have carpeted stairs so your pet does not slip. If your pet does not like playing fetch or has started to show signs of boredom, try mixing things up by changing the item they are fetching or play an alternative game like throwing a frisbee and having them retrieving it.

Other Activities

Besides playing games with your pet indoors, there are other things that you can do to help them stay active whether they are inside for the winter or are simply an indoor pet.


It is important to occasionally go for a walk and let your pet experience new locations. The National Wildlife Federation reminds pet owners that even a cat can go on a walk as long as you equip them with a harness and a leash. You can take them for a stroll around your neighborhood or at a local indoor pet park. If you decide to take your pet outside, The Humane Society also reminds everyone to make sure that your pet's collar and or microchip is up to date and include your address and phone number.

Play Area

This differs whether you have a cat or a dog. For cats, you can install little perches that they can reach and climb around on. This gives them their own space that only they can access. For a dog, you might want a small outside pen or designated area where they can get some outside time. You can also invest in buying a playpen or something similar to give your pet a safe area that they can play inside. Adding some toys and treats with some water can keep your pet entertained and exercised.

You can even play with them in the play area too. If it is big enough, you can get in with them, however, if you find it too small for the two of you then you can play from the outside of it. To play with them, you can throw your dog's ball around.

For your cat, you can put feathers onto a rope that is attached to a stick or pole. Waving this around will cause your cat to go after it. You can achieve the same effect with a laser pointer, however, it is important to not shine it in your cat's, or anyone's eyes at all.


Getting your pet a playmate can make it fun for when you are not around or do not have time to spend 1-on-1 with them. This could be adopting another pet altogether. If you do not want another pet at the moment, you can schedule a play date with a neighbors pet. This play date can either happen and your house, their house, or even a local park.

Make sure that you and your other pet parent are keeping an eye on the pets at all times to make sure that they are not aggressive with each other. Another thing to do before you go out on playdates with your pet is to make sure that they are well trained. You can learn all about dog training by reading one of our previous articles here.


When it comes to keeping your pet active, there are many different ways that you can do it. It is important to always remember to not overwork them and keep all games and interactions positive.