Having an indoor cat isn’t as easy as having an outdoor cat. Not only do indoor cats typically need more attention, there’s plenty more you need to do to ensure a house cat stays physically fit and mentally stimulated than if you simply let your cat spend time outdoors.
But I’m on the top floor of a 7-story apartment building, and even if I were to move into a house, letting my cat out is not something I’d be comfortable doing. I’ve heard way too many stories from pet owners who have had a cat lost or run over by a car to be okay letting Avery out when we finally have a garden again – unless of course it’s cat proofed and he’d be adequately fenced in. I’m also not a fan of outdoor cats’ influence on the environment, and the sheer volume of birds they manage to kill. But that’s a story for another day.
For today I’m going to give you a peek at what a typical day for Avery currently looks like. His routine changes regularly, probably around once a month, as I’m always adjusting it when I think of ways that might benefit keeping him entertained and engaged throughout the day. He’s not an easy cat to engage, especially when it comes to play time, and so a lot of the things I do are specifically done because I have to work around his lazy-bones personality.
Another thing that’s important to note – I work from home and so does my husband. Avery’s rarely ever alone, and if he is, it’s for a few hours in a day, a couple times a week. It’s not for very long, or else I probably would have gotten him a snuggle buddy to keep him company already. We are still planning on getting Avery a sibling, but won’t until we’re in a house, as we’d like to have multiple rooms so we can have multiple litter boxes and separate the cats if need be; we can’t do that easily at the moment since we’re in a studio flat.
But enough of the qualifiers, let’s get into Avery’s daily routine! Starting from the moment the first alarm goes off at 8:00 AM.
My Cat Avery’s Current Daily Food & Fitness Routine
Morning Routine Part I: Breakfast with a Cat Puzzle Toy
I have a specific ringtone for alarms where Avery gets food. These alarms go off twice a day – once at 8:00 AM and once at 10:00 PM. He definitely associates the sound with feeding time, and excitedly meows along to the alarm each time it goes off. At 8:00 AM, I feed Avery in his Catit Senses Food Tree (reviewed here in case you’re interested). I sprinkle just a little bit of kibble from a jar I will have filled up the previous night after giving him his 10 PM meal.
I spoke about this in my article about preventing overfeeding if you’re giving your cat multiple meals and plenty of snacks per day, but basically I measure out one day’s worth of food in a jar, and throughout the day, give Avery from that jar only until it’s finished. So any time I’m talking about giving Avery food, snacks, or meals in this article, keep in mind the fact that it all comes from this one jar. I always ration to make sure I have something left for his dinner at 10, but besides that, I’m pretty generous these days with the frequency I give him food, which you’ll notice when reading the remainder of this article.
After giving Avery breakfast, if I’m still tired, I head back off to bed for another hour or two of sleep.
Morning Routine Part II: Changing Water + Exercise & Entertainment
Once I wake up for the day, I change Avery’s water, and he usually immediately drinks quite a bit at this point. Avery drinks a lot for a cat, and will typically take huge gulps each time he’s presented with water fresh from the tap. Luckily, he’s never any issues with UTIs in the past, though his cousins (my mother’s and brother‘s cats) certainly have, so I pay attention to his water intake to make sure he’s drinking enough.
If I accidentally forget to change the water, Avery will now stand by his mug and meow until I get the picture and re-fill it for him. I always use either a cup or a mug for Avery’s water, never a dish since he seems to prefer the additional height. I’m currently using a Le Cruset Bistro Mug, since it’s massive, really easy to wash, has a wide rim, but also is off-white/cream inside, which I find makes it easier for Avery to see where the water line is. Avery has a habit of sticking his paw into his water to make it ripple before drinking – I think because with metallic colours, with white ceramic inside, or with clear glass, he finds it hard to see where he should be licking to get access to the water. He does this a lot less since we switched to the Le Cruset mug, which I like since it means less mess from the splashing, and in my head, less bacteria from fewer paws going into the water.
For around 30 min to an hour after I’ve woken up, I’ll check emails, game (FFXIV!), or do some odd browsing ’til my husband Thomas wakes up. Avery sits in my lap the whole time, getting the snuggles and petting he’s missed out on while I was sleeping. As soon as Thomas gets up, he starts the kettle for coffee and I give Avery a second round of food – this time by making him go through an exercise workout for it. I’ll place a piece of kibble in my hand, luring him over to the dresser, then another piece with my hand over the bed, having Avery jump back and forth from the dresser to the bed until he’s got no more patience for jumping. At this point, I grab my coffee and sit on the rug for the mental stimulation part of his morning routine.
To make it certain Avery will actually engage – I need to involve kibble. So I came up with a game I could use to keep Avery mentally active and stimulated for around 15 minutes after his exercise workout each morning. I hide a piece of kibble under his small green mat, either in the corner or on one of the sides, then point repeatedly at the spot where the kibble’s hidden under, or show him by uncovering the kibble for a second to let him take a peek. He’ll then attempt to get the kibble out from underneath the mat – using his claws to lift the side it’s beneath, then stuffing his face under the uncovered portion of the mat. He’ll then sniff around until he’s found the kibble, munches away at it, and patiently waits for me to place another piece under the mat. It’s obvious this isn’t a very physical game, but it does the trick for mentally stimulating Avery for some time nonetheless.
Once I finish my coffee, the morning routine is over. I’ll take my laptop and go sit in bed where I’ll work for a few hours. Avery will typically join me, taking a nap lying on me, until I’ve completed my work.
Keeping Avery Up & Engaged Throughout the Day
Once I’ve completed my work, I’ll spend a lot of time doing miscellaneous things, bouncing between my desktop computer (where Avery always joins me by sitting on my lap), the kitchen for meals and/or snacking (where Avery will whine at me to complain about my leaving the room he’s in), and the bed with my laptop or a book (where Avery will again join me by sleeping right next to me).
Besides following me around, he’ll often also opt for an afternoon nap in the closet, as we’ve turned the top portion of my closet into a nap-zone by placing a pillow for him on the top shelf and making it easy for him to jump onto it. There are plenty of other places he’ll typically snooze for up to half an hour at a time, like by the window, in our office chairs, or in the Nongshim Noodle Box we leave for him on the dresser.
I give him a steady trickle of food throughout the day, usually a piece of kibble every 10 minutes while I’m at my desktop PC, a sprinkle of kibble into his Catit Senses Food Maze when he’s woken up from a long nap, or even another round of an exercise work out if I feel his morning exercise routine was cut too short by him slacking.
By doing this, I make sure he’s not sleeping way too much of the day away. Yes, cats are supposed to sleep a lot, but Avery takes the absolute piss if I let him, resulting in him spending the whole night waking me up over and over because he’s suddenly realized he can’t sleep forever. To make sure he (and therefore I) sleep through the entire night, I have to make sure he’s logged in enough “awake” hours during the day, and again, the best way I can assure this is going to happen is to hand over a plethora of snacks over time.
Evening Routine: Dinner Time with a Cat Puzzle Toy & Play
At 10:00 PM, Avery gets fed his (technically) second “meal.” At this point, I dump the remainder of what’s in his feeding jar into the Catit Senses Food Maze, refill the jar for the next day, change his water again (again, if forget, he’ll simply whine at the water until I’ve changed it). Avery will usually take his time eating dinner these days; after that, he’ll have a little rest and then at 11:00, start nagging at me to play with him.
Lately, the only game besides ones that involve food that he’ll engage in is the whole peek-under-the-rug type game. A couple of the Interpet Feather Wands I bought (reviewed here) were pretty much annihilated by Avery over time (bye-bye feathers), so I cut off both ends, and now use the stick portion of the toy to poke beneath the green mat we have for him to play peek-under games with him. He prefers when I place the mat on top of the rug and poke between, I think because he likes grasping something when he claws at the stick.
Avery won’t play at this game for long, but considering I make him do a cat workout by jumping for food each morning, and keep him engaged mentally with the food-under-the-mat game for some time, I’m not all that fussed if he just won’t engage in evening playtime for longer than 2-3 minutes (and yes, this is common). Once the games are over, I head to sleep, he follows me into bed, and the next day we restart the routine over again.
What Does Your Cat’s Daily Routine Look Like?
Do you have a house cat or an outdoor cat? Do you have a daily routine? Did you make this routine on purpose or did the routine just come about naturally?
Have you ever tried to create a daily routine for a cat? What was the result? If you haven’t yet, would you ever try making a somewhat fixed daily routine for a pet cat? Why or why not?
And of course – what do you think of my daily routine for Avery? Can you spot any ways I can improve it?
Really looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments!