By Nikki Hess, Cat Lady Academy

Are you and your cat bored at home as you’re engaging in social distancing? There are plenty of fun and useful activities you can do while you’re stuck at home. These are just a few of our favorite ideas:

Play with your cat. It helps kitty get exercise, satisfy their hunting instincts, and may even tire them out enough so that they engage in undesirable activities (like attacking your feet) less frequently.

Experiment with taking better photos of your cat. Every cat photo is cute because there’s a cat in it. But many cute pictures can be improved with just a few simple tweaks, like brightening up the lighting. Check out the Lightroom app—you can quickly and easily make your cat photos look better just by using the Auto feature.

Groom your cat. ‘Tis the season of shedding! Now’s the time to brush your cat regularly. Many cats enjoy being brushed, and it will help their coat look sleeker.

Get crafty. Think of something you’d like to create for your cat. You could metal-stamp a charm for their collar, pick a fun fabric and sew them a bandana, or make them a toy. (Just be sure to keep any little bits and bobs away from kitty while you’re crafting!)

Donate to a cat organization. Many shelters cannot currently hold adoption events, so adoptions may be going slower, and therefore shelters may be housing cats for longer than usual. Donate to these organizations so that they have the funds to get food, litter, vet care, and more for the cats in their care.

Install a bird feeder. Cats love Cat TV! Consider installing a bird feeder in your backyard or on your balcony so kitty can watch the little tweeters. Can’t install a bird feeder? Consider setting up a goldfish bowl, get a betta fish, or install a fish tank instead. (Just be sure that the fish are kept safe from kitty.)

Check the important things. If you find yourself with a little more free time than usual (for example, if you’re not commuting to work because you’re working from home), use that time to take care of important but easily overlooked things like making sure the address linked to your pet’s microchip is current, or that your cat’s next vaccination is scheduled.

Go shopping—online. These days, shipping times are longer than what you’re probably used to. Check your cat’s food and medication supply. Place an order in advance for food or medications, and consider ordering a little more than usual so that you know you’ll have enough.

Deep-clean the box. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it! Periodically, it’s a good idea to deep-clean plastic litter boxes. Empty out all the litter, clean and disinfect it, dry it out, and then add new litter back in. Kitty will love their fresh new bathroom!

Spend quality time together. Enjoy cuddles and snuggles, if your cat’s into that. If they’re not, then just spending time in the same room is fine too! Spending time with a pet can lower your stress level.

Make your cat Insta-famous. Consider making an Instagram account for your cat. It’s a great way to share your cat’s cuteness, quirks, and life with others, and you can make other cat friends from around the world!

Whatever activities you choose to do, we hope you stay safe and healthy!

Nikki Hess is the cat mom of @mannyhalloweencat on Instagram. She’s also the founder of @catladyacademy, where she shares tips and advice to help you create a purrfect Instagram account for your cat.