Contrary to many kitty stereotypes, cats are not solitary hunters, content to prowl alone through the wilds of your living room.
Your cat can get bored – very bored without stimulation and interaction. Kitty needs playtime! She needs attention and things to do and ponder. If your cat gets excessively and consistently bored, this can lead to both depression and potentially even sickness. And yes, such boredom is possible even in the presence of gourmet, handmade tuna cat treats.
What is the most important antidote to your feline’s doldrums? You are, silly human! You owe it to your kitty to interact with her (involving toys and treats whenever possible, hint, hint), and put things in place for her to have a divinely purr-fect day.
Especially since cat boredom comes with not-so-desirable consequences for you like discovering “treats” outside the litter box and the need to get new furniture.
But first things first – how do you even know when your cat is deathly bored? After all, your cat can’t saunter up to you and tell you, although we know she certainly tries, especially when it’s three o’clock in the morning and you have just drifted off after a bout of insomnia.
Here’s a little list of tell tale signs you’ve got a bored cat on your hands – and what to do about it !
Your House is a Mess
Objects are scattered askew all over your desk. Your printer has been thoroughly punished for its past offenses, as has the brand new fitted carpet. Kitty is bored, and wants you to know it!
Remember that when your cat becomes very bored and feels neglected, bad attention might seem as desirable as good attention. You can help to prevent destructive behavior by paying your cat lots of attention, and burning off some of her boundless feline boisterousness with playtime. Interactive toys are always a good idea and if you’ve got a cat with energy to burn, walking your cat on a leash might be just what she needs.
Kitty’s Bowl is a Bottomless Hole
You just poured some food into your cat’s bowl ten minutes ago, and it has suddenly disappeared. Your cat is sitting beside her bowl, looking thoroughly underfed and pathetic. How could you be so cruel, human? A pile of food was there ten minutes ago? She has no idea what you’re talking about!
If you find that your kitty is eating more than usual, and appears obsessed with her food bowl to the exclusion of almost everything else, it is very possible that your cat is bored and she’s taken to eating to fill up the emptiness inside her.
The Cat Food is Not Disappearing
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some cats will actually stop eating when they are bored. If you notice that your cat’s food is having less and less of a dent in it than usual, try changing up their diet and giving them a treat or two of yummy canned food (which is actually better for them).
If all the new deliciousness has no effect – there’s no denying it, your kitty needs more stimulation.
You’re Sleeping Again?!
Has kitty’s catnaps become longer and more frequent than usual? You probably never thought it was possible for your cat to nap more than she usually does, but now it has happened and you are at a loss to explain it.
Just like humans, cats can resort to sleeping more to deal with boredom.
Everything is Covered in Cat Fur
Is there even more cat fur on the couch, or are fur balls becoming a more common occurrence? If so, your kitty’s nerves might be suffering!
No, your cat has not suddenly decided to become a supermodel! If she is licking and grooming more than before, it might be a sign of boredom, depression, and frayed nerves (maybe even more frayed than yours are when kitty decides to converse with a bird outside the window while you’re on the phone with your angry boss).
Is your cat is shedding more than usual, too? This is also a natural response to stress for our mini-lions.
Litter Box? What Litter Box?
Kitty is having litter box memory lapses!
Is your cat suddenly forgetting where the litter box is, even though it’s been in the same place for three years? If your kitty is leaving “presents” in odd places, and “marking her territory” in others, it’s possible that she is both nervous and wanting to get your attention.
Cat vs Couch (or Shower Curtain, or Bed…)
Oof. You’ve bored your kitty to death and now your new couch is in shatters.
In the place of happy, fun company, some cats can and will resort to fighting furniture and drapes to get some much-desired attention from their humans.
If it’s gone this far, you might have to take more drastic measures. No, this doesn’t mean you need to quit your job, no matter what your cat says. But it might be time to consider getting a second feline to keep your bored cat company while you’re gone.
How to Entertain a Bored Cat
Okay, reading the above has made you realize you have one bored cat on your hands, but what do you do now?
Well, for starters, let us reassure you that you don’t have to let your cat go outdoors. Keeping your cat indoors does make her a little more vulnerable to cat boredom, but it also comes with massive benefits like keeping her safe from potential cat fights, infectious diseases and even exposure to poisons.
I’ll never forget the reader who wrote in with a heart-breaking story about losing her cat to some poison he ingested while being out for a few days. Keep in mind that outdoor cats have a lifespan that’s only a fraction of those that live indoors.
The best news? Your cat doesn’t have to live her long, safe years being bored. Here’s a list of furr-tastic ways of keeping your cat entertained and happy!
Catnip to the Rescue
Always remember the power of catnip! Rub some catnip into your cat’s scratching post or cat tree, and leave catnip stuffed toys around the house.
It’s the easiest way to get a bored cat feeling like a frisky and footloose kitten.
Scratch the Stress Away
Even bored, couldn’t-care-about-nothin’ cats love to scratch. And if kitty’s been taking out her stress and frustration on you furniture – she needs a great scratcher.
Make sure to go for one that’s tall enough for your cat to really stretch out while using it. An even better idea? Get one with a catnip toy attached so she can scratch and play.
Bird Watching = Hours of Kitty Entertainment
Do yourself and your cat a favor and get a “birdie” window. All you have to do is set up a bird feeder outside a window and then watch the birds flock. Even just a basic, very small one will do although a large one is visually stunning.
Your cat will love to sit on the window sill and alertly watch her imaginary lunch play and frolic. The occasional squirrel or even rabbit might present itself, too, much to kitty’s delight.
Just make sure to keep the glass window pane closed. You would be amazed at how much damage a very excited cat can do to a wire window (she might even be able to push it out and get through, which would be a very bad thing for both kitty and the birdies)!
Feed Time Can Be Play Time
What do all cats need to do? Eat, of course. So why not use these feed times to provide some stimulating entertainment for your cat?
A super easy way to do this is to simply use puzzle feeders. There are many different kinds of puzzle feeders out there to choose from and they’ll help keep your cat engaged, lively and possibly even eat less.
She will probably think you’ve gone a bit crazy at first, but humans are generally crazy anyway, so it won’t worry her for long!
Another smart trick is to let your mini-tiger use her formidable hunting instincts by hiding food and treats in different places around the house for her to find during the course of the day.
Toys for Bored Cats
What are the best toys for bored cats? Well, it really depends on what your cat likes – cats, like humans, tend to be interested in different things.
Go for several different types of cat toys and introduce them one at a time to your cat to find out what gets him going. Here are some of the best cat toys to try out…
- Prey toys. Is your cat a natural hunter? Have you ever seen him pursue a trapped fly with the fury of a tiger? Well, he’ll probably enjoy cat toys that look, sound, feel or move like mice or birds. Here’s an awesome squeaking mouse toy your cat will love!
- Cat tunnels. Does your cat love to explore different parts of the house? A cat tunnel might be just what he needs. A lot of these also crinkle and make noise which make them even more delightful.
- Interactive toys. Cats like things that move, which is what makes interactive toys so effective at entertaining bored cats. Here’s an interactive cat toy that’ll keep him entertained for hours!
You can always DIY cat entertainment as well by using cardboard boxes to make special tunnels, mazes, dens, and beds. We all know how much cats love their precious cardboard boxes, so you are certain of feline approval!
Leave bird videos playing on the television, with the volume up! Your cat will be mesmerized, and she will certainly not be bored with all the thinking and planning she will have to do to get those tasty birdies out of the magical box.
Plus, there are many available on YouTube and to download online. Like this one…
So, kitty wants to know, what has the human learned?
You can now confidently report to your cat that you know how to make sure every day is fun, frisky, and fully feline!