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Here's how to tell if your cat is bored and what you can do to fix it.

6 Signs Your Cat is Bored and How to Fix It

Just like a human, if your cat is bored, they may develop some bad habits or even start doing things that are either unhealthy for them or frustrating for you. Repetitive behaviors, overeating, terrorizing other pets, or even becoming destructive are all potential signs that your cat is bored. 

Cats are home all the time and, depending on their parents’ lifestyle, sometimes by themselves. Despite their reputation for being independent, cats can get lonely and bored, and extended time by themselves can cause anxiety.

Here’s how to tell if your cat is bored and how to fix it!

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6 Signs Your Cat is Bored

1. Over-Grooming or Other Repetitive Behaviors

Bored cats may go beyond regular, healthy grooming habits. Repeatedly licking, pulling out fur, or chewing at their skin can lead to irritation, which only makes the problem worse.

Excessive meowing is another behavior that can indicate boredom.

2. Overeating

If you’ve ever popped open a bag of chips or finished off a carton of ice cream simply because there was nothing else to do, you understand exactly how boredom can lead to unnecessary eating.

Cats can develop the same unhealthy habit of overeating when they’ve got nothing else to do. This behavior can result in obesity and all of the health issues that accompany it.

3. Inactivity

It’s totally normal for your cat to spend a lot of time napping. However, they also need to enjoy periods of activity like playing, play-hunting, climbing, and exploring. If your cat seems depressed or never wants to leave the comfort of their sleeping place, it could be that they’re bored.

6 signs your cat is bored

4. Terrorizing Other Pets

A bored cat will sometimes chase and annoy other animals in the house. If your cat is attacking other cats, ambushing the dog, or stalking the guinea pig, one possible explanation is that she needs other stimulation.

Cats are natural predators and since we’ve taken them out of their natural hunting habitat, they may seek to fulfill that instinct inappropriately, especially when they’re bored. 

5. Peeing Outside the Box

Going outside the litter box is another frustrating behavior that can sometimes be attributed to boredom. Of course, it may also mean that your cat has developed a disliking to her box or her litter. Any time a cat starts having litter box issues, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your veterinarian to rule out a medical cause. After that, a litter box makeover (along with steps to address boredom) will frequently solve the problem.

Any change in behavior is a good reason to talk to your veterinarian so you can identify and treat any sneaky underlying issues. In addition, adding a few boredom busters is a sure way to make your cat’s life more stimulating and interesting.

6. Destructive Behavior

If your cat is shredding your curtains or destroying your furniture, it’s not out of spite! Chances are they’re bored or perhaps anxious. Remember, your cat is using this behavior to try and communicate with you.

Providing them with proper stimulation can go a long way to warding off these bad behaviors.

Download the FREE Cat Bonding Ebook

How to Entertain a Bored Cat

Create A More Enriching Indoor Environment

Window Seats – Set up perches in different rooms throughout your house. Birds, butterflies, and squirrels provide interesting, interactive entertainment that will keep your cat amused for hours. You can even bring the entertainment right to the window by setting up a bird feeder or a birdbath just outside.

Photo of a gray cat using a scratching post

Scratching posts: Scratching is a completely natural behavior, but cats need an appropriate outlet. If your kitty is shredding your sofa or area rugs, a scratching post or mat is a great option to keep her busy without damaging your furniture.

Photo of a gray and white cat sitting inside a cat tower

Cat towers: A cat tower will allow your cat to climb, scratch, and perch as they wish. They can be a bit bulky, but if you have the room, they’re a great way to keep your cat engaged. 

Photo of a brown and white cat sitting inside a cat cave

Cat Caves: Cats are naturally drawn to cozy hiding spots so why not provide them one of their very own? A cat cave is basically a pet bed that’s shaped like a ball with a single hole for them to crawl into.

You could also make a hideaway by simply cutting a hole in a box. Another option is to open a brown paper bag and place it in the middle of the room. Cats usually find these spots irresistible.

Playtime – Best Cat Toys for Bored Cats

Toys are a great way to provide both physical and mental exercise. It’s also a good idea to find a few toys your cat loves and then rotate them occasionally to keep things fresh. Here are a few of my favorite toys to engage your cat’s mind.

Photo of Doc and Phoebes Indoor Hunting Cat Feeder

Puzzle Feeders: Puzzle feeders are toys that contain food or treats, but your cat has to work to figure out how to release them. One of my favorite puzzle toys for cats is Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Feeder.

It comes with three mice that you fill with food and hide around the house. Not only does your cat have to play with the mice to get the food out, but she’ll also have the fun of finding them! This toy engages her natural hunting instincts, and it will keep her brain stimulated.

Photo of an avocado catnip toy

Catnip – A catnip toy can add an element of interest to keep your cat stimulated and happy.

Although it’s most well known for inducing an energetic, active response, some cats react to it by becoming calm and relaxed. You may even be able to grow your own for a cat-friendly indoor garden.

Interactive Toys: Interactive toys are a fun way to bond with your cat while providing her mind and body with some much-needed stimulation.

Usually these toys involve some kind of feather or toy attached to a pole and string for you to dangle for your cat.

Laser pointers are another fun option for your cat to chase. In my experience, cat parents find these toys just as amusing as their kitties do. Playing with your cat for fifteen minutes or so a couple of times a day gives her an element of excitement to look forward to.

Treat Your Indoor Cat to Some Outside Time

Inside is by far the safest place for cats. However, you may be able to provide your cat with safe, supervised time outdoors that your kitty may love.

Enclosed Porch: If you’re lucky enough to have a screened-in porch, this is the perfect space to allow your cat to enjoy the sunshine, breeze, and birds in safety. Even if you don’t have one already, there are many ideas on the Internet on how to build a dedicated outdoor space, or “catio“, for your cat. Of course, cats should be supervised in any type of enclosure, and shouldn’t be left alone for too long.

Go For Walks: Taking your cat for a walk is one way to allow her to enjoy outside stimulation without exposing her to the dangers of roaming free outdoors.

Some cats will walk on a lead with a harness. Others do better in a cat stroller. These strollers are designed with small pets in mind and feature enclosures to keep your cat safe, but allow her to take in the sights along the way.

Spend Time Together

Playing together isn’t the only way to alleviate your cat’s boredom. Other ways to bond include cuddling, reading, and brushing. Find what works for you and your cat. The important thing is to make time for it regularly so your cat doesn’t feel lonely and bored.

Go here to learn about more ways to show your cat you love them.

Get a Buddy

With enough stimulation in their environment, many cats are fine being “only cats.” Others might benefit from a little feline companionship. If you choose to bring home another cat to keep your kitty company, you may want to try fostering first. This way you’ll be able to tell if your cat will welcome the new companion.

Being bored is no fun for humans or cats! Thankfully, it’s simple to keep your cat active and entertained, even if you have to leave them alone from time to time.

Download the FREE Cat Bonding Ebook

Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert, influencer, and Fear Free Certified® Professional with over 30 years of experience in the industry. She's helped millions of pet parents provide the best care at every stage of their pet’s life.

Her blog, Pet Living with Kristen Levine has been featured in Pop Sugar, Good Housekeeping, New York Times, USA Today, and more.

She's also the founder of FWV Fetching, the first marketing agency exclusively serving pet and animal health companies.

Her early work with the SPCA led her to a lifelong career in the pet industry, advocating for pet adoption and rescue as well as for pets and their parents here on her blog and in the media.

She’s frequently booked on satellite media tours and national shows, like FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, and Daytime, to talk about pet trends and new products.

Insanely passionate about pets since she was a little girl, Kristen has had more than 30 pets in her lifetime — including dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, a horse, a gerbil, mice, and chickens!

In 2022, she launched to help pet parents keep pet homes clean -- to love more, stress less.

Kristen is married and lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her dog Tulip.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. I have a cat highway everything u mentioned here except being able to let her out where I lived before she was able to inside and outside but the apartments I live in now I can’t let her out and no matter what I do she is very unhappy she is two and half old and part maincoon she’s been indoors for a year need help to make her happy and stop crying

    1. Hi Dawn,

      I am sorry to hear that your cat seems to be unhappy! Is she crying all the time? She could be trying to tell you something, rather than being bored. First, take her to the vet to rule out any health problems.

      Once she is determined to be healthy, ensure that she has plenty of interactive toys at home. Things like hunting feeders, cat grass, and toys that move around are key to keeping her entertained and satisfying that hunting instinct throughout the day. I really like Doc and Phoebe hunting feeders. You can put little treats, or kibble in them for your cat to hunt.

      I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes.


  2. hi! i have two cats, one of them never seems to be bored and is very content. the other one however is constantly bored, he runs around, destroys everything, meows loudly, weaves between my feet, and bullies the other cat. i don’t understand what to do because he has a multitude of interactive toys, i’m home almost all day every day, i take him outside sometimes, and he has access to lots of windows, toys, and food and water. he seems so bored out of his skull though and i feel horrible about it. do you have any idea what i could do to help him be less bored? thank you so much!!

    1. Take him to the vet. My cat was going through something similar and I couldn’t understand why!! Took him to the vet and turned out he had parasites and needed to be neutered!

  3. Hi,
    I have two cats, I used to live in a house with 2 other cats and 3 dogs, my two cats used to always have others to play with and my roommates were always home so my cats were always able to be pet or cuddled even when I was out. We also used to have a back yard and I would let them out occasionally. I recently moved to an apartment and now it’s just me and my 2 cats, I have family here and I’m looking for a job and going to school so I’m out a lot, I try to be home so my cats don’t feel lonely or something but they always seem bored now. They kind of just walk around the apartment or sleep, I have a tower for them and scratching post as well as tunnels and other toys for them but I still feel like they don’t look very content. When I get home they seem to miss me so I pet them and try to play but one just seems apathetic and the other only plays a bit and walks away. Are they okay or what else can I do so they are happy and playful again?

    p.s I am trying to fix my balcony with cat friendly plants so I can take them out there when I’m home

  4. My kitten was never the same after she was spayed, a completely different cat, used to climb curtains, play fight with sister, now she just likes to lay and do nothing and eat had to put her on a diet, the sister is the same as she was months ago. I keep telling the vet she’s a completely different cat but just says that can happen, she’s a year old now and never cases anything just lays there ?

  5. I have a maine coon cat. He seems to be bored. He doent do anything such a play with toys I put the toys out and he plays for a minute. My other cat is so needy. She always let me know when she wants me to play But my maine coon if he wants something he will sit next too what he wants an stares at me . The maine coon is mute. He just started to chirp at night. They both play together. They run around together. But the maine coon at night starting to chirp a lot at night. He never has done this before. Its been a month now. He is 7 years old. My question is how do I help him play more

    1. Hello Joyce,

      That sounds very frustrating. One thing I found that helps is to try a wide variety of toys to see if it’s all toys that he’s not interested in or just certain types of toys. One of my friends had a cat who would ignore every fancy toy his pet parent tried. They finally figured out he only liked one thing – chasing shoelaces! If he likes catnip, catnip-infused toys may get him playing. You may also want to try playing at different times of day. For example, some cats are only into playing before their meals. Hope this helps!


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