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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.