If 2020 taught us anything, it was that being stuck inside all day everyday can get boring.
Cats are home all the time and, depending on their parents’ lifestyle, sometimes by themselves.
Many cats are left to entertain themselves while their family is away at work and school every day.
Unfortunately, there is also a myth that cats can be perfectly find on their own if you leave them for days on end.
Despite their reputation for being independent, cats need humans. Even if they pretend to avoid us all day, cats can get lonely, and extended time by themselves can cause anxiety.
I personally try and never leave my cats overnight. I am fortunate enough that we are in a situation where if we are leaving out of town, my parents are able to watch the cats at their house. (Pawty at grandmas!)
Even with us being at home all of time, it is still important that your cat is entertained.
Cats may not binge watch TV like us humans, but they do give us clues if they’re not getting enough stimulation in their lives. Here are five signs your cat may be bored.
5 Signs Your Cat is Really Bored
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.
I like to think about it as a human. Anyone bite their nails? Think about if you had nothing to do all day except bite your nails and brush your hair.
Pretty sure we would be nail-less and hairless creatures once we get bored enough. Cats are the same way.
Excessive meowing is another behavior that can indicate boredom.
This is one that I am SUPER guilty of when I first got cats.
How many times do you mindlessly eat? A ton? Cool, same!
Did you know that cats can do the same thing? Yep! Especially if you leave your cat food out all day, cats can start to use food as a form of entertainment.
This behavior can result in obesity and all of the health issues that accompany it.
It’s totally normal for cats to spend lots of time napping.
However, they also need to enjoy periods of activity like playing, play-hunting, climbing, and exploring. If your cat never seems to leave the couch or seems glum and mopey, it could be that she is bored.
This was my Phoebe for the longest time. And I didn’t think anything of it, because I was always there!
It wasn’t until we got the kittens, and when we traveled to my parents that I realized she was bored! She isn’t necessarily a “player”. But she would run, flop, chase the dog. You know normal cat stuff.
4. Terrorizing Other Pets
Did you know cats can get bored even if they have friends in the house?
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.
Now, to back up on the previous section when I said Phoebe was chasing the dog. It was playful, both were chasing each other and having a good time.
However, if one of your cats is hissing at the other when they are chasing them, then that is probably where you need to step in and help entertain them.
5. Destructive Behaviors
For the longest time, I feel like cats had the stereotype of ruining your house. They would pee on your carpet, ruin it. Tear up your curtains, ruin your couch. And more!
Now, do they have the potential to do that? OF COURSE! I have had a couch ruined by the cats because I didn’t care about it. (And was not well educated on ways to stop them from scratching. Would not recommend this technique).
As someone that now has an very white aesthetic house that does not look like there are 4 cats living it, I am telling you it is possible.
However, when cats act up it’s often a sign they are bored.
They can do things like climb the curtains, or even go outside the litter box.
Going outside the litter box is another frustrating behavior that can sometimes be attributed to boredom.
If you are having a cat go outside the litter box, first rule out medical issues, then try to do some boredom fixes. If it continues to be an issue, I will be writing a post about that here soon and will link it once it is up.
How to Entertain a Bored Cat
So we talked about signs your cat is bored, but what’s next? Here are some really easy ways that you can entertain your bored kitty.
Create A More Enriching Indoor Environment
The first thing you want to think about when you realized your cat is bored is to look around you. Does your cat have anything to look at all day? Besides you, of course? Is there anything for them to entertain themselves with? If no, check out some of these super easy ways to add some spice to your home.
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.
Cat Tower – If you are like me, I don’t completely trust window seats. I know a lot of people who have them and love them, I just get nervous. My alternative is cat towers. (We have three. But I think we spoil our cats). Cat towers are great because cats can still see outside if you place it near a window, they have different heights that they can look out, and multiple cats can fit there.
Scratching Post – if your cat is scratching your home, make sure they have a scratching post! The not only provide entertainment for cats, then also help file their nails so they stay at a reasonable length.
If you pick the right cat tower, then most of the time a scratching post is built right in. You can also get smaller ones to place around your house as well.
Cat Cave – 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. If your cats are like mine, then that cave will be used to go in, on, around and over.
Best Cat Toys for Bored Cats
If your cat is bored, what’s the best way that you can entertain them? Easy, toys! I will give you some common options of cat toys that help with bored cats, but I encourage you to watch your cat and find what works for them.
If you have read other posts here, then you know my cats LOVE neon green earplugs. No idea why. But they are now all over the house and the amount of times I have walked around a room to see a kitten carry that earplug…Too many to count.
Toys are a great way to provide both physical and mental exercise. It’s also a
Catnip toy – The catnip banana is a favorite in our house. Catnip provides entertain for them, and can even help them start to learn to play with toys if typical cat toys don’t entertain them.
Interactive Cat toy – Sometimes we can’t always play with our cats. Perfect example, while I am writing this post and had two cats climbing all over me. My favorite solution is an automatic cat laser. It moves around and keeps them entertained. (Oh and it tires my little kitties out. Win/win).
Switch Up The Scenery
If your cat is really bored and you live in a small apartment, the walls can feel like they are closing in.
Inside is by far the safest place for cats. However, you may be able to provide your cat with safe, supervised time in other locations that your kitty may love.
Friend or Family Member’s House – If you are have friends or family that live close, then you may be able to take your cat(s) with you when you go visit them. I take our 4 cats to my parents every other month for weekend visits. It is great because we don’t worry about the cats, they get along with the animals there, and we get to see our family! (And the cats get new scenery besides our boring house).
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. If you are wanting to make a safe balcony for your cat to enjoy, check out How To Make A Balcony Safe For Your Cat.
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. I only suggest this option if you do not have a skittish cat. Out of our 4, we let 2 go outside regularly with supervision, and one when she wants to. The other is has no desire and is way too fearful for us to be comfortable with that.
Spend Time Together
Let’s save the obvious ones for the end. Sometimes just being near your cat can help alleviate their 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.
Get a Buddy
With enough stimulation in their environment, many cats are fine being “only cats.” Others might benefit from a little playmate. If you think your cat would benefit from a friend, look into adding a new cat to your family.