Did you know this? Cats get bored. Very bored. That’s especially true of cats who live strictly indoors. I’ve put together some suggestions for making life more fun and interesting for bored cats.
Do cats get bored, Thomasina? All my cat does is eat and sleep.
— Worried Cat Mom
Hi Worried Cat Mom!
Thanks for your question! Sadly, many people don’t even think about cats getting bored. But boredom can be a real problem for cats, especially cats who live strictly indoors.
Think about what your life would be like if all you had to do was look at the same four walls day after day, year after year. I’ll bet you’re already falling asleep!
While we do sleep a lot — between 13-16 hours a day — there’s a reason for those frequent cat naps. Our bodies are designed to run, climb and hunt, and we need to conserve energy for all those intense activities. But sleeping all the time isn’t conserving energy. When cats get bored, they can’t think of anything else to do but sleep.
How To Know When Cats Get Bored
When humans get bored, you yawn. But our language is much different than yours. We yawn when we’re relaxed and want other cats to know we’d like to be friends.
When cats get bored, they might sleep even more than usual, like yours is. Other signs a cat’s bored are overeating and over-grooming so much the cat pulls fur out. Bored cats can become aggressive, too, and chase the other animals in the household for lack of anything better to do. Or they can become destructive and eat plants or knock things off tables, just to entertain themselves.
What To Do For A Bored Cat
I hate to say it, but making your cat’s life fun and interesting inside might take some effort on your part. Remember, we’re designed to run, climb and hunt. Providing those opportunities indoors isn’t always easy. But here are 11 suggestions.
1. Provide some long, clear spaces where your cat can run without crashing into a wall, even if you have to remove some clutter or rearrange the furniture a little bit. Then toss a noisy toy. He’ll have fun running after it. You can even teach him how to play fetch.
2. Play with your cat with a wand or fishing-pole toy. You’ll both have fun, and your cat will get to do some hunting. Da Bird is our favorite wand toy.
3. Leave some blinds and curtains open so your cat can see outside and nap in the sun.
4. Attach a bird feeder to a window so your cat can get up close and personal with his feathered friends.
5. Get a fountain that actually splashes. Even if your cat doesn’t drink from it, he’ll enjoy playing with the running water. We like this one best because the bowl is big enough for us to easily get a drink.
6. Provide high places for climbing and low places, like a tunnel, for hiding. We love our floor-to-ceiling cat trees, but high pieces of furniture work, too. Just clear off the top so your cat can jump, land and then stretch out for a nap. If you get a cat tree, put it near a window so your cat can see outside. A window perch is another great way to create a high place.
7. If you shop online, save some boxes for your cat. We love the woodsy smell, and boxes are fun to jump in, nap in and scratch. To keep them interesting, move them from place to place in your house.
8. Give your cat toys that actually do something. Playing with a mouse that’s already been “caught” and is just lying there is no fun, and most of us will just ignore it. Electronic toys are great, and I could chase this robotic mouse around our condo for hours.
9. Treat balls are another way to make indoor life more interesting and fun. We like this one best, and we have several.
10. Open a window, even in the winter. Nothing boosts the spirits more than a breath of fresh air.
11. And finally, find a way to get your cat outside. Take him out on a harness and leash, provide some supervised outdoor time or build a catio for him. Spending some time outside will improve his physical and mental health more than you can imagine.
I hope this helps, Worried Cat Mom. If you’ll excuse me, I need to get going now. I’ve been dictating much too long, and I’m feeling cramped. I need to go outside and get some exercise. Maybe my human typist will come with me. We love to go for walks together!