Independent and curious in nature, cats generally won't mind being alone during the day, yet would often show affection once their owners get home. Meanwhile, as a responsible cat parent, you might have asked yourself: Do cats get bored at home, especially when their owners are away and no one else is around?
Just like humans, cats can get bored too. For such smart animals, boredom might get the best of them if they aren't provided with an environment that provides enough mental and physical stimulation. As a result, a bored cat may exhibit unwanted and destructive behaviors. So how do you know if your cat is bored and what can you do about it?
Signs of Boredom in Cats
While a bored cat cannot express how they're feeling in words, they may show signs that indicate that they may indeed be bored.
Here are some possible signs that your cat is bored:
1. They fight or chase other pets or animals
When you notice your cat suddenly stalking and pouncing after other pets or humans they encounter, it may be because your cat is bored and is releasing pent-up energy. They could be looking for more stimulation and show more aggressive or destructive behavior.
2. Destructive behaviors
Bored cats may cause mischief by damaging furniture, curtains, and bed sheets with their scratches, or they may run around and accidentally topple vases or other breakables. This may be because they find ways to entertain themselves due to the lack of physical and mental stimulation in your apartment.
3. Apathy or inactivity
Cat owners can attest that cats spend a lot of time sleeping, but there are definitely times in the day that they are active and like to play. However, if you notice that your cat seems uninterested in things that they usually found enjoyable and exciting before and would rather just sleep and eat, then this may be a sign of a bored cat.
Some bored cats even become uninterested in food, which can lead to more problems. Note that if your cat's eating habits are involved, it is best to consult with a veterinarian to rule out possible health conditions. If you are uncertain whether a problem is serious or not, consider dropping a line to an online veterinarian service first.
Humans can sometimes overeat when they are bored, which also turns out to be common among felines. If it seems like your cat's appetite has increased, they may be eating more than usual to somehow satisfy their boredom. This can lead to health issues such as obesity and diabetes.
5. Repetitive behaviors
A bored cat may also show signs of repetitive behaviors such as overgrooming (licking, biting, or chewing on their skin and fur). This behavior may cause irritation and lead to even more overgrooming.
Sometimes, bored cats might express signs typical of anxiety, including excessive meowing, moaning and self-grooming. Similar symptoms can be spotted in cats who struggle from separation anxiety. Just don't forget that anxiety, in combination with boredom, can lead to destructive and aggressive behaviors.
How To Entertain a Cat
If you see any signs that your cat might be bored, it's the right time to intervene. Luckily, there are many ways to introduce toys and activities to keep your cat stimulated. The options are countless, ranging from the exciting games to play with your cat to the enrichment toys. We hand-picked a few solutions to stimulate your purr-friend:
1. Provide them with a view of the outside world
Cat trees, elevated platforms, or hammocks placed by the window make it possible for your cat to enjoy watching birds, people, greens, and even the sky. This provides them with much stimulation to not get bored. If possible, you can install a sturdy screen so that you can open the window, allowing your cat to smell the outside air and hear the sounds that come along with it.
2. Give them attention
If your cat is bored, it may be that they just need more attention from you. Set aside some daily time to pet and play with your cat without other distractions. Even though cats are naturally independent, they still need love and affection to be happy.
3. Toys and puzzles
Cats love playing, which is why they may get bored if there's nothing to play with. Offer them toys that would keep them entertained such as a food puzzle or a toy mouse. These are some of the best toys for bored cats.
And while there are wonderful toys out in the market, you may also opt to make the toys yourself using items available at home. The ideal mix is to engage your cat with interactive and independent play to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
Yes, cats indeed love boxes. Sometimes, even if you have a fancy catio for your cat, they end up choosing that cardboard box from your recently purchased appliance. So whenever you have a new purchase that comes in a box, don't put it in the recycling bin just yet.
It can still be used to keep your cat entertained or cozy. You can cut holes in the box and turn it into somewhat of a box house where your cat can take a peek or jump in and out of the holes. What fun!
5. Hide snacks for them to find
Cats are natural hunters in the wild. In the indoor setting, however, you can allow them to "hunt" by strategically hiding their favorite snacks around the house for them to find. This will keep them occupied and entertained while giving them satisfaction when they "catch" their tasty rewards.
6. Scratching posts
Place scratching posts around the house for when your cat gets the urge to scratch. They can be found in pet stores, or you can make one yourself. Think about some accessible places and various angles to place these posts to stimulate your cat physically.
7. Pet camera
Alright, but how to keep cats entertained while at work? If you spend much time outside your apartment, try communicating with your cat via an interactive pet camera. Petcube Play 2 allows you to stay connected to your purr-friend wherever you are and entertain them with a built-in laser to ease separation anxiety and boredom.
When health issues have been ruled out, and your cat's behavior indicates that they are indeed bored, providing your cat with a more enriched environment is highly encouraged. Showing them your love and affection, providing them with toys and places to climb and scratch on, and allowing them to see the view outside are some of the ways that have proved to make a lot of difference in keeping cats entertained and stimulated.
At the end of the day, providing your cat with a positive and enriched environment would help bring back their curiosity and zest for life.