How Can You Tell If Your Cat Is Bored?

How can you tell if your cat is bored? Do you know the signs? In this post, we will discuss some of the indications of boredom, and then we’ll talk about what we can do to help get your cat out of the doldrums.

If you have an indoor cat, there’s a good chance that he will become bored from time to time because, since he doesn’t have to hunt to survive, what’s there to do? Realize the importance of recognizing kitty’s problem. Then you can see if you can find a solution or two.

When you are looking for ways to relieve the boredom, remember that a cat, living in the wild, is an excellent predator. He loves to chase, hunt, and pounce on potential prey. Thus, we have a clue: We must find a way to create artificial situations that allow the cat to perform these activities.

A cat’s curiosity can be helpful. Your kitty loves to have new things to explore. Though he also loves that all-important routine, he will need variety. Cats need new situations, sounds, and experiences to make life more satisfying.

How Can You Know If Kitty Is Bored?

So, can you tell if your cat is bored? If so, what are the signs? After al, you can’t just ask. Watch for the following clues:

Cat with very bored expression

A Hurricane Must Have Hit Your House

Your kitty may decide that any kind of attention beats out no attention, so he will break house rules, just so you will give him what he wants. He may exhibit destructive behavior just to get a reaction from you. You can counter this behavior by giving him the attention he needs and craves. Find ways to coax him to play so he will burn off some of that excess energy.

Do you have a collar and leash? Take him for a walk. It really seems to help my housebound Mocha. We will go out in my fenced yard for an hour or so, while he explores all the corners, munches on grass, (an absolute necessity) and sometimes just sits and sniffs the air. He gives me lots of rubs and bumps when we go out, so I know he’s pleased.

Some Other Cat Eats All My Food

That’s what he wants you to think. He scarfs down the food and then looks at the empty bowl as if he did not ever get fed.

Orange & white cat on sofa looking bored

Don’t let him fool you! He’s bored, and eating comes across as one thing he enjoys doing. So, he wants more — and more — and if you keep supplying those demands, you will end up with a very overweight cat with a slew of health problems.

Some cats will actually stop eating when boredom sets in. If you notice his food has not been eaten, try giving him a special treat. If you only serve dry food, crack open a can of the wet stuff, and see if he will eat.

I’m Tired Of Eating And Don’t Want This Food

Might As Well Nap

Sometimes when a cat becomes bored, he will begin to lengthen nap-time. If you think your cat sleeps more, you might wake him up and coax him to play.

There’s Cat Hair On Everything

If the cat hair on furniture and rugs becomes more evident than usual, kitty may have resorted to overgrooming for something to do. Not good. It may mean that kitty’s nerves suffer because of inactivity.

Bored cat looking for a dog to terrorize

Find more things to keep him occupied.

“Forgets” To Use The Litter Box

She may resort to this technique because she has become both nervous and bored. She wants your attention and feels this method may gain her what she desires.

Engages In Quantum Scratching

Does kitty scratch everything in sight? Does the furniture suffer and the curtains develop lacy shreds from cat’s claws? You’d better pay some attention to that cat.

It might help to have multiple scratching posts. Besides a sisal one, get an inexpensive cardboard one as well, as sometimes kitty finds these more comfortable to scratch on. My Pogo wouldn’t use the sisal, because his claws got stuck in it. He really liked the cardboard ones.

Suggested Ways To Stave Off Kitty Boredom

You can actually find many ways to interact with a bored cat. Some methods require your participation, too, but others will offer ways for cats to entertain themselves. Try some of these ideas:

Take Kitty For A Walk

As already mentioned, taking kitty out on a leash gives the cat’s life new meaning. Just smelling all the outside odors can prove a delight to your cat. Watch how he sniffs the air and inhales all those new, exciting outside smells.

A cat’s sense of smell is so powerful that he may find the whole experience of sniffing around outside very satisfying. Cater to his strong sense of smell, and add to kitty’s daily pleasure.

Make Sure You Have A Window Perch For Kitty

From this excellent vantage point, your cat can watch all the activity outside. While watching birds may not be quite as exciting as hunting them, the cat will find real pleasure in watching their activities.

Orange cat in window bed

At my house, we get so much rain that there’s often a large puddle in the driveway, right across from my bedroom window. A bureau against the window gives Mocha an excellent place to lie and watch, as the birds line up beside the puddle, which they use as a bird-bath. It’s not just fascinating for the cat — I enjoy watching those birds bathe as well.

Get A Water Fountain

One of my best purchases for kitty — I have my Catit fountain running 24/7, and Mocha really likes it. As it is so important to keep a cat hydrated, if he will drink from a water fountain, you’ve done something good for kitty just by having the fountain there.

Teach Your Cat Tricks

Not only will you fill his time with some training, but you will stimulate his kitty mind and relieve boredom. After training, he might enjoy a long nap.

Spending the time with your cat to train proves in itself to provide a great way to stave off boredom. Kitty is doing something — that will fill a need for activity.

Puzzle Toys Can Help A Great Deal

In an earlier article, I suggested the idea of taking the rolls from toilet paper or paper towels and cutting them in various sizes, putting them in a box, and putting kibble in some of them. Let kitty fish out the food.

Another idea that I really like and plan to try today: Take a muffin tin and put some kibble in some of the muffin cups and cover all of them with toys. Give to kitty and let him find the treats.

Just tried the muffin tin idea. It didn’t take long at all for Mocha to figure out that he could get to the food if he removed the toy first. It’s also entertaining for you to watch the process!

Build A Cat Condo Out Of Boxes

Since cats love cardboard boxes, why not make a complete condo out of a set of boxes? Cut in doors and windows and fit the boxes together. Your cat will find exploring, playing, and sleeping in there quite enjoyable.

Two cats sitting in box, looking bored

Report on the muffin tin: Mocha successfully removed all the toys with treats under them. Now he’s sitting by the pan, waiting for more. Guess I’ll add a few more treats again. What fun!

Have You Tried Da Bird Feather Teaser?

Mocha has one — he likes it, and will do some fantastic jumps when grabbing for it. One of my references suggests playing bird sounds on your phone or TV while using this toy.

Wand toys in general are a good thing. Make your own — a feather or perhaps a catnip mouse on the end will encourage kitty to chase it.

Try to move your wand as if there were real prey at the end. The cat will hide, stalk, and pounce and imagine he goes on a real hunt. Cats do have imagination, so try to make his experience chasing the wand as much like a real hunt as possible.


How About A Turboscratcher?

Okay, you have scratching posts for your cat. However, the turboscratcher toy gives kitty another option. It has a round shape, with a small outer circle and a large inner one. The inner one is filled with cardboard, so kitty can use it to scratch.

Sometimes options give the cat the satisfying experience he seeks.

Have You Tried Kitty Springs?

I learned about this toy from Wendy Christensen. Plastic springs, about two inches long, come in four colors — red, blue, yellow, and green. They just fit on my ring finger, so they can fit easily in kitty’s mouth, allowing him to carry them around.

Mocha became obsessed with them for a while. In fact, I’d originally ordered 12, but had to get more because of the impossible-to-retrieve places the cat found for them. He pounces, chases them, bats them around, and gets lots of exercise running after them. It’s a great toy.

The springs have also provided a new way to bond with the cat. When he bats one under a piece of furniture, he will often lie down beside the furniture and reach his paw as far underneath as he can, to try to reach the spring. I have a long wooden backscratcher. When I see him looking for a toy, I get the backscratcher and go fishing.

Toys from under the furniture, including 24 springs
Toys under the bed include many springs

Often I find it. The cat seems to feel that it’s my duty to come help him retrieve toys from under furniture, and he will wait for me to come help. I’m useful to him in such a way.

Catnip Can Become A Force For Good

Of course, catnip toys or just catnip in a little bowl can appeal to a cat, if you have one that reacts to the herb. Besides toys, make sure you sprinkle a little catnip on their scratching posts. Catnip seems to work especially well on the cardboard scratchers.

Try A Bird-Watching Video

Since Mocha finds the birds so fascinating, will try this one. When Carlos was here, I used to put videos of bird migrations on the TV, and he found those very fascinating.

You can find TV programs created with cats in mind. These will provide great entertainment for your kitty.

The main take-away from all this: A cat is a finely-tuned predatory machine. When you keep him inside, he can become very frustrated and bored because he can’t hunt.

That’s why it is so important to spend time playing with your cat. You can stimulate his imagination so he does not succumb to boredom. He needs the stimulus he gets from play.

If you find ways to help keep kitty from becoming bored, you will have contributed greatly to your cat’s happiness and well-being.

References I used for this post:

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