Is your cat overeating? Sleeping more than usual? Overgrooming? Depressed? Naughty? If so, you may have a bored kitty on your hands.
Could your kitty be feeling a deep sense of ennui?
How do you know if it's boredom or something else?
First, have the vet check your cat to rule out a medical issue such as a urinary tract infection. If your kitty gets a clean bill of health, she might just need additional stimulation, especially if you are gone for long periods of time during the day.
While it’s always safer to keep your furry friend in the house, indoor cats lack the natural stimulators that outdoor cats encounter. To solve this problem, you need to enhance your cat’s indoor environment so they can experience what they might be missing outside but in a safe way.
Take hunting for instance. Cats hunt instinctively. They love to stalk, seek, and pounce on prey. To feed that instinctual hunger, try the following cat boredom-busters, courtesy of Pam Johnson-Bennett, an author and cat behaviorist, and other feline behavioral experts:
Hide your cat’s favorite treats around the house. While you’re away, your cat will look forward to finding delicious morsels around the nooks and crannies of your home as he treasure-hunts throughout the day.
Fill a puzzle feeder to encourage your cat to seek his food. Not only will he have fun while seeking, but he will also get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Leave interactive cat toys around the house for your kitty to discover. Playthings that mimic natural prey such as mice and birds are ideal. During playtime with your cat, use toys that dangle off poles that you can control for added enrichment.
Provide your cat with a scratching post or pad. Cats physically need to stretch their backs and shoulders. If they have no access to scratching posts or pads, they will use your carpet or furniture to satisfy that basic need to stretch.
Invest in a sturdy cat tree so your cat has a safe structure to climb and rest above it all during the day. Cats love to take to the heights and view their surroundings from perches.
Place your cat’s bed on the floor where the sun spills into the room. Cats love to sunbathe. She’ll cat nap for hours while basking in the warm rays.
Leave your blinds raised a bit so your cat can get access to window ledges to peer outside. He will sit and watch bugs and birds. Even better, add a bird feeder within view of your cat’s window perch and listen in on him as he chirps and chatters at the birds.
Give your cat a safe place to retreat when a storm rolls in. Some kitties are storm intolerant, so provide covered beds, a cat tunnel or a box turned on its side and stuffed with a soft, cuddly blanket.
Set your stereo to play soft, melodic music to comfort your kitty while you’re away from the house. Avoid boisterous genres that incorporate drums and heavy bass, which might unnerve your cat and make things worse for her.
Bring the outdoors in! A few dried leaves in a paper bag, a discarded bird’s feather, and a few blades of chemical-free grass will delight your furry friend.
Consider enlisting someone to stop by mid-day to visit your cat if you work long hours.
Consider adding another cat to the mix to keep your kitty company. Your house can be a lonely place when you’re not there after all, and two cats can entertain each other while you’re away.
These tips can help fend off dullness and ensure your cat stays happy and healthy. With a little ingenuity and compassion for your cat’s basic needs, you can create an environment that keeps your kitty safe, engaged, and purr-fectly entertained. Happy cat; happy home.