Can indoor cats get bored? Have you ever had the sensation that your cat was bored? Indeed, cats are known to be lazy. They like to sleep a lot, and when they are not sleeping, they can be found watching things through a window or sitting somewhere enjoying their life. But, there are a few hours through the day when cats are more active.
Indoor cats can get bored. Cats owners can spot boredom in their indoor cats by their behavior. Cats can become lethargic, vocal, aggressive, show a lack of appetite, excessive sleeping, and scratching, misuse of the litter box, overgrooming, and in some cases, even overeating.
Let’s see the signs of boredom in cats and what we can do to improve their lives, even if they are indoor.
CAN INDOOR CATS GET BORED AT TIMES?
Cats are different from each other. You can find active cats, lazy cats, shy cats, aggressive cats, cats that like running back and forth for hours, those that like climbing, and even those who do not jump even on a table ( true story, one of my cats won’t jump anywhere, I wonder if he is even a cat!).
But, if every cat has a different personality, how is it possible to know if they are bored or not? In my experience, cats owners can spot if their cats are bored by noticing changes in their behavior. For example, when cats are still young, it is easy to entertain them. Anything that moves, any new thing, is a good enough reason to play and run.
Once your cat grows up, you can see that the personality is becoming more defined. At that point, it is effortless to spot changes in behavior. For example, if your cat used to play with a ball or was attracted to other toys, and now he has no interest at all, it is a concerning sign.
It has happened with my first cat. He liked to play with various toys, and at some point, I noticed that he stopped doing it, and I saw him sleeping on a chair most of the day. He would hardly come to get some scratches from me, and overall he became very distant.
I resolved the situation by getting him a companion cat. I was thrilled when he started to run again, chasing her and having play sessions every day. They also groomed each other. After a few weeks, he returned interested in things, coming to sleep with me again, enjoying scratches. In other words, he came back to be a cat.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF BOREDOM IN A CAT?
Providing that it is essential to look for behavioral changes, cats show their boredom and overall unhappiness in various ways. For example, here is a list of things your cat can do when bored:
- Sleep more then usual
- Lookig sad
- Overall inactivity
- No interest in play or toys
- Lack of appetite
- Show signs of aggression
- Litter box accidents
- Excessive grooming
- Excessing scratching
Some of these signs can be similar to symptoms of other illnesses. Therefore you want to be sure that your cat is not sick in the first place. In my experience, I can tell you that you will be able to spot it when your cat is bored. Sometimes, the sadness and the overall feeling of downcast emanates from your furry friend.
One of the best clues of boredom is when your cat doesn’t play with toys anymore or chase your moving hand anymore. Overall, if cats show no interest in play, they need more enrichment or new activities.
HOW TO ENTERTAIN A BORED CAT?
Entertaining a bored cat is not always easy. You have to come with new things and spend some time with your cat. Or you can do like I did and get a friend your cat can play with. A second cat is not always something anyone can afford or take responsibility for. However, in my experience, if they get along, it can be very beneficial.
But, other things can be done to keep a cat busy and entertained. Here are some of the best remedies to cat boredom:
1. GET A CAT TREE
If you do not have it yet, get your cat a tree or a playhouse. It has to have several hanging balls, hiding places, and other toys. If you get a tall tree, your cat can have some fun climbing on it and watch the world from the top.
You could place the tree near a window so your cat can watch the birds outside or people and cars passing by. Here are some excellent ideas for a cat tree:
2. PLAY WITH YOUR CAT AND GET NEW TOYS
Spend some time with your cat and play using toys or any other game your cat likes. For example, if he wants to play chasing or throw a ball to run behind it, set up a bit of time every day to do it. Your cat can be thrilled by chasing a laser or following an automatic mouse. So many activities can be done, but the most important thing is that you also spend some time interacting with your cat.
You could use toys with a feather at the end of a string, move them around for your cat to follow and chase, and place cat toys around the house for your cat to find and play with. Cats also like tunnels. If you throw a ball into a tunnel, no cat can resist chasing it.
You can also use boxes for your cat to jump in or play with him using a plastic bag to make him curious. Just make sure he is not eating the plastic. There are no limits to what can be done. You can get new and funny ideas based on what your cat likes.
3. MAKE AN OUTDOOR ENCLOSURE
When possible, you can build a cat patio or an enclosure where your cat can move freely outside and take advantage of the outdoor life in a controlled environment. Cats are highly amused when they go outdoor. They like to see the birds, the trees and follow small insects moving. Allowing them to go outside, cats can get out of their boredom and become more active.
4. TAKE CATS OUT FOR A WALK
If your cat allows you to use a leash, you can bring him out for a walk and enjoy the outdoor life. Hopefully, you managed to train your cat to walk on a leash when he was a kitten. Otherwise, it can be challenging to do it when he becomes an adult.
Going out for a walk every day can stimulate a cat’s curiosity and make him active. It can get a cat out of lethargy and interest in the environment. It is an excellent way to get cats out of boredom.
5. GET A FELINE OR ANOTHER PET COMPANION
There is nothing better to enrich your cat life than a friend or even more than one friend. Cats can have a lot of fun together and improve each other life. They can sleep together, groom each other, play with each other, and have company through the day when you are not home.
Cats can befriend dogs, bunnies, and other pets. As long as they are not alone and can have some fun, a companion is an excellent way to keep your cat happy. Likewise, pets will find a way to keep each other busy while you are working.
If you already have a cat, a second cat is not a significant expense for food and litter. It will cost only a bit more. Veterinarian costs can be high, but in general, maintaining two cats instead of one is pretty much the same.
6. USE BIRD FEEDERS WHEN POSSIBLE
There is nothing better than birds to keep cats entertained. If you can get a bird feeder and place it across a window, you will make your cat happy. He will stick to the window for hours watching birds. My cats demand I open them the kitchen window, where they can see the birds across the street.
If I do not do it, they go mad and start meowing at me with assistance. So if you want to keep your cat interested and away from boredom, give him the possibility to watch birds.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How can I play with my cat without toys?
It is possible to play with your cat without toys by using your hands, moving them back and forth attracting your cat’s attention. You can also play chasing your cat and then running away for him to chase you. Using boxes and plastic bags can help you to play with your cat.
What makes a cat happy?
To make a cat happy, you have to cover food and litter needs with quality products. You have to keep him entertained and exercised and give him a lot of attention and love. Cats should not be ignored and let alone without love.
What happens if you don’t play with your cat?
If you don’t play with your cat, he may feel unhappy. Cats need attention and love. Play is the replacement for what they would do in the wild if not kept indoors. Cats need to run, climb and maintain their agility. Play is essential for a cat to keep their senses sharp, and they need your attention to feel they are not alone and loved.
Is it cruel to keep cats indoors?
It is not cruel to keep cats indoors, especially if they are used to being inside from a young age. Cats can be trained and can live comfortably in an indoor environment.