As humans, if we ever find ourselves bored, we’re lucky enough to have about 10,000 boredom busters at our fingertips, from YouTube to Netflix to Google.
But it’s not just humans that get bored. If you leave your cat at home for hours on end, chances are, they’re going to get bored—and unfortunately, they don’t have quite the variety of boredom-busting entertainment at their fingertips (paw-tips?) to keep them occupied.
Why Cats Get Bored
So, first things first—why, exactly, do cats get bored?
There are a few different factors at play when it comes to cat boredom. First off, cats are intelligent animals—and, just like any other intelligent animal (like a human or a dog), cats need a certain level of stimulation in order to feel engaged. If they go too long without that certain level of stimulation, boredom is going to kick in—and they’re going to start feeling antsy.
Another reason cats might fall prey to boredom? Lack of activity. While many domesticated cats live indoors, they evolved from larger, outdoor cats—and they still have the instinct to run, explore, and hunt. Staying indoors and not being able to engage those instincts (even though you’re keeping them indoors to protect them) can lead to feelings of boredom.
So, to sum things up, some of the main reasons your cat might be bored include:
- Not enough stimulation
- Not enough social interaction
- Not enough opportunities to hunt
- Not enough opportunities to run/exercise
- Not enough opportunities to explore freely
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Bored
Clearly, cat boredom is a real thing. But it’s not like your cat can exactly tell you when they’re bored. So how do you tell?
Even though your cat can’t tell you they’re bored, they can certainly show you. There are a few telltale signs that your cat is struggling with boredom. Signs of cat boredom to look out for include:
- Apathy. If your cat seems disengaged—especially from activities they used to find fun and engaging—it could be a side effect of boredom.
- Anxious behavior. Boredom can eventually lead to anxiety—so if your cat seems anxious, it might just be because they’re bored.
- Overeating. Eating out of boredom is a hugely common behavior in humans—and it’s also hugely common in cats. If you notice a dramatic increase in your cat’s food intake, it could be because they’re eating to fend off boredom.
- Causing trouble. Bored cats can be serious troublemakers. If your cat is getting into all kinds of mischief, it could be because they’re looking for a way to entertain themselves.
- Issues with other pets. If your cat is fighting, chasing, or getting into altercations with your other animals (feline, canine, or otherwise), it could be a sign that they’re bored—and looking for engagement wherever they can find it.
How To Help Your Cat Keep Boredom At Bay
Have you noticed your cat is bored? Here are a few ways to get them engaged and keep boredom at bay:
1. Give a bored cat plenty of attention
If you notice your cat is becoming increasingly bored, they might just need a little more attention. Carve out a solid chunk of time each day to pet them, play with them, and give them your full, undivided attention. Cats are independent creatures, but they still need love and attention to thrive—and if you want to keep them from feeling bored, you need to give them that love and attention.
2. Invest in toys
Cats are extremely playful—and if they don’t have anything to play with, they can get extremely bored. Invest in plenty of cat toys to keep your pet occupied. A mix of interactive toys that you and your cat can play with together and independent toys that your cat can enjoy on their own is the perfect antidote for feline boredom.
3. Hide treats around the house
As we mentioned earlier, cats have an instinct to hunt. And while you (and any nearby squirrels or birds) don’t want to let them loose to fulfill that instinct outside, you can keep them engaged by setting up a “hunting” game indoors.
Buy some of your cat’s favorite treats and hide them strategically throughout your home. Your cat will be fully engaged looking for their delicious rewards—and definitely won’t be bored when they’re on the hunt!
4. Get a bored cat a buddy
One of the best ways to keep your cat from feeling bored? Getting them another cat to keep them company! Cats are social animals, and if you can integrate another cat into your family, it could help keep boredom at bay for both felines.
5. Give a bored cat something to look at
If you haven’t already, make a place for your kitty to get a new view of life outside of your house. This could be anything from a cat tree placed in a window with a great view of outdoor goings on to a kitty hammock in a window with tree branches outside. Watching birds, people, other cats, and even dogs, going about their business can be a great antidote to boredom. If possible make this space where there is a window that can be opened, with a screen for security, so that your cat can smell the outdoors. Cats actually have better scent receptors than most dogs so if you have a safe place for them to smell from, it could go a long way toward providing hours of kitty entertainment.
6. Install a “Catio” = no more bored cat
You know, a patio for cats! This isn’t practical for all kitty people but there are more options out there than one might think. Catios can come pre-made, from small window-sized units to large, freestanding enclosures (similar to a chicken coop). You can also DIY a catio pretty simply if you have an outdoor space that can be enclosed with screening.
7. Invite a friend over!
If you are a cat lover, chances are your friends are too. Maybe you have a friend who is currently cat-less due to his housing situation and who would love some kitty play time? Or perhaps someone in your building is looking to make a few extra dollars? There are many people who, given the chance, would love to spend some time with your cat, adding an extra layer of stimulation in her (she thinks) boring life.
Another great option, especially for those spending long hours at work or out of the house on other business, is to book yourself a Rover cat sitter. Among the great things about cat sitters is that you can have them come over specifically for play time and even book them on a standing schedule when you know your possibly bored kitty will likely be awake and waiting for some fun.
If you just have friends stopping by, don’t hesitate to put a cat wand into their hands and put them to work. Your cat can get bored of playing with you but new people, with new play patterns, could prove super exciting.
Can cats get bored? Absolutely. Will a little boredom kill them? Absolutely not. But if you want your cat to stay happy and healthy (and out of trouble), take the steps necessary to help them fight off feline boredom.