You might think that because cats are independent by nature and love spending time alone indoors, they might never get bored.
But as humans, we should be able to empathize with our cat family when they’re showing signs of boredom.
However, unlike us, our feline companions do not have a plethora of entertainment sources at their disposal.
Why do they get bored? Well, as cats are intelligent animals, it’s hard for them to remain engaged without a certain level of stimulation.
They’ve also inherited a bunch of instincts from their more wild ancestors; so even though you are keeping Kitty Purry inside for her safety (and that of the environment), she will still feel the urge to hunt, explore, and roam freely.
So yes, cats do get bored. Ranging from dangerous to themselves and others to downright annoying, here are 5 signs of boredom you can watch for in your moggy:
They groom too much. Is Kitty Purry always licking, chewing at her skin, or even pulling out some of her fur? Or maybe she’s meowing more than usual? These may be signs that she is bored. These behaviors may also be crisscrossing with anxiety and irritability. Yikes!
They eat too much. Now this is something we can empathize with. Just like humans, for whom eating can be a coping mechanism for various emotional aches in our lives (monotony included), cats can turn to munching away in the absence of adequate physical and mental stimulation.
They seek attention. Whether through excessive meowing, sitting on your keyboard while you’re working, or challenging you to a staring contest, if your cute furball is trying to get your attention, give it to them! These are behaviors that we, as humans, have reinforced them at some point in their lives, such as when they were kittens. And let’s not forget that meowing itself is something cats do to get humans to do something! (Aren’t cats marvelous?)
They pick on other pets (or kids, or you!) around the house. Again, cats’ instincts kick in here—they have it in their blood to hunt, so when they’re hiding under the table to pounce on your ankles, you ankles could might as well be a mouse, a squirrel, or a bird: it’s their queue to do the butt-wiggle and ATTACK!
- They aren’t interested in things that used to get them excited (including food). As many of us found out during 2020, there isn’t much to do when you’re cooped up at home all day. This may lead to lethargy and moping around the house all day. Change things up a bit around the house to engage your lovable mouser in new activities that will give keep them busy and excited.
After ruling out any potential health issues with your veterinarian and confirming that boredom is indeed what your cat is suffering from, what can you do?
Before Kitty Purry starts shredding your drapes and scratching your furniture, try the following boredom busters:
Try to make the environment for your cat more exciting. For a free catification solution, don’t throw away the packaging from that last Amazon order. Cats ADORE boxes! They find comfort in them and make them feel safe. And if you feel like your cat deserves the best, take a look at this smart electronic cat toy that mimics prey. You can also get a cat tree or provide shelves and other surfaces around the house at different heights, so your cat can have different views.
Find your cat a buddy or ask over one of your cat-obsessed friends. Although not true for all cats, many of them have social needs (did you know that feral cats even form colonies?). And these social needs can be satisfied by bringing in a new human as well! So the next time your neko sends out bored vibes, invite a fellow cat lover over: it will entertain both you and you feline friend.
Go out on walks on a leash. Harness train your cat and get them out in the world—that is, if your cat wants to go adventuring outside, of course! This activity is perfect for those cats that are seeking that type of constant stimulation.
Snuggle with your kitten. sometimes, all your feline companion wants and needs is a little bit of TLC.
Play with them. You can, for example, hide treats around the house or rotate toys by hiding some of them for a while and then reintroducing them. (Make sure to always have some extra toys for backup, as it’s bound for some of them to “get lost.”)
Catnip or cat grass. Buy some or grow your own. It’s well known that our feline companions go crazy after catnip (or it just makes them just super chill—all cats are different!), but cat grass can be another healthy distraction: rich in folic acid, it helps your kitty’s digestion and may even act as a laxative.
- Provide window access. Place a bed near a window so Kitty Purry can enjoy some stimulating cat TV.
There is this widespread conception that cats can sort of take care of themselves. However, they have a variety of wants and needs!
So the next time your feline companion knocks something off a shelf, don’t just think that they hate you—it might just be boredom.
And boredom in our cats means taking action as part of our job as cat parents.
Good luck and catspeed!