Do cats get bored? How to prevent bored cats and keep them entertained

We humans hate to be bored, and it's no different for the furry little friends that follow us around our houses. What are the signs of a bored cat, though, and what can you do about it?

Cats crave the attention of their humans, and will behave badly when bored.
Cats crave the attention of their humans, and will behave badly when bored.  © Unsplash/Marko Blažević

If you have ever owned a cat, you will understand the pain of a kitty owner when their furry friend has started behaving badly out of boredom. It's a common story - the owner who works all day and deals with a perpetually bored indoor cat all night. So how can you recognize a bored cat, and what can you do about it once you have noticed the signs?

Do cats get bored?

Yes, cats are famous for getting bored and naughty from time to time. This boredom is often caused by things like separation anxiety and being kept inside when they are not meant or used to remaining within the house or apartment. As a result, in many cases it's an easy problem to fix.

In some circumstances, though, your cat will get constantly and problematically bored, driving it insane and causing some very serious behavioral issues. When this happens, something needs to radically change, and it needs to change soon.

Keep in mind: When a cat gets bored and starts exhibiting severe behavioral problems, health issues quickly come to mind. Make sure to consult your veterinarian about these problems and get some professional advice.

If cats aren't given enough attention they can get bored and quickly start acting up.
If cats aren't given enough attention they can get bored and quickly start acting up.  © Unsplash/Crystal Z. Shi

How to tell if your cat is bored

Cats often get bored, and when they do things can get pretty rough for their owners. While outdoor cats usually don't have this problem, those that get cooped up inside can sometimes get stir-crazy, and it's not that surprising - they are hunting animals, after all.

It's vital to understand that bored cats will suffer both mentally and physically. When this happens, it is vital that you talk to a veterinarian. After all, a mentally unwell cat can quickly spiral, and you want your kind kitty to live a long and happy life, not a slow and boring one.

Here are the signs of a bored cat:

  • Sleeping too much (more than 16 hours a day) or general lethargy
  • Overeating
  • Bad habits like sharpening claws on furniture or constant grooming
  • Knocking things over or chewing on unwanted objects
  • Peeing outside the litter box and general degradation of potty training
  • Bad behavior like a poor temper and increased violence
  • Constant need for attention
  • Severe separation anxiety, yowling
  • Fur loss

Before assuming that boredom is the culprit, you should pay a visit to the vet and rule out any potential health problems.

How to prevent cats from getting bored

Cats should be given high-quality cat trees to keep them entertained.
Cats should be given high-quality cat trees to keep them entertained.  © Unsplash/Rossella Cerisola

If you aren't at home very often, don't be surprised if your cat finds a few annoying ways to entertain itself. Just like us, cats like to have variety in their everyday life and crave physically and mentally challenging activities that keep them fit and active.

Cats are natural-born hunters, so they love to do anything that lets them unleash their inner predator. Common activities are a helpful and perfect way to strengthen the bond with your car.

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Get the perfect cat tree

A scratching post is usually one of the first things a cat owner purchases, along with a food bowl and a litter box. It makes sense, too, as a great scratching post will act as the perfect kitty jungle gym. These durable pieces of furniture give cats something to climb, scratch, play with, and sleep on.

The scratching post market has exploded in the last few years. There are scratching posts shaped like cactuses and ones with multiple levels. There are even scratching contraptions that go all the way up to the ceiling. Get what suits you, fits into your home, and fits the budget.

Hot tip: If you don't want a whole climbing area, there are also inexpensive scratching surfaces available. You could even get creative and make your own!

Cats love to look out the window

Cats absolutely love to sit by the window.
Cats absolutely love to sit by the window.  © Unsplash/Christin Noelle

Most cats love to look out the window, making a good quality seat at the window a perfect gift to keep them out of trouble. You want one in which your feline friend can stretch out and watch the world outside. It's also worth noting that while plants look good on the window sill, cats sometimes confuse them with play things. Be careful, as your flowerpot might end up on the floor if you keep leaving it where your kitty wants to sit.

Get good cat toys

You need something for your cat to play with, to keep it entertained when you are away, or you don't have time to hang. As a result, getting a good set of high-quality and entertaining cat toys is crucial for keeping your kitty sane and happy. There are plenty out there, but we'd especially recommend ones that'll see them running around the house and expending energy.

Here are a few great cat toy suggestions:

  • A cardboard box or crate filled with crumpled up newspaper. Cats will rummage through the box and play with the paper balls.
  • An old sock filled with leftover fabric and some dried catnip, tied closed.
  • Natural materials such as pine cones, a small branch, or a flower that isn't toxic to cats.
  • A tin filled with dry rice, peas, or beans and closed tightly. The new toy will make a noise when it gets swatted about.
  • Make a fishing pole out of a stick, some string, and a feather. Put this somewhere that'll attract your cats' wrath.
  • Get a set of great cat toys, including fluffy things, a cat tunnel for games of peekaboo, balls to chase, and more.

By getting a great set of cat toys you will keep your cat happy, entertained, and as far away from boredom as possible.

Cats love boxes and crates in all sizes and shapes.
Cats love boxes and crates in all sizes and shapes.  © 123RF/belchonock

Get your kitty a friend

Very few cats are real loners, and most of them appreciate the company of other cats. As a result, owners of a single cat that seems bored should consider bringing in a play mate. Of course, that play mate needs to be carefully chosen and slowly integrated, but it is quite likely to help the situation resolve itself and provide your cat with a friend to keep it from getting bored and unhappy.

Ideally your cat's feline friend should come from the same litter, but that's honestly quite unlikely to be possible at this stage. If so, you should opt for a cat of a similar age, breed, and temperament. Make sure to integrate it properly and try to avoid any conflicts between the two of them.

Cat boredom can be far worse than it sounds, spurring on all sorts of nasty behaviors and bad situations. Try not to worry, though, as there are plenty of ways to prevent or fix it - everything will be fine!

Cover photo: Unsplash/Marko Blažević

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