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Keep your cat from getting bored with these useful tips

Cats don't like to be bored any more than humans do. How do you know if your cat is bored? And, more importantly, how do you keep your cat happy and entertained?

How do you know if a cat is bored?

Cats need a lot of attention and variety to stay physically and mentally fit.
Cats need a lot of attention and variety to stay physically and mentally fit.  © Unsplash/Crystal Z. Shi (Fotomontage TAG24)

Cats get bored too and they hate it. Outdoor cats don't usually have this problem, but those cooped up inside can get stir crazy if they don't have enough to do.

But how do you know if your cat is bored? There are usually a few clues.

Typical bored cat behavior:

  • Sleeping too much (more than 16 hours a day) or being generally lethargic.
  • Overeating.
  • Bad habits like sharpening claws on furniture or constant grooming.
  • Knocking things over or chewing objects.
  • Lack of grooming and peeing outside the litter box.

These behaviors could also be caused by a medical issue.

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

If there's nothing physically wrong with your cat, it might just be bored and trying to get your attention by acting out. After all, being scolded means at least it isn't being ignored. 

Cats like activities

Cats crave the attention of their humans.
Cats crave the attention of their humans.  © Unsplash/Marko Blažević

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 love variety.

They crave physically and mentally challenging activities that keep them fit and active.

Cats are also natural-born hunters, so they love to do anything that lets them unleash their inner predator.

Common activities are helpful and a perfect way to strengthen the bond with your car.

The following suggestions can bring a bit of adventure into your cat's life.

Set up a scratching post for cats

Scratching trees are especially important for indoor cats.
Scratching trees are especially important for indoor cats.  © Unsplash/Rossella Cerisola

A scratching post is usually one of the first things a cat owner gets, along with a food bowl and a litter box.

And rightly so: scratching posts are the perfect cat jungle gym.

These durable pieces 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 multiple levels. There are even scratching contraptions that go all the way to the ceiling.

If you don't want a whole climbing area, there are also inexpensive scratching surfaces available. You could even get creative and attach a nail brush to the table or sofa legs with double-sided adhesive tape. Cats can rub against the brush and scratch their own backs.

You can also attach small sisal runners and rough carpets to the wall to create small scratching and climbing areas for cats.

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Give cats a seat at the window

A nice window seat is enough to make the cat happy.
A nice window seat is enough to make the cat happy.  © Unsplash/Christin Noelle

Many dogs and cats love to look out the window.

So if you want to do your cat a favor, you should give it plenty of clear space on the windowsill.

The fur ball can stretch out and watch the world outside.

And while plants look good on the window sill, cats sometimes confuse them with play things. The flowerpot might end up on the floor as your pet decides it's actually a toy or want to make some space for itself.

Make some cat toys of your own

Cats are always up for some fun and games.
Cats are always up for some fun and games.  © Unsplash/Kim Davies

To counteract cat boredom, toys are mandatory.

However, experience has shown that four-legged friends don't take great care of their toys, so the life of many play things is limited.

One cost effective way to satisfy your cat's need for variety is to build some simple toys.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Give the cat a cardboard box or a crate filled with crumpled up newspaper. Cats will rummage through the box and play with the paper balls.
  • Fill an old sock and fill it with leftover fabric and some dried catnip, then tie the sock closed. Now you have a cheap toy your cat won't be able to resist. 
  • Natural materials such as pine cones, a small branch, or a flower that isn't toxic to cats are also great inexpensive play things for your pet to bat around.
  • Fill a tin (e.g. a spice or coffee tin made of plastic or metal) with dry rice, peas, or beans and close the lid tightly. The new toy will make a noise when it gets swatted about and that is sure to tickle your cat's fancy.
  • Make a cat fishing pole out of a stick, some string, and a feather or a small toy at the end. The cat will love attacking whatever is flying around and you can enjoy fishing for its enjoyment.
Cats love boxes and crates in all sizes and shapes.
Cats love boxes and crates in all sizes and shapes.  © 123RF/belchonock

A play mate makes things great

Cats feel much more comfortable in company than alone.
Cats feel much more comfortable in company than alone.  © Unsplash/Raul Varzar

Very few cats are real loners and most of them appreciate the company of other cats.

So owners of a single cat that seems bored should consider bringing in a play mate.

When choosing a suitable partner, you should make sure that the chemistry between the two felines is right. The cats' characters, age, and dominant behavior all play an important role in their compatibility. 

Ideally your cat's feline friend should come from the same litter. But if that isn't possible, a cat of a similar age and temperament will be fine too.

Cover photo: Unsplash/Crystal Z. Shi (Fotomontage TAG24)

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