Bored Cat? What Cat Owners Need To Know (Including 10 Actionable Tips)

Cats are natural predators, craving action and stimulation. However, as more cats are kept indoors, boredom is emerging as a significant cause of behavioral issues. Lack of stimulation can lead to various problems, including lethargy and weight gain. Stimulation is vital for your cat's health and happiness. So, how can you tell if you have a bored cat? And what can you do about it?

Stay tuned as we share 10 fantastic strategies for enriching your cat's environment, ensuring they receive ample physical and mental stimulation.

Do Cats Get Bored?

Cats are naturally curious creatures, always eager to explore their surroundings. Their need for sensory stimulation is ingrained in their DNA.

Bored cat

Without new elements to see, hear, smell, touch, and explore, they can indeed become bored.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Stimulation

Keeping your cat indoors is generally a wise choice for their safety. However, it's essential to consider the stark contrast in stimulation levels.

Outdoor cats encounter various sights, smells, and sounds, from passing animals to changing weather. Indoors, the environment remains largely the same, which can lead to monotony.

The Great Outdoors: Stimulating But Risky

While the outdoors offers a wealth of stimulation, they also pose significant dangers.

So, while it's safer to keep your cat indoors, it's crucial to make their indoor environment less boring.

Loneliness Amplifies Boredom

Contrary to popular belief, cats are social creatures. They enjoy human interaction and, in some cases, the company of other animals.

Cats left alone for extended periods can become bored, even if they do sleep for 12-16 hours a day. So, it's important to ensure they have enough interaction and stimulation.

But Is My Cat Bored?

As a caring cat owner, you might often wonder, "Is my cat bored?" Your concern for your cat's happiness and the desire to provide a stimulating environment is commendable.

Bored cat lying on bed

Boredom can lead to stress, which in turn can cause various behavioral and health issues in cats. For more details, refer to our guide on identifying stress in cats.

Common Signs Of Boredom In Cats

Your cat may exhibit signs of boredom, such as:

While these behaviors can be troublesome, punishment isn't the answer. Instead, concentrate on keeping your cat entertained, particularly when they're home alone.

A proactive approach to alleviate boredom and frustration will promote your cat's happiness, even during your work hours.

10 Ways To Fight Boredom In Cats

If your cat is showing telltale signs of feline boredom, don't worry- there are plenty of things that you can do to help your furry friend engage their natural instincts and social behavior.

norwegian cat laying on the floor with red ball on the side

Remember, all cats are different, and what works to stop boredom for one cat may not be exciting to another cat. Try a variety of these tips and see what works best for your kitty.

1. Cat Enclosure

If your indoor cat yearns for outdoor adventures, consider a cat enclosure or 'catio.'

This safe, outdoor space can satisfy your cat's curiosity while protecting them from outdoor hazards. You can DIY or hire a professional to install it on your porch, backyard, or deck.

However, always monitor the weather and ensure your cat can return indoors, as extreme temperatures can harm them.

A catio offers a secure way for your cat to enjoy the outdoors. Find inspiration for your own catio here.

2. Windowsill Shelf

A windowsill shelf is probably a more viable option if you live in an apartment.

Click here to see this window shelf on Amazon.

Even if you have no access to a backyard, and thus can't build an enclosure, you can still place a cat shelf right next to a properly screened and secured window, allowing your cat a safe place from which to look out and check out the street.

3. Cat Furniture

The more cat furniture, like cat trees or condos, the better for your cat's exploration and territory expansion.

ginger cat scratching post

Furniture with diverse textures encourages natural behaviors like jumping and scratching.

Cats often enjoy perching atop these structures for a bird's-eye view of their surroundings, especially when placed near a window with a view of birds.

Read this to learn using vertical space to make your home feel larger for your cat.


4. Toys For Bored Cats

Experiment with different toys to find your cat's favorites. Limit access to 2-3 toys at a time, rotating them regularly. Consider not just traditional toys, but also interactive ones.

Click here to see this interactive toy on Amazon.

Automated toys, which mimic prey movements, can entertain your cat when you're not home. Many can be programmed to activate randomly, simulating the unpredictability of hunting.

Click here to see this automated toy on Amazon.

5. Catnip

Catnip can be a great way to spice up a kitty's day. Read more on how catnip affects cats and try it with your cat to see if he or she reacts to catnip, as not all cats do.

Click here to see this catnip on Amazon.

If catnip works for your cat, you can use it in toys or just sprinkled around in a nice little heap once in a while.

6. Interactive Playtime

Curious why your cat only engages with toys when you're part of the game? It's because your movement triggers their hunting instincts, making playtime more exciting.

Interactive play is crucial for your cat's mental and physical stimulation, and it also strengthens your bond.

Make playtime a mental challenge by hiding toys or placing them just out of reach, but ensure the "catch" isn't impossible to avoid frustration.

Remember to give your cat breaks during play to mimic their natural hunting behavior. Use toys that simulate a hunting scene, but avoid hand contact to prevent aggressive responses.

Click here to see this hunting-stimulating cat toy on Amazon.

Stay tuned for 10 more tips on maximizing your cat's playtime.

7. Feeding With A Twist

Work-For-Treats type toys can be a great option for some cats. Instead of just giving out treats to your cat, leave them in a toy with some dry kibble treats inside.

Click here to see this cat toy with treats on Amazon.

The extra play and work will keep Kitty entertained and happy while you're away.

8. Send Your Cat To The Movies

Or rather, try letting Kitty watch nature-show movies produced especially for cats.

Click here to see this Cat Dreams DVD tape on Amazon.

Not every cat responds to recorded shows, but some do find them fascinating, so it could be worth a try.

If you don't have a DVD player - that's ok. Youtube has a variety of cat movies available - and they're all free.

Try this one with birds:

Or an even longer one (4 hours long!) with more wild critters:

9. Take Kitty For A Walk

Depending on your cat's character and your neighborhood, you may consider training your cat to walk on a leash for some joint outdoor excursions.

This solution is not for every cat, and the training process can take a while, but some owners and cats find it a good arrangement, and there's nothing quite like a supervised walk outside.

Read more about how to teach your cat to walk wearing a harness and leash.

10. A Feline Friend

If you're concerned about leaving your cat alone, a feline companion could be a solution. However, adopting a second cat requires careful consideration.

two cats meet, sniff each other

Not all cats appreciate new companions, and the introduction process can be lengthy.

This approach often suits kittens or young cats, but some sociable older cats may also enjoy the company.

Considering a second cat? Take a look at our guide: Your Second Cat: How To Choose The Best Friend For Kitty.

Keeping Your Indoor Cat Engaged And Happy: Final Thoughts

Ensuring your cat's mental and physical stimulation is vital for their well-being.

As indoor environments can sometimes lead to boredom, it's important to explore various enriching activities.

From interactive play to new toys or even a potential feline companion, there are numerous ways to keep your cat entertained.

Remember, every cat is unique, so discovering what activities best suit your furry friend is key to their happiness.

Comments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!

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Bored Cat? What Indoor Cat Owners Need To Know

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5 comments on “Bored Cat? What Cat Owners Need To Know (Including 10 Actionable Tips)

PushPurrCatPaws October 5, 2018
This is a really helpful article, with a lot of great links to read, too! :thanks:
artyjill March 27, 2015
Wish my cat would go on hers, she wasn't socialized so we have problems. Its a cieling size one. The last one l got for my last cat went in front of the window but this one wont fit as it blocks the tv. The only thing she plays with is a stone she found yet there are lots of things  l bought her but its maybe due to her behavior problems.
djkwikfit June 29, 2014
Well hello everyone and i would like to share with you all an item i bought last week for our 4 cats. I was astonished when the youngest cat/kitten wee smokie immediately jumped on the very first section of this cat tree as i attempted to assemble it. How funny it was to have her with me every step of the way until i had completed it. But the funniest part was when her Mother Cassie appeared and approached to check it out, lol wee Smokie done a fancy hop/skip/ bounce and double flipped her paw off her Mum`s butt as if to say (on your way,this is all mine) Both my wife and i where in stitches lol. Anyway this cost less than £50 delivered and was easy enough to build and as i type Cassie has been sleeping on one of the perches for last 3hrs.
seven7 May 19, 2014
No boredom in our house, our seven cats are always playing and running and chasing each other around the house, we have the occasional cat scrap but for the most part, it's never boring around here.
murdockasitis October 20, 2012
Thankyou the information was very helpful.. I had a cat enclosure built off our garage... a spacious enclosure in the front and providing a cat door, then at the back of the garage to the window a cat door was instu another cat encl with a tree and tunnels that go right round the property behind the trees... still the cat was bored maybe lonely, so started walking on lease relieved alot of boredom for the cat, seemed happier so do that for a hr a day... plus cat has toys etc and ramps...still must be the best encl I have seen . thanks Teresa Melbourne, australia

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