Written by Kim Rain
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 05/12/2021, edited: 08/17/2023
Is your cat lazing around the house with the boredom blues? Just like you, your cat can get bored with the same space, toys and food day in and day out. And if your cat gets too bored, they could seek excitement in destructive behaviors like fighting with other pets, peeing outside the litter box, or scratching your furniture.
If you notice your cat is being overly naughty, overgrooming, or even overeating, you can curb those boredom-fueled behaviors by giving your cat something new to get excited about! With new toys and activities, you aren’t just tackling your cat’s boredom, but are also helping to prevent obesity, stress, and even cognitive dysfunction syndrome later in life.
Let’s take a look at some simple and fun ways you can bring
some excitement into your cat’s life. But first, let’s take a look at how to get
You may think that since your cat sleeps a lot, they don’t need any exercise, but there’s a reason they seem so lazy. In the wild, cats will spend 16-20 hours a day sleeping to conserve their energy for the hunt. In the few hours they are awake, cats are stalking prey, and then using a big burst of energy for the kill.
A domestic cat can lead a very sedentary lifestyle, but it
still retains its wild instincts and longs for the hunt. Eating food out of a
bowl uses nowhere near the same kind of energy or gives your cat the mental
stimulation hunting does. On average, your indoor kitty still needs at least 30
minutes of moderate exercise daily, so giving them something that feeds
into their prey drive is most likely to get their attention and really get them
Just like a real hunt, give your cat “prey” to find and “kill” by using treats or toys scattered around the house for them to find. Start easily with a treat trail that leads to hidden areas, and as your cat gets used to the game, you can space them out more and hide them in harder to find spots. If you’d rather use toys, filling them or dipping them in catnip is sure to get them engaged!
Puzzle games are furbulous ways to get your cat using their mental skills to reach their “prey”, and they come in various levels from beginners to experts. Usually, these are boxes or boards with hidden areas for treats that your cat has to figure out how to get to. Whether they need to poke their paw in the right hole, move a door or unlatch something, they’ll need to use several of their senses and problem-solve to get their reward. Try different kinds, or make your own!
While putting on a tv show with birds or fish may be easy, your cat will be even more excited about live prey. Find a good spot in front of a window to put up a bird feeder, or that is popular with your local bird and squirrel population, and give your cat a constantly ever-changing show just for them. Move a table or bookshelf that they can lay on next to the window, or install a cat perch, and watch them chirp away!
If your cat is itching to get outside, go with it! Train them to wear a leash for an exciting walk that will stimulate all of their senses! Or go the extra mile and get them a catio, an enclosed outdoor space where they can relax and take in all the sights, sounds and smells at their leisure.
Speaking of training, spending time teaching your cat a command or trick not only strengthens the bond between you, but also exercises their mind. Whether you choose simple commands like to sit or to come when called, or fun ones like getting them to high five you or even running an obstacle course, these new experiences are definitely something out of the ordinary that is sure to alleviate your feline’s boredom.
Playing tag with your cat directly engages their prey drive, while spending quality time with their furvorite human. Just tuck feathers or a ribbon wand into your belt, socks or shoes, then entice your cat with the toy. As they bat at it, step away, then further, until they are chasing you through the house to get it. Cat not interested? Roll the feathers or toy in catnip first.
Cats naturally want to pounce from a hiding spot, so give
them something new to explore. There are several kinds of cat caves, condos,
tunnels and trees on the market that can give them a pawfect place to nestle. Or
DIY your own by cutting holes in cardboard boxes to make a kitty cave. Connect
several together to make a mansion or tunnel. Hang toys through the holes to give
them some extra fun, just be sure to swap them out or use different locations
to keep it interesting.
There’s really no limit to exciting ways to play with your
cat, so get creative. Use laser pointers, new balls and soft toys, rotate
windows, or take different routes on walks to vary the routine. With you by
their side, your cat will be living their most exciting life in no time! So let
the fun begin!
Got more questions about your cat's behavior? Chat with a veterinary expert to get answers about your pet’s quirks, health and more!
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