I think it’s safe to say that most of us cat owners can appreciate a bored cat can be a destructive cat. Without the option of roaming and exploring until their hearts content cat’s can easily become a little fed up. This pent-up energy can easily turn destructive if not channelled. Cats are definitely very individual beings, their temperaments vary across breeds, ages and circumstances, so it’s important to listen to your cat and tailor their entertainment regime to their individual needs.
How do you know if your cat’s bored?
Well there are some typical signs that often constitute a bored cat, for example:
- Displaying aggression towards other pets, that is chasing or fighting beyond just playing
- Overgrooming, excessive licking, fur balls, or bald spots
- Lethargy or indifference, inactivity or oversleeping
- Becoming overly vocal, that is moping or crying excessively
- Changes in eating habits, overeating or loss of appetite
- Destructive attitudes, that is scratching, digging, biting at furniture and other items
However as stated each cat can be different. You know your cat best, so any change in behaviour should be picked up and addressed. It’s also worth noting that behavioural changes that are consistent or unexplained can indicate possible health issues, so always consult your vet.
Creating an Entertaining Environment
Whether an indoor only cat or a kitty with an outdoor enclosure it’s important to maintain a certain level of activity and engagement. Curious beings that cat’s are need stimulation and encouragement to be the intrepid explorer’s they are. Here’s a few easy ideas to help keep your kitty cat occupied!
- Safe scratching- Cat’s need to scratch! On the outside a cat has the option to stretch and scratch on trees. When inside they still want to scratch, but with the absence of trees they must resort to your couch! That is unless you give them something of their own, that emulates a tree. Cat trees or cat gym’s give them a chance to scratch and climb to safe new heights to survey their territory (that being the house!) Not only is scratching essential in maintaining your cat’s manicure but it is an instinctive territorial behaviour, regardless of where your cat roams this exercise will go with them!
- Toying around- While they may not play fetch, cats still enjoy having some toys. Whether purpose made or mucking around with an empty box, cat’s do love to play! Colourful, noisy, moving, feathered, belled, puzzled, there are a wide variety of toys and different cat’s will enjoy different toys, so it may take some experimenting to find what your cat likes. It’s important to persist in finding something your cat loves to play and mess around with because it provides them with an outlet for their wild side, while promoting healthy play and exercise. Being clever creatures, cats can become bored with the same toys after a while, so it’s a good idea to rotate and reintroduce toys.
- Catnip!- A safe and natural herb that a vast majority of cats go wild for! When sniffed it simulates a “high” sensation, which often leads to a cat becoming wildly excited. Catnip is perfectly safe for your kitty to enjoy, you can grow your own, buy it in a spray or already placed in toys! Spraying catnip on old toys is also a great way to reintroduce them and recreate interest.
- Give em’ some grass- Outdoor cats should have access to some cat grass to graze on, but indoor cats should also have access to cat grass. Good news is it’s easy to grow and allowing your cat to graze will help them self-regulate their digestive tract.
- Safe space- Just like we need a safe, comforting place to unwind and gather ourselves, our cats need a dedicated retreat, just for them. A comfy bed and a hidey hole are popular components, they are best received when placed in a prime position! Setting up your cat’s safe space in a nice quiet area with a view, means your cat can happily relax without missing out on any of the action!
- Let them see- Cat’s are curious, they want to be able to see the outside world, especially if they can’t always be in it. Make sure windows are accessible and that there are places for you cat to sit comfortably and enjoy the view, comfy beds and specially designed hammocks make this an easy task.
- Live, laugh, love- The most important thing to give your cat is love and attention, a cat that feels neglected and unloved can easily become bored and destructive. Whilst cats may appear aloof and enjoy their alone time, they do not like to be isolated. Knowing you’re there and happy to provide them with attention and fun is invaluable to your cat. Encourage your cat to interact with you through plenty of play and pats! Experiment with string, feathers, bells and balls because plenty of playtime coupled with comforting cuddles will help keep your cat happy and healthy!