While some cats may be happy to keep themselves entertained, others may need a bit more stimulation to keep their minds active and prevent them from becoming bored.
According to feline welfare charity Cats Protection, indoor cats, and cats who spend more time indoors during the colder winter months, can be particularly prone to boredom if they do not have enough entertainment.
“If your cat appears to be bored, but is also not interested in playing, try providing them with other forms of stimulation such as puzzle feeders, grooming sessions or even doing some training. Owners should always rule out medical issues with sudden changes in behaviours,” said Cats Protection’s Central Behaviour Officer, Daniel Warren-Cummings.
“Many people assume getting your cat a feline friend to play with will help but this is unlikely to work. Cats are naturally very solitary animals and having another cat around could cause them a lot of stress.”
Signs of boredom include:
- Zoomies – Also known as frenetic random activity periods (FRAP), zoomies can be an indicator of boredom. While the occasional ‘funny five minutes’ is normal, if your cat is getting the zoomies regularly (eg daily or even more frequently) then they could be telling you they’re bored
- Sleeping a lot – It’s normal for cats to get a lot of sleep (some can sleep for 12-18 hours a day!) but if your cat is sleeping more than usual, their inactivity could be a sign of boredom
- Excessive meowing – If your cat appears to be trying to get your attention, perhaps by meowing or getting in your way, it could be that they’re bored and want you to entertain them
- Destroying furniture and furnishing
- Attacking humans and other animals
Tips on how to help:
- Play with them
Interactive play is the best way to keep your cat entertained. Most cats will only need short play session of a few minutes at a time but try to fit in several of these each day and alternate the toys you use to keep it interesting.
- Let them outside
The outside world has plenty to interest your cat, from prey to chase, trees to climb and various places to explore. If your cat is ok to go outside, give them access during the day, making sure they can get back inside when they want to and at night. If you have an indoor cat, you could look into getting an enclosed ‘catio’ that’s attached to the house for them to access. More advice on keeping your cat safe outside here.
- Provide a window perch
If your cat can’t go outside, or prefers to stay indoors, then they can still enjoy the sights of the outside world through the window. Give them access to a windowsill or perch near a window with an interesting view, so they can watch the local wildlife. You could even place a bird or squirrel feeder outside the window to create some entertainment.
- Grow some cat grass
Bring the outside world inside by planting some cat grass in a pot indoors. Many cats love to chew on cat grass and it can even help with their digestion. More advice on cat-safe plants here.
- Try some training
It’s not just dogs who can be trained! It’s possible to teach your cat to do all sorts of things, including sit, roll over and respond to their name. Plus, it’s a great way to keep them mentally stimulated and strengthen your bond. Find out more about cat training here.
- Provide puzzle feeders
Making mealtimes fun is a great way to stave off boredom. Encourage your cat to work for their food by using puzzle feeders. There are lots of different types you can buy, or you can make your own. Find out how to make feeding puzzles for your cat here.
- Give them a groom
Most cats need a bit of help with grooming every now and then, particularly long-haired cats who need brushing once a day. Grooming is a great activity you can do together and most cats will enjoy the attention. Find out how to groom your cat here.
- Give them something to climb
Cats love to get up high so they can feel safe and watch the world go by from a good vantage point. Try providing them with a cat tower, cat shelves and walkways, or simply clear some space on top of furniture or shelves so they can explore their home from different heights.
Cats Protection recommends contacting a vet if you notice any changes in your cat’s behaviour so they can rule out any medical causes before investigating if it could be the result of boredom.