All cats, whether a British Shorthair or Persian, sleep long hours a day, so one would think that these animals are fine with being inactive. Surprisingly, however, they do get bored and require daily mental and physical stimulation just like dogs. This is because felines are natural hunters and tend to be curious about their immediate surroundings.
While some cats express their boredom bluntly, others don’t always let their owners know when they want to be entertained. This is why feline owners need to know and look out for the signs of boredom to prevent their furry friend from becoming unhealthy, anxious, or depressed.
Signs that Your Cat is Bored
If you have lived with a cat long enough, you probably already know that a bored one is a destructive one. A feline that lacks stimulation can scratch your furniture, destroy every roll of toilet paper in your bathroom, chew on your plants, or get into places where it does not belong. Other times, it will express its boredom or frustration in the following ways:
- By repeatedly licking itself, chewing or biting at its skin, or pulling out its fur
- By overeating, causing it to gain weight and become even more depressed
- By fighting with or chasing other household pets
- By moping around and becoming uninterested in things it normally loves
- By not doing anything else except nap and eat
- Through its body language
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Choosing to keep a cat indoors has become a norm in many Aussie households, which is why many felines have a difficult time staying active. Indoor cats only get the stimulation they need from what’s inside your home, so it is important to give your pet enough activities to keep it distracted. As a feline parent, you must not only watch out for the signs of boredom in your cat but also know how to keep it happy and entertained. To help ensure that your cat is active and busy at home, below is a list of recommended practices.
1. Give Your Cat Toys
Toys play a crucial role in making sure that your feline is stimulated both mentally and physically. But with the many options available on the market, it can be difficult for one to know the best toys for their cat. The toys you choose will greatly depend on the habits and temperament of your breed.
To be on the safe side, choose toys that seek to engage your furry friend. Cats like to chase, pounce, and climb, so toys like motorised mice, balls, teaser toys, laser pointers, catnip toys, and interactive feeding toys are a wonderful choice.
The great thing about cats is that their toys do not need to be expensive. They are fine playing with cheap household items like cardboard boxes, a large bottle cap, an old rag, or even your finger. However, they can be quite finicky, so you may need to rotate their toys from time to time to help them stay engaged.
2. Provide Your Cat with a Scratching Post
Cats love to scratch as a way to release built-up energy, sharpen their claws, and stretch their legs, making a scratch tower an excellent distraction for your bored feline. If you just recently adopted a cat, providing it with its scratching post is a wonderful way for it to easily adjust to an unfamiliar place at an early age.
A good scratching post is sturdy and tall enough for your cat to stretch and reach up while it is scratching. Good choices for materials include corrugated cardboard, wood, carpet, or sisal rope. A post that has additional toys hanging from it is also a great choice, as it will encourage your feline’s hunting nature and playful personality. The perfect placement for the scratching post would be near the areas where your act often sleeps.
3. Spend Time Playing with Your Cat
Compared with dogs, cats are low-maintenance in terms of care. This, however, doesn’t mean they do not need to spend time with their humans. Felines enjoy playtime, especially indoor ones. If you are a cat parent, it is recommended that you make some one-on-one time with your pet as often as possible. Doing so will not only strengthen the bond between the two of you but will also make your cat feel loved.
Aside from giving your cat toys to keep it busy, you can also play fetch with it. Like dogs, cats enjoy playing fetch. Just make sure that you choose a toy light enough to be thrown to the other side of the room and small enough to fit in your feline’s mouth. Some cats may not know how to play this game at first, but you can encourage yours to learn by using positive reinforcements and healthy treats.
4. Bring Home Another Buddy
When you spend more time at work than you do at home, your beloved cat can get lonely. Giving it a companion is a good option if you wish for your feline to be entertained when you are not around. Kittens usually get on better with other cats than older ones, so you might want to consider adopting a second pet while your cat is still young.
Bear in mind, however, that once a cat has been used to being the “only child,” it can be challenging to integrate a new one into the household. This is something that you must carefully assess, as there are pros and cons to putting two cats together in one home.