You might think that with the 15 hours a day your cat spends napping that she may not have time to get bored. But unfortunately, cats can—and do— get bored. While Fluffy may not always let you know how bored she is, sometimes cats express their boredom in ways that are quite blunt and not always appreciated by their human companions. Before she starts scratching your furniture, climbing the drapes, or destroying every roll of toilet paper you put on the holder, look out for these signs of boredom, and make efforts to provide her with more mental and physical stimulation.
Over grooming or other repetitive behaviors – Cats who are suffering from boredom may repeatedly lick themselves, chew/bite at their skin, or pull out their fur. The irritation that results from this behavior can cause them to continue to over-groom, creating an ongoing loop of frustrating behavior.
Chasing or fighting with other animals – Bored cats will sometimes chase other pets as a means to release pent up energy. If your cat starts running after the other cats in the house or tries to corner the dog, this may be a sign that your cat needs other stimulation.
Lack of normal curiosity – Cats spend a large portion of their day sleeping, but they do have times of the day where they engage in activity and play. If you notice that your cat isn’t doing much else except napping and snacking at the food bowl, you could very well have a bored cat on your hands.
Moping around the house – If your cat seems down in the dumps and uninterested in most things that normally get her active, including food, it could be a sign that she isn’t getting enough mental stimulation. Be aware, however; if this behavior continues even after making positive changes in the environment, seek the advice of a veterinarian to rule out any health issues.
Over-eating – Bored cats are in synch with bored humans on this front. They’ll over-eat as an just because it is something to do. This can lead to obesity, which further depresses a cat.
While all these signs may be symptoms of boredom, they may be signs of medical or behavior problems, too. If you notice your cat doing any of these things, be sure to seek advice from your vet to rule out any health problems that could be driving your cat’s behavior.
Once you’ve confirmed that your cat has no health issues and boredom is the problem, work towards providing a more enriching environment for your cat. Providing a combination of interactive toys, plenty of high places to climb, scratching posts and horizontal scratchers, and perches in front of secure windows to let Fluffy view the outside world all can go a long way in helping to entertain your cat and keep her stimulated in the right way.
With boredom gone, your cat will thank you with energy, curiosity, and bright-eyed interest that says, “Thanks, mom. Let’s play!”