Bored Cat Solutions
When a cat is constantly bored, he/she will run into behavioral issues which affect you as well. Being bored and not mentally stimulated can also manifest into health problems in the long run. To avoid these problems, you need to implement bored cat solutions.
Here, we’ll discuss symptoms of a bored cat, basic things every home should have for their indoor cat and other specific bored cat solutions if the basics don’t work.
Bored Cat Behavioral & Health Issues
For a while when I was working long hours at work, I regrettably didn’t have the energy to play with the cats.
Nala is an Abyssinian mix, so she is very athletic and smart. Because I wasn’t mentally stimulating her and didn’t provide a form of fun and challenging exercise, she ended up sleeping a lot.
She is supposed to be a slender 8-9 pounds, but she became overweight and didn’t even want to play when I enticed her. Since then, I’ve put her on a diet and play with her a fair bit, so she’s slimmed down to 9.2 pounds, with just a couple more pounds to go.
Charlie’s behavioral issue because of boredom is that he will go to his usual spot and blankly stare into space in front of him. The bigger problem is that he redirects his bored aggression into bullying Nala.
When you think you have a bored cat in your home, you need to address it as soon as you can. It will take time to engage your cat again, but be patient and start implementing the solutions.
Symptoms of a Bored Cat
If you think you have a bored cat at home, then see if they display any of the below symptoms.
- Excessive grooming and licking in the same spot – You notice that your cat has been overgrooming or overlicking themselves in the same area more than usual. If they’re licking and grooming themselves all over then that’s fine, but if they tend to do it in the same place throughout the day, they probably have an irritation that’s formed as a result of overlicking. They could have an infection but also could be caused because they’re bored.
- Bullies the other cat – Redirecting their aggression including being bored into bullying the other house cat is a typical behavior of a dominant cat. In addition to addressing this problem with bored cat solutions, you should also discourage this behavior with other methods to stop your cat from bullying the other cat.
- Sleeps a lot and not curious – Unfortunately, I’ve been a bad cat mom because of busy work, and I let Charlie become really bored. He seldom plays and is seldom curious. In fact, I’m writing this post because I am concerned about Charlie, and I want to implement the right solutions to get him out of funk.
- Overeating – If your cat goes from sleeping to eating and then back to sleeping and eating, then you’re not providing enough mental stimulation for your cat that that’s all he/she knows to do at home.
- Knocks stuff off surfaces – Another thing Charlie has started doing a lot of is just going on top of the bathroom counter or my desk and knocking my stuff off. It is unbelievably annoying to say the least. But it also saddens me that he is so bored that he has to resort to being a jerk.
Now, time to fix this problem.
Basic Bored Cat Solutions
The basic solutions are the necessities every indoor cat needs at home as a foundation to be happy and healthy.
- Clean litter box – Do you have a clean litter box for your cat that you clean out everyday?
- Cat needs – Do you have the must-have items like grooming tools and cat scratching posts? Basically, are you satisfying your cat’s feline needs?
- Vertical space – Do you have a high vertical place for your cat to perch on? If you don’t have a window sill for your cat to look out and observe their surroundings, I highly recommend investing in a tall and affordable cat tree or make your own DIY cat shelves.
- Nutrition – Make sure that your cat is getting a well-balanced and complete nutrition. If you’re overfeeding or your cat’s lacking the nutrition, then your cat might just not have the energy to play. Then your cat will eventually lose interest and curiosity curiosity to play and then become bored. It’s a vicious cycle that you really want to avoid.
- Cat grass or catnip – Fresh cat grass and catnip toys give your indoor cats a bit of outside, which is a great stimulation method. Plant your own cat grass every few weeks. These seeds grow so fast and after a week and a half, your cat should have some grass to munch on.
If you have the necessities above already in your home but your cat is still bored all the time, then you’re not alone. I want to tackle this problem for Charlie, too.
So, my attempt is to deliver to you what I find actually works rather than just a bunch of “ideas”. Let’s explore these.
Interactive Toys That Cats Actually Play With
Do you excitedly buy cat toys only for your cat to sniff it and walk away? You may be into a habit of buying toys and basically just letting them collect dust in the pile of cat toys that your cats don’t play with. I had a horrible habit of doing this.
But over many years of buying random toys that I think my cats will like, I found that there are only certain toys that most cats really like. I talked about it in my recommended cat toys discussion, but it’s really interesting how the popular toys in the market are popular for a reason.
But what if your cat is still not interested in playing with interactive toys that he/she once used to be excited about?
Evoke Curiosity out of a Bored Cat
As I mentioned above, buying new toys from the pet shop or online to try to appease your cat is just throwing money down the drain, in my opinion.
I explain in my recommended cat toys post that aside from the go-to toys on that list, my cats are seldom interested in playing with anything else. And if they do show interest in the first day, that quickly dissipates.
There are a few subscription boxes on the market for new cat toys and treats. But again, I know my cats are not going to play with probably most, if not all, so it’s just a waste of money.
So, one of the things I need to do is to introduce new toys to my cats every week but with a catch. I want to spend ZERO to LITTLE MONEY on these toys.
Instead of inundating you with an overwhelming list of a whole bunch of ideas, here are top 5.
There are three things that evoke curiosity out of my cats. They’re not scientifically proven, but just what I’ve observed which might work for your cats too.
- 1. When they see a hint of something but it’s hidden from view.
- 2. When they hear high-pitched, familiar sounds like meows and bird tweets.
- 3. When chewing it feels good on their teeth, gums, and tongue.
So, incorporating these sensories, these are my top recommended ways to get your cat to become interested in playing again.
1. Cats Love This Satin Ribbon
I’ve tried tying different types of ribbons to the end of a stick, but something about the thickness and the weight of this 1/4 inch satin ribbon blows my cats’ mind.
It must be how it moves and the texture on their tongue when they try to eat it. You must have a long rod or a stick lying around from past cat toy graveyard.
Use that to tape on about 3 feet of the ribbon to the end of the rod. Or, use a pencil to attach the ribbon to the end.
2. Put a Sheet on It
Put a sheet of cloth on top of a toy. For example, you can use the Original Da Bird feather toy. And if you don’t have cut out pieces of cloth lying around, you can use a raggedy t-shirt.
Attach the cloth on the end of the rod, so that when you put the toy down on the floor, the cloth covers the toy. Or, you can manually cover the toy with the cloth.
Then, make the feather or whatever toy it is under the cloth sheet move around.
Your cat will be like “what the heck is that?” and come near it or try to pounce on it.
3. Hide-and-Seek with Ball that Makes Sounds
You can use a dog toy that makes sounds like this Babble Ball.
But the TRICK is, hide it in different places around the home. For example, tucked in between the sofa and the wall or under the bed or in the closet.
When you touch the toy, it starts making sounds and the sounds will automatically stop after a while.
Your cat’s hearing sensory will perk up and try to look for the sound.
4. Hide-and-Seek with Bluetooth Speaker Meow Sounds (my best invention yet!)
This is my favorite way to evoke curiosity out of your chronically bored cat. It’s something I made up and it works fantastic. Similar to the Babble Ball, if you have bluetooth speakers at home, this also works.
Put the bluetooth speaker like this in different parts of the home. Hide it in the shoe closet, under the table, under the bed covers.
If you have several bluetooth speakers, you can install these in different areas of the house and from your phone, play sounds on different speakers so your cat can go from one place to another.
5. Multi-Task When You’re Doing Chores
When you’re doing chores around the house, attach the cat dancer (which is the $3 rolled up cardboard at the end of a wire) on your waistband. This also works when you exercise at home.
Please, try these methods to stimulate your cat. Get your cat to love life again. Incorporate at least 30 minutes of this everyday.
6. Make Your Cat Run for a Treat
This is an amazingly easy and effective method to get your bored cat to play without much effort on your end. This works especially if your cat is food-driven and begs for food all the time.
Not to mention, this is also a great way to train your cat to recognize his/her name and come to you when you call them.
Okay, okay, so what’s the solution??
Did I mention this also works if your cat is lazy?
I’m just messing with you now. Here’s the solution in steps:
Step 1: Get your cat to smell the treat in your hand as you call their name.
Step 2: Walk over to the other side of the room and call your cat’s name while holding out the treat.
Step 3: When your cat comes over and his/her eye contact is with the treat in your hand, make the gesture with your hand to throw the treat. Do this a few times so that your cat’s eye contact follows.
Step 4: Throw the treat across the room. Make sure it lands on a hard surface and not carpet so it makes a sound. Watch your cat run/walk across the room for the treat.
Step 5: Repeat.
This is an easy method on your part, because you can multi-task. You can do this while you’re watching Netflix or doing chores. And after you’ve trained your cat, you can even carry out this game when you’re not home by using a treat-throwing machine (like Furbo) controlled from your phone. Technology these days…
Automatic Toys Don’t Work for Chronic Bored Cats
Unfortunately, if your cat is chronically bored, getting automatic cat toys that you can turn on won’t work. They might work for a day but your bored cat will quickly become disinterested.
I know many of us are busy and we don’t have time to play with our cats for hours on end everyday. But invest just 15 minutes in the morning before you leave the house and 15 minutes at night to play interactive toys with your cats.
But the best way to get your bored cat out of his/her funk is to evoke curiosity. I found that the bluetooth speaker that I dare say, invented, works the BEST. And I highly encourage you to try it.