Is your cat over-eating, sleeping more than usual, seeming depressed, being naughty or over-grooming? If so, you may have a bored kitty on your hands, according to Pam Johnson-Bennett, an author and cat behaviorist at www.catbehaviorassociates.com.
Could your kitty be feeling a deep sense of ennui? Maybe. Have her checked by the vet to rule out a medical issue first. If none is found, consider your cat might need additional stimulation, especially if you are gone for long periods of time during the day. Indoor cats lack the natural stimulators that outdoor cats encounter, but it’s always safer to keep your furry friend indoors. You’ll just need to enhance your cat’s indoor environment so they can experience on some level what they might be missing outside.
Cats hunt instinctively. They love to stalk, seek and pounce on prey. To feed that instinctual hunger, try the following cat-boredom busters, courtesy of Johnson-Bennett and other cat behavioral experts. These can fend off dullness and ensure your cat stays happy and healthy.
Fill a puzzle feeder to encourage your cat to seek his food. Not only will he have fun while seeking, but he will also get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Hide your cat’s favorite treats around the house. While you’re away, your cat will look forward to finding delicious morsels around the nooks and crannies of your home as he treasure-hunts throughout the day.
Provide your cat with a scratching post or pad. Cats physically need to stretch their backs and shoulders. If they have no access to scratching posts or pads, they will use your carpet or furniture to satisfy that basic need to stretch.
Leave interactive cat toys around the house for your kitty to discover. Playthings that mimic natural prey such as mice and birds are ideal. During playtime with your cat, use toys that dangle off poles that you can control for added enrichment.
Invest in a sturdy cat tree so your cat has a safe structure to climb and rest above it all during the day. Cats love to take to the heights and view their surroundings from perches.
Leave your blinds raised a bit so your cat can get access to window ledges to peer outside. He will sit for hours and watch bugs and birds. Even better, add a bird feeder within view of your cat’s window perch and listen in on him as he chirps and chatters at the birds.
Place your cat’s bed on the floor where the sun spills into the room. Cats love to sunbathe. She’ll cat nap for hours while basking in the warm rays.
Give your cat a safe place to retreat when a storm rolls in. Some kitties are storm intolerant, so provide covered beds, a cat tunnel or a box turned on its side and stuffed with a soft, cuddly blanket.
Consider enlisting someone to stop by mid-day to visit your cat if you work long hours.
Set your stereo to play soft, melodic music to comfort your kitty while you’re away from the house. Avoid boisterous genres that incorporate drums and heavy bass, which might unnerve your cat and make things worse for her.
Bring the outdoors in! A few dried leaves in a paper bag, a discarded bird’s feather, and a few blades of chemical-free grass will delight your furry friend.
Consider adding another cat to the mix to keep your kitty company. Your house can be a lonely place when you’re not there after all, and two cats can entertain each other while you’re away.
With a little ingenuity and compassion for your cat’s basic needs, you can create an environment that keeps your kitty purr-fectly entertained, content and healthy. Happy cat; happy home. 🐈