Critter Culture
How to Help Your Cat Go From Bored to Buoyant

How to Help Your Cat Go From Bored to Buoyant

Critter Culture Staff



The cars, chemicals, and animals of the outside world are dangerous for domestic cats. But indoor life can get boring, and when cats are bored, they do all manner of weird or aggressive things, including but not limited to scratching at your skin or hogging your TV. Odd behaviors may be a means for your fluffy friend to satisfy some of their primal needs. Once you've figured out what's wrong or missing in their lives, you can make a few adjustments and will hopefully have a happier cat and household in no time.



Harmful repetitive behaviors like pulling out fur and overgrooming are significant signs of boredom and stress. Licking is a comfort-seeking behavior, but cats have sandpapery tongues, so repeatedly licking can lead to skin issues such as sores, and overgrooming can form hairballs. It's also disturbing to see your cat bite themselves. Overgrooming could be due to a lack of enrichment or overstimulation in a noisy home.

tabby cat licks fur Ukususha / Getty Images



Sure, cat naps are famous and can take up most of the day, but healthy cats are curious and engaged between their bouts of sleep. If your cat doesn't show any inclination to play, is short on curiosity, and does little else but eat and sleep, they could be bored. Just like people, cats enjoy various toys and activities. Switch up your strategies, and your cat should respond unless they're dealing with a medical issue.

kitten playing at home walking through a toy tunnel SolStock / Getty Images


Abnormal eating

Your kitty may feel like they have little else to do but gorge on always-available food. So, if you notice them becoming obese and depressed, look for ways to perk them up and get them active. Alternatively, your cat may lose weight and struggle with a lack of appetite and disinterest in food. Consult with your vet to rule out any health conditions.

man gives his cat meat snack. Chalabala / Getty Images



Fights and showdowns with other cats and pets may become commonplace if your cat is bored. And you might want to get in a row with your cat if they become mischievous and overly destructive. Resist the urge to punish them because they won't understand why you're doing what you're doing and will start distrusting you.

Two British short-hair cats in a fight chendongshan / Getty Images


Make your cat feel at home

Cat patios, AKA catios, are all the rage, but they're a luxury. Instead of an elaborate balcony or garden setup, a few pieces of feline furniture, such as a felt cat bed, an elevated hidey-hole, and a catnip-laced scratching post, can keep cats occupied and away from your prized interior accessories. Cozy hug-like spaces where cats can hide or snuggle up release endorphins. Even taped squares on the floor give cats a sense of security.

A brown tabby cat is hiding in a felted wool cave cat bed Svetlana Popova / Getty Images


Show a little TLC

Cats are not low-maintenance pets. Make a point to play with your four-legged companion every day. Purchase a few new toys or get creative with objects at home. You can play fetch or get your cat to chase the light from a laser pointer. Attention and affection from you can make a big difference to your cat's mental and physical health.

person playing with cat with a ball Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images


Head outside

Some cats end up with Feline Idiopathic Cystitis because they don't like being cooped up. An adopted cat may have already developed a taste for roaming and tree climbing. So, consider whether your cat demonstrates a strong desire to break free of the confines of your home — not all of them do — and how you might safely facilitate that. A restless cat or one looking longingly through windows while crying may need a supervised outing.

Young cat plays with dandelion Leoba / Getty Images


Opt for 2D

Your lifestyle or residential complex may limit opportunities for outdoor excursions. It might be more practical and efficient to search for 'TV for Cats' on YouTube. There's a good chance your cat will be enthralled by the bird and nature scenes for long stretches and will likely ask you to switch on the TV or set up your phone or tablet when they need the stimulation.

cat watching tablet vladans / Getty Images


Find a buddy

If you and your space can accommodate two cats, it's an avenue worth pursuing. A feline friend may be just what the doctor orders. While it's true that cats are territorial, they're also social animals. The cats can entertain each other and keep each other fit with chases and playful wrestling matches.

two maine coon kittens jumping from one sofa to another Nils Jacobi / Getty Images


Give your cat the satisfaction of work

Cats are hunters with instincts to pounce on their food like Simba. Bought or homemade food puzzles simulate hunting. The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery has published papers showing how food puzzles improve weight levels and problematic cat behaviors. Cats become more confident, urinate inside their litter boxes where they're supposed to, and are generally more content.


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