Cats are known for having an independent nature, making it easy to leave them home alone. But just like any other animal, cats crave and require daily human interaction and stimulation. Bored cats can get frustrated and begin to exhibit unwanted behaviors such as aggression, over-grooming, furniture scratching, urine marking and other destruction, or you may observe them overeating and sleeping way too much. These behaviors are performed to occupy the cat’s time in a boring environment.
The good news is these undesirable behaviors can be overcome through enrichment, which increases the complexity of the environment, gives the animal a bit of control, and allows them to display more healthy, natural behaviors. Enrichment should be biologically relevant to the intended species, which for cats means activities and objects that engage them in exploration, hiding, stalking, chasing and hunting.
Below you will find several boredom busters for cats that are easy to implement and fun for felines of all ages.
Provide window views
Providing a window perch or seat for your feline friend creates a much bigger world for them even though they can’t go explore that world on the other side of the glass. They will still be entertained by the birds and squirrels in the yard, the neighborhood dogs out on walks with their people, the traffic whizzing by, and the feeling of the warm sun as they drift off for a nap. You can easily create a window view for your cat by moving their cat tree in front of a sunny window, or go purchase a window seat specifically designed for pets that attaches to the window frame or suctions onto the glass. Consider hanging a bird feeder in a tree outside your cat’s window to create an even more stimulating view.
Bring the outside in
If you don’t live on the ground floor or aren’t a fan of feeding the birds, you can still expose your cat to nature by purchasing DVDs specifically designed with cats in mind. Filmed with footage and sounds known to attract a cat’s attention, you will be surprised to find your cat watching TV for a good portion of the day! Just be sure your television is safely mounted or secured to the TV stand in case your cat decides to go on the hunt!
Bring out the toys
Most cats find it hard to resist toys that allow them to stalk, leap and pounce! Figure out the types of toys your cat enjoys most and then get the toys out every day for some vigorous play. Playtime is good for the mind and body, and chances are even the grumpiest cat can eventually be coaxed into some form of play. Catnip-laced toys are usually a hit, as are laser pointers, pom-poms, “teaser” wand toys. Of course, many cats are just as happy with household items as they are with toys you have purchased. A crinkly paper bag, a cardboard box with holes cut in the sides, or a big bowl of water with plastic soda bottle lids floating in it can keep your cat entertained for hours. Cat toys are typically small and very easily misplaced so stock up on a variety of toys and rotate items in and out to keep your cat’s playtime exciting!
By keeping your cat busy with these and other appropriate enrichment activities you increase their overall happiness and good health while reducing their need to fight boredom with those destructive or repetitive behaviors that make you both miserable!
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