Even though cats aren't as open about their emotions as dogs, they still feel and show signs of boredom. And this feeling of restlessness can lead to several potential problems, like behavioral issues (like being destructive or aggression) or excessive grooming, Julia Jenkins of Pet Dog Training Today says.
Check in with your veterinarian to ensure that these symptoms of boredom aren’t due to any underlying illnesses or pain. And if they’re not, it’s a good idea to ensure that your cat has enough mental and physical stimulation to keep them out of trouble. Jenkins is sharing trainer-approved tips for preventing boredom in cats.
Even though cats are pretty independent pets, that doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from enrichment. Constant boredom can lead to health issues like obesity, stress or behavioral problems, Jenkins says.
Keeping pets busy starts with creating environmental enrichment, including activities or toys that help pets feel mentally and physically stimulated. This type of care comes with benefits beyond just having fun.
“By providing cats with stimulating toys and activities, we can help them stay active and healthy. Plus, enrichment can also help to reduce stress and anxiety, two common problems in indoor cats,” Jenkins explains.
But before you create a full activity itinerary to do with your cat, Jenkins recommends talking to your veterinarian or certified animal behaviorist to make sure it’s safe for your cat and meets their individual needs.
“When choosing enrichment activities for your cat, it is important to consider their individual needs and preferences,” Jenkins says. “Some cats may prefer more active enrichment activities, while others may prefer quieter, more relaxed activities.”
There are some ways to keep your cat entertained when you’re home and while you’re away. Here are a few of Jenkins' recommendations.
Pull out your cat’s favorite toys and spend time playing with them. Jenkins recommends purchasing catnip toys with your vets permission — which seem to engage cats and sometimes even make them mildly (and safely) hallucinate.
Place your cat’s favorite toys or small treats around the house while encouraging them to find the items.
According to Jenkins, scratching is a natural cat behavior. Purchase a scratching post to help your cat satisfy this urge.
“Cats love to watch the world go by, and a window perch is a great way to give them a bird's-eye view,” Jenkins says.
If your cat loves to climb, building cat-friendly climbing shelves can help to keep them entertained and active.
Place several boxes or bags around the house, and your cat will likely enjoy jumping in and out of them.
Some cats love music, Jenkins says. And while this isn't necessarily an activity, soft, calming tunes can help keep your cat relaxed if you're away from home.
On your next shopping spree at the pet store, you’ll want to add these toys to your cart (and don’t forget the catnip toys!) to keep your pet from feeling bored.
Believe it or not, there are puzzles for cats, and they’re a great way to keep their minds sharp and paws busy, Jenkins says. Visit your local pet store for treat-centric options that have your cat searching for the good stuff.
Look for balls with bells inside of them, Jenkins suggests. Your cat will likely enjoy swatting at or chasing them, and the bells add another level of entertainment.
To all the DIY pet parents, test out a foraging board. Simply drill holes into a board and place treats inside of each hole so your cat can start searching away.
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