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9 Vet-Reviewed Signs Your Cat Is Bored & How to Fix It

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

A cat lying on bathroom floor

9 Vet-Reviewed Signs Your Cat Is Bored & How to Fix It

VET APPROVED

Dr. Maja Platisa Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Maja Platisa

DVM MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Heaven forbid your cat should be short on entertainment. If they don’t have enough to do, you might notice a few different behaviors they’re using to communicate that they are bored to tears. Over time, boredom can lead to frustration and development of certain habits and behaviors, many of which are not desirable or pleasant, neither for you nor your kitty. Some of the signs easily associated with boredom can also indicate an underlying illness or discomfort, so make sure you observe your cat’s behavior closely and seek veterinary input if there is any concern.

If you are unsure of exactly what your cat is trying to communicate to you, familiarize yourself with their body language, so you can pick up any subtle changes easily. Here is a breakdown of exactly the kind of actions you can expect from a cat who is looking for something exciting to do.

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The 9 Signs Your Cat Is Bored

1. Meowing

Is your kitty quite talkative lately? Maybe what they’re really saying is that they’re ready for some action. If your cat is following you around vocalizing their concerns excessively or frequently, this may be a sign of boredom. However, cats that suffer from health issues or are in pain can also be more vocal, and excessive meowing particularly overnight may be a sign of cognitive decline in older cats.

Make sure your cat gets plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation through an enriched environment and active playtime on a daily basis. See if that alleviates some of the trouble, but if not, if your cat is behaving differently, or showing any signs of pain and illness, get them checked out by your vet..


2. Attention Seeking

Is your cat giving you a little tap on the arm? Sometimes, this is a way to get your attention. Maybe they want to play. Perhaps they simply want a good rubdown. Either way, batting you and following you around constantly means they’re probably just bored and need something to keep themselves content.

If you have just come home after a long day, your kitty might be rubbing up against your legs. While this is a sign that they are marking you as their familiar territory, leaving their scent on you, they also might be excited that you’re home. Chances are, they have run out of things to do and are now relying on you for some entertainment.

Cat playing with human
Image Credit: Florian Höllmüller, Pixabay

3. Sleeping More Than Usual

Excessive sleeping can be a sign of boredom in cats, but it can also point to more serious issues. Bored cats will behave normally in a sense that they will show interest in playing if you encourage them, they will have a normal, or even increased appetite, normal drinking, and toileting. But if not stimulated, they will spend a lot of their time sleeping and napping.

Sick cats will be lethargic, uninterested in playing or playing significantly less, may have a reduced or absent appetite, drink more or less, experience signs of a stomach upset, lameness, weakness, and many more. If you are not sure if your cat may be sick, get them seen by your vet. If they are just bored, continue reading to find out how to stimulate them and fulfill their day.


4. Overgrooming

If your cat is spending a lot of their time grooming themselves, which they do anyway, it can be difficult to establish if they are bored. However, excessive grooming often leads to self-inflicted fur loss and even skin irritation, that may cause actual sores. This is certainly a sign your cat is either bored, or suffering with health issues like skin parasites or allergies, stress or anxiety. Speak to your vet to get to the bottom of this, as your cat may need treatment for their skin.

cat licking or grooming itself
Image Credit: ErikGlez, Shutterstock

5. Zoomies

Zoomies are just super fun to watch. But, is your cat having zoomies or frantic random activity periods (FRAP) every single day, or even several times per day? This may be a clear sign that they are bored and need to be entertained in other ways.


6. Overeating

Bored cats will often eat more than usual, as there is not much else to do. This in turn, alongside reduced physical activity, can lead to weight gain and all the health issues associated with it, from joint issues, urinary, breathing problems, and many more. Rarely will bored cats eat less, unless they are suffering with anxiety or another health or behavioral issue.

Changes in appetite, such as increased hunger, particularly with a weight loss, rather than a gain, is generally associated with an underlying medical condition, such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, cancer, and many more. If your cat is losing weight and eating more, do not think of it as boredom, rather get them checked out by the vet to rule out underlying health problems.

Beautiful feline cat eating on a metal bowl
Image Credit: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock

7. Inappropriate toileting

Cats that are bored easily become frustrated, and they may start developing habits and behaviors in order to express their dissatisfaction. One of them may be toileting outside of the litter box. Of course, there are many other causes for this, from health issues such as urinary tract disorders, painful posturing due to arthritis or injuries, or gastrointestinal issues with urgency, not allowing time to get to the litter box. A dirty litter box, change in litter, size and location of the litter box, and more, can all influence this behavior as well. Observe your cat closely to try and understand the reason for this behavior, while your vet can rule out urinary or other health issues, many of which are urgent.


8. Destructive Behavior

Bored cats can get into all kinds of mischief. It may be scratching your furniture more than usual, or entertaining themselves with pushing objects off the table. Ensure your cat has plenty of scratch posts so they can spare your furniture, and read on to find ways to battle their boredom.

Cat staring at the camera
Image Credit: Doris Metternich, Pixabay

9. Play Becoming Aggressive

Have you ever been stared at by your cat from across the room? Their eyes are fixated on you, and the end of their tail whips ever so slightly. Next thing they are stalking you and pouncing, trying to play. That’s all sweet until it turns into a less harmless play. Cats may gently bite their owners when overstimulated, playful, or as a sign of affection. But bored cats may start playing more rough, or can even become aggressive towards other pets or humans. They can be more irritable and less tolerant.

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Curbing Kitty Boredom

If you have a particularly unexcited cat with nothing to do, there are many ways you can make this better. Let’s take a look at some potential boredom relief for your beloved feline.

1. Play With Them

The easiest way to battle your cat’s boredom is to play with them every single day, several times per day, whenever you get a chance. Cats tend to enjoy multiple short play sessions, rather than prolonged exercise or playtime. Swap the toys around to make it more interesting and consider interactive and puzzle toys to keep your cat stimulated. Different toys, with various textures and functions, shapes and sizes, will all keep your kitty entertained.

Time with your cat can also be spent on grooming and cuddles that will strengthen your bond and make them feel less bored.

Two cats hanging by the fence
Image Credit: Adina Voicu, Pixabay

2. Consider Supervised Outdoor Adventures

Indoor cats are more likely to get bored than outdoor cats. If you have your own home, consider building a catio or a secure enclosed outdoor play area, where your cat can enjoy the outdoors without being exposed to any dangers it brings or getting lost. This can be connected through a window, so they have free access to it when they please, or you may take them to their catio several times a day. Make sure there are plenty of perches and climbing spots, that it’s entirely enclosed so your cat cannot get out, or any animals can’t get in, and that they have a shelter from the sun and rain. There are commercial catios you can purchase, or it can be a great DIY project.

Alternatively, you can train your cat to wear a harness with a lead, and they can accompany you on outdoor adventures. Make sure your cat is first comfortable wearing one and being outside, and that they gradually get used to going out in a quiet enclosed garden. Cats that are easily scared, or taken to areas with other animals such as street cats or dogs off leash, may try to escape in panic and get out of their harness, becoming lost.


3. Offer Activity Stations

It’s becoming quite a common thing to have an entire activity station for a feline. These stations could include scratching posts, window perches, cat trees, climbing spots, puzzle feeders, interactive toys, and little hideouts. The more your kitty can claim territory and feel excited and challenged with new games, the happier they will be. You can buy premade items or come up with a collective of your own. However, it’s still important that you spend time with your cat playing and making small changes and additions to the station, in order to keep them interested.

Cat chilling at cat's station
Image By: Alexas_Photos, Pixabay

4. Make Climbing Platforms

You can put up shelving and other platforms on your walls so that your cat can climb. Cats absolutely love to be at the top of everything, as any cat owner knows.

The more levels you can create in your home, the more your cat will feel like they have space to explore. If you have the wall space, it’s definitely something to look into. Another idea is to combine them around the windows, so your cat gets a great view of the outdoor activities of birds and other prey animals.


5. Try Your Hand at DIY Projects

The Internet is flooded with DIY projects. You can make the most fantastic cat toys and activity centers for next to nothing. You can just take some scraps that you have at your house that maybe you haven’t been using and make them work for you.

Also, most DIYs are simply guidelines. You can take a creation and put your own spin on it to serve a unique purpose in your home. Find what works best for your cat and your home.

Should I Get Another Cat?

You may think that getting another cat is a way to reduce your cat’s boredom. But things are not so simple. Cats prefer solitary life and generally only related cats, such as stray and feral queens with their kittens, tend to live in colonies, focusing on stable food sources. Bringing another cat into your home may cause stress to both cats, and there is no guarantee they will actually get along and play. Not to mention they both need their own resources, so there is no competition. If you are adopting a kitten, getting their brother or sister at the same time is one thing. But bringing an unfamiliar cat into your cat’s home is something that needs a lot of consideration, and the motive should not be your cat’s boredom.

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Conclusion

Sure, there are lots of reasons your cat might be bored. But the bottom line is that when anything is boring, it’s simply because there’s not enough to do. Many cats will have higher activity levels, making them harder to entertain than others, especially kittens and young adults.

But if you get crafty and creative, you can create quite the exploratory for your kitty. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get your hammers out. It might even relieve some of your own boredom too.

But make sure you are not mistaking signs of illness or pain for boredom, and consult with your vet if you have any concerns regarding your cat.


Featured Image Credit: Danny Chang, Pixabay

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