Keeping a cat indoors has benefits - such as it minimizes the chances for trauma from being hit by an automobile, bite wounds from cat fights or attacks by dogs, common infectious diseases, and exposure to toxins just to name a few. Indoor only cats may live twice a long on average over indoor/outdoor cats. Outdoor cats have a life span estimated to be a fraction of those that live indoor only. For more information on the lifespan of cats - go to How Long Do Cats Live?
A risk to keeping your cat indoors is that he or she becomes “bored”. Boredom can lead to a variety of problems such as inappropriate urination, destructive behaviors such as scratching, aggression, depression, lethargy, over-vocalization/crying, increased or decreased appetite, and sleeping more.
Is YOUR cat bored?
Consider your home environment. Is it cat friendly? Are there lots of things for your cat to do, play with, and watch? Consider the things cats enjoy and if you have them in your home. Evaluate your cats' environment.
How to Prevent Cat Boredom
The most important thing you can do to prevent boredom in your cat is to make sure the environment is stimulating. This means an environment with things to do - windows to look out of, things to watch, places to climb and safe toys to play with. Climbing posts, scratching posts, cat grass, windows perches, window beds, and a view of birds or squirrels to watch are all great ways to enrich your cats live and prevent boredom. For some great tips - go to this article: Tips to Enrich your Cats Environment. A stimulating environment is very important for a happy cat.
Here are some specific tips to prevent boredom in your cat.
1. Window Views. Create a window perch or window seat for your cat. It is important for him or her to have a “view” and ability to watch what is going on outside. This is a great way to create a stimulating environment. There are commercially available “window beds” that attach to your window frame. Cats love these. Another option is a cat tree placed near a window that allows an outside view.
2. Create a View. Consider creating a stimulating view for your cat. A bird feeder or squirrel feeder placed in view of a window is a way to do just that. Place a bed near that window so your cat can see out.
3. Get a Scratching Post. Cats will use a cat scratching post for many reasons. One is to help shed the outer layers of their nails. Another is to mark territory-not only visually, but through tiny scent glands at the bottoms of their paws. Even a declawed cat will use a cat scratching post. It's an instinctive behavior that cats never lose and enjoy. Make sure the scratching post is tall enough that he or she can really stretch when used. For tips on choosing a scratching post - go to Tips for Choosing the Best Scratching Post.
4. Create a Cat Refuge. Cats like places where they feel safe. We call this a “cat refuge”. This is often in a high location - such as on top of a dresser or table where a cat can evaluate the environment for “dangers”, just as they would in nature and be relatively hidden from view. The location of a refuge can be anywhere - low or high and the substrate can be as simple as a paper bag or cardboard box.
5. Find the Cat Right Toys. Not every cat likes the same toys. Make sure you know what your cat likes. We have a great article on just that topic - go to: Find the Right Toy for your Cats Personality Type. If you are not sure what toys will entice your cat - get one of each and do a test.
6. Have Plenty of Cat Toys. Once you know what toys your cats like - make sure you have plenty of them. It is common for them to get “misplaced” (you usually move the sofa and find a dozen).
7. Rotate Toys. Cats become bored with the same toys after a while. A great tip is to hide it for a while and reintroduce. Keep a supply that you rotate.
8. Get Some Catnip. For cats sensitive to catnip - offer some catnip periodically for your cat to enjoy. Also - marinating toys in catnip is a great way to encourage your cat to enjoy them even more when you reintroduce them.
9. Schedule Playtime. Schedule time twice a day to play with your cat. Allow him or her to chase the ball, laser pointer or feathery flyer. Take at least 10 minutes out of your day to play with your cat. You can even do this while you are watching T.V. in the evening. Get out the laser pointer, feather flyer or just toss a ball across the floor to simulate your cat.
10. Plenty of Love Time. Some cats really want a little of your time and attention. Encourage your cats to curl up with you when you are resting.
11. Grow Some Cat Grass. Some cats love the ability to chew on a little cat grass - just like they would if they were outdoors. It is easy to grow. For simple instructions - Go to How to Grow Cat Grass.
12. A Spot of Sun. Cats love the sun. Look around your home and see what window allows the sun to shine in and consider placing a cat bed in that location. If you have the blinds or curtains closed - consider opening them to allow your cat the ability to bask for a while in the sun.
Bored cats can sleep more or have behavioral problems. Make sure your cat is happy and enriched.