Boredom can be bad for your cat’s health – here’s how you can help

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Between seven and eight in the morning, my cat wakes me up with a head purring and a hug. About nine o’clock, I saw him staring out of the large windows of my downtown apartment, eyeing the bathroom and the passersby. By ten in the morning he had a box of zoom, rushing across the living room, stopping to hide behind the sofa, and preparing to pounce on me. Finally, he’ll speed his way into my bedroom, kicking the hallway runner in the process.

Sometimes I play with him, but other times, I find myself forced to work straight away – much to my disappointment (even though I often work from home).

Then he was suspiciously silent until about two o’clock in the afternoon, when I heard him meowing at the door and saw him scratching his handle, looking at me with large, optimistic eyes. Does he want to go for a walk or is he simply seeking to satisfy his hunting instincts?

Or maybe he’s bored.

We painted a picture of domestic cats as creatures that sleep for 20 hours a day, kick things off our tables and counters, and slam or bite us when we scratch their stomachs. We attribute it to cats being moody, when in fact these may be signs that your cat is bored and a lack of mimicry. If these behaviors sound familiar to you and your feline friend, pay attention. The good news is that there are some easy things you can do to improve their mood.

Signs that your cat is bored

I spoke to Dr. Claudia Richter, a Vancouver-based veterinarian at Pacific Veterinary Behavior Consulting, who said that one of the biggest signs that your cat might be bored is that she sleeps a lot, which to most people may seem like normal cat behavior, but according to Richter , not so.

“Sleeping 12 hours or 20 hours a day is not normal for a cat.”

Two cats are resting very close to each other in a cat tree hammock.
Two cats are resting very close to each other in a cat tree hammock. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Richter explained that cats’ daily cycle includes hunting, playing, eating, grooming and sleeping. She said they do this cycle eight to 12 times a day. But since we developed a routine of feeding cats or wet food from a metal bowl, the activities of hunting and fishing have been replaced by more sleep.

This still leaves playing, eating and grooming in their routine, right? But if you start noticing that they’ve stopped participating in these activities as well, you should be concerned, Richter said.

The vet advised that another sign to look for is whether your cat is trying to get your attention by any means necessary. This can include constant meowing, chewing on things, knocking things off tables, urinating outside the litter box or other destructive behavior. Attention seeking techniques may be signs of concern that your furry friend is trying to communicate with you, which could lead to more serious problems in the future.

A brown and gray kitten was caught playing with a roll of toilet paper on a wooden background.
Cute cat caught playing with rolls of toilet paper. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The dangers of boredom unchecked

Richter explained that diagnosing depression in cats is “really difficult,” because they are unable to verbally express their thoughts. However, anxiety can be seen in their behavior and actions – or in their inaction, in some cases.

Calgary animal behaviorist Rory O’Neill claimed that “[your cat’s] Mental health is not good if it is not stimulated.” Constant meowing, frequent urination, uncontrollable urination and marking in your home are listed as some of the signs to watch out for. Both experts agreed that if you notice any of these Signs It may be time to visit the vet in case your cat is at risk of developing something more serious.

“if [boredom] goes unchecked,” Richter added,[your cat] It can develop medical disorders such as obesity, a major problem in domestic cats’ that can eventually lead to feline diabetes.

So what can you do about it?

Curbing a cat’s boredom before it becomes critical is not a difficult thing to do. One of the easiest and most fun things a landlord can do is to set aside some time to play.

“You should plan your day so that you play with your cat for at least five or 10 minutes, once or twice a day,” Richter suggested.

A playful Siberian cat enjoying playing on the sofa with its owner.
A playful Siberian cat enjoying playing on the sofa with its owner. (Getty Images)

Playtime allows your cat to expend energy that would otherwise go hunting and hunting, without being unleashed in the wild, endangering birds and other small animals.

There are also a number of cat products and activities designed to entertain and keep your furry friends engaged. But which one is better equipped to save your cat from the brink of boredom?

Tie your cat with a leash

It depends on your cat’s comfort level, Richter said, and O’Neill agreed. Going for a walk outside is a great way to let your cat explore and be stimulated, but this activity certainly isn’t every cat’s cup of tea. Be aware of the risks and do your research. Alternatively, cat backpack carriers are another option, which may be more close to your cat.

Katios

If you have the means to build a safe and functional “catio” – that’s a “cat” as well as a “patio”, by the way – you should consider it. “The katio, if built safely, would be beneficial to just about any cat,” Richter said, “because it expands their world a bit…especially when we’re talking about apartment cats who may not have access to the backyard.” Your cat will benefit from enjoying the outside of your home safely. .

“Fantastic Katios!” O’Neill added. “If anyone can build one, they should.”

food puzzles

This is a fun and easy way to challenge your cat when she can’t find her food. According to Richter, you may have to try a few different food puzzles before finding the right one for your cat – but the effort will pay off.

A cat playing with a cat food puzzle.
A smart and persistent cat playing with the pet puzzle and trying to earn rewards. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Multiple cat homes

O’Neill said, believe it or not, ” Social creatures. “Several cats interacting with each other in your home can create a wonderful environment for everyone.

“I really encourage people to have more than one cat,” said the behavioral expert. But make sure you have the space and resources to support all of your animals.

Music playlists

It may not cure boredom, but soothing, calming music can help cats get rid of their anxiety, according to Richter. She shared that a lot of research has been done on the calming effects of music on humans, so she recommended music to help cats with anxiety as well.

Cat videos and apps

Do cats know that the giant bird on screen is fake? Or is the little moving fish swimming through the tablet not real? Richter suggested trying it with your cats. But she also indicated that they might become frustrated with your furry friend, who can’t physically grab the onscreen thing he’s watching. The same can be said about laser pointers, which can provide a boost of exercise for your cat, until they get angry and separate.

Black and white spotted cat sitting in front of an iPad.
(Photo by Kanashi on Unsplash)

With lively playtime, challenging food puzzles, and other activities that mimic their natural behaviors, you can easily engage and stimulate your cat a little more. I know that the next time I see my little one so eager to play, I’ll make him feel so excited. Work can wait a few more minutes.

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