7 Signs Your Indoor Cat Is Bored With Life

When it comes to attention-grubbing, dogs are the clear winners. They have to be petted, talked to, walked and allowed to interact with doggie friends in order to remain in a positive state of mind.

This is only one of many ways they’re completely opposite from cats.

As cat owners, we’ve all said ”I love my cats because they amuse themselves” or “Cats are so much more independent than dogs. They could care less if I pay attention to them.”

Don’t allow your cat’s autonomous nature to make you blind to their subtle needs, however. Cat’s DO need attention, and more importantly, stimulation. Without it, they become restless, depressed and even self-destructive.

Read on to discover some of the not-so-obvious signs your kitty is bored with life, as well as easy ways to keep them active and engaged, even when you’re not home!

Close up of pure breed cat at pet show

1. Overgrooming

You know how you bite your nails when your’e bored? Or maybe you twirl your hair or tap your foot on the ground. Cats also perform repetitive behaviors when they’re bored, like repeatedly licking themselves, pulling out their fur or even chewing/biting at their skin. This results in irritation that perpetuates the behavior. If you’ve noticed more fur clumps on the carpet than normal, boredom could be the culprit.

2. Picking Fights

Does your cat normally get along with the dog and/or other cats, but suddenly seem to be at odds with everyone? This “I’m gonna annoy you just for fun” tactic is a classic sign of understimulation. They’re looking for somewhere to expel pent up energy, and Fido is it!

3. Lack Of Interest

This one’s difficult because cats naturally spend a LOT of time lying around and ignoring the general population. When this apathy includes disinterest in food or an unwillingness to come out from under the bed for 24 hours or more, it’s a sign that kitty isn’t getting enough activity or mental stimulation.

4. Being Naughty

“Bored cats sometimes create their own entertainment—such as playing with toilet paper rolls, climbing the curtains, or engaging in other unappreciated behaviors,” Marilyn Krieger, certified cat behavior consultant and founder of The Cat Coach, LLC, told Pet 360.

5. Whining For Food

Cats love to eat, but if your cat is asking for food almost immediately after eating, it’s a sign they don’t have much else to look forward to in the day. Just like humans, mindless, boredom-inspired eating in cats is a shortcut to obesity and other health problems.

6. Vengeful Scratching

It’s natural for cats to scratch things, but if you’ve got plenty of scratch posts and boxes around and Fluffy is still going after the couch or doorframe, it’s the sign of a problem. Cats will do this because they know it gets an immediate reaction from you, and it’s that attention they’re actually craving.

7. Not Using The Litter Box

If you’re out of the house for most of the day, every day, you might start to notice that pee and poop is popping up in places other than the litter box. Again, this is your cat’s passive-aggressive way of saying “Hey you, pay more attention to me!”

6111576382_6eb869f936_zImage credit: spilt-milk via Flickr

Want to avoid kitty boredom? Try:

Providing New Toys – Jingle balls and laser pointers are all fine and good, but what your bored cat really needs is a challenge. Puzzle toys that require your cat to work for a treat or other reward are a great way to keep them mentally stimulated.

Setting Up A Bird Feeder – Cats are predators. They’re never happier than when stalking unsuspecting prey. Indoor cats can’t hunt, but setting up a bird feeder outside an easily accessible window is the next best thing. Your cat will spend hours watching the birds and plotting their demise (which, thankfully, won’t ever happen).

Getting A Cat Tower – Cats love climbing, and being able to hang out in elevated spaces makes them feel calm and in control. Take a look at your home; does your cat have ample opportunities for vertical exploration? If not, consider setting up a cat tower that will allow them to get five or six feet of the floor or make it easy for them to get on top of a bookshelf.

Adopting Another Cat – If your cat is an only cat, adopting a “sibling” can sometimes alleviate boredom by providing an instant playmate! Be sure to choose a cat of a similar age, and introduce them to each other slowly, so it doesn’t cause anxiety.

Actively Playing For At Least 10 Minutes A Day – The absolute best thing you can do for a bored cat is simply to play with them. For all their aloofness, cats really do love their human owners and they appreciate it when we pay attention to them. Grab a toy that they can chase, and have a little fun!

Photo Credit: photofarmer


Pat P
Pat Pabout a year ago

I have met, seen and read about far too many people who think that cats don't need much attention, and all they do is sleep. I'll wager that a HUGE percentage of family cats are extremely bored and depressed! Although they are known to take naps during the day, if they are played with for a period of time, have engrossing toys/entertainment, that persists for a long period of time, daily, and have daily exercise sessions, maybe another animal (cat or other) they will NOT sleep their lives away! Of course, they also pick up on your moods, too. I have tested that theory often by comparing cats and days, where I have been more interactive and made certain the cat has been absorbed, he/she does not sleep anywhere near as much.

I only wish more people realized that fact, instead of blaming the cat's long period of inactivity on "normal" behavior--saying all they do is sleep, when, most likely, (if not ill) their behavior is due to boredom and/or depression.

Unfortunately, although I know what would make my present sole cat happier, I am a fairly ill senior who lives alone and does not have the energy or health to provide for the activity that would make Teka happier. Sadly, there aren't very many durable toys that are enriching and fun to entertain/exercise most cats. If some smart creative person designed good long-lasting moving toys, even if somewhat expensive, that kept the majority of cats interested for a long

Camilla V
Camilla Vagaabout a year ago

thanks for the good information

Beth M.
Beth M2 years ago

Good info. Thanks!

Marianna Gamaroff

thank you for sharing

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Rebecca Gouge
Rebecca Gouge2 years ago

Great article. Thanks.

Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ
Sonia M2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Cat L.
Cat H2 years ago

Thanks for sharing!