Sometimes I hear friends of my humans complaining about how their cats are behaving in ways that bother them. They go on long and loud about their kitty being jealous, being aggressive, territorial or vying for attention… but it never occurs to them that my fellow feline may simply be bored.
As a rule, if we cats don’t have enough physical and/or mental stimuli, we get bored. This may be either because we spend long hours by ourselves without any other animals around with which to interact or because our environment has nothing stimulating to offer, such as toys, objects to climb on and other mental challenges.
You want to know whether your dear kitty is bored? Well, here are some of the signs we show if we don’t have anything at hand that we find interesting:
- We overdo grooming ourselves. We can even go so far as to lick ourselves to the point of licking away layers of skin or biting ourselves, meaning we have bald patches or irritated skin.
- We attack and fight with the other animals in the home. If you see us cornering the family dog, chasing the other family cats or harassing any other pet you may have, it is clear that we don’t have enough stimulating things to keep us entertained.
- We mercilessly pounce on your hands, wrists or ankles. If we get bored, besides attacking the other animals in the home, we will have no bones about going after you… especially if we’re the only pets in the home.
- We stay inactive. Yes, we usually spend some 15 hours a day sleeping, but if you find that we’re not moving around for much longer or that we only move around to go eat and to visit the litterbox, it’s because we feel frustrated and bored.
- We feel sad and dejected. If you find that we only get up off the sofa to listlessly wander around the house without sniffing anything in particular and without paying attention to the food, and you know for certain that we’re not sick, it could be that we don’t have enough of the physically or mentally-stimulating things we need.
- We seek out our own stimulating activities in the wrong places. If you find us using anything to entertain ourselves, like the toilet paper roll, your beautiful curtains or those towels you love so dearly, it’s not that we’re interested in destroying the house.
- We overeat. Just like you humans, if we feel bored, we’ll go looking for food and drink much more often than usual.
- We meow a lot. Meowing too much doesn’t always mean that we don’t have anything to do, but if other reasons are ruled out, then we´re most likely tremendously bored!
So now you know, give us some new toys to play with once in a while and pay attention to us a couple of hours a day to keep us happy and contented. Meow! And that’s that!