Generally speaking, cats aren’t riding along to a friend or family member’s house, going for walks in the park, going camping, or joining in on the other plethora of activities dogs do with their humans. As a curious cat owner, you probably find yourself asking do cats get bored?
Just how are you supposed to keep an indoor cat stimulated and entertained all day, especially while you’re away from home?
So, do cats get bored?
Cats that are kept indoors all the time without any type of stimulation can indeed get bored. Wild cats spend their waking hours stalking and hunting their prey. Since domestic cats don’t have any actual need to hunt for food, they have a lot of extra down time.
Signs your cat is bored:
- Excessive grooming, licking, or biting
- Constantly eating
- Super lazy – most cats have a period or two of time each day that they’re active, if you notice your cat isn’t active (at all, ever) it’s possible it’s because they don’t have enough stimulation
- Destructive behavior – climbing curtains, destroying rolls of toilet paper, carpet, pouncing and knocking things off shelves, etc.
- Fighting with other household pets
However these signs are widely variable and can also be indicators of other problems, so if you see behavior that really concerns you it’s always best to get them checked out by a veterinarian.
But if you’ve ruled out any medical concerns and have concluded that your cat is just very bored, there’s no need to stress. There are so many super easy, effortless, and completely free ways to keep your cat stimulated and entertained.
Activities to keep indoor cats entertained
Try a bubble machine
If you want a super fun way to keep your cat entertained, blow them some bubbles! I purchased a small battery operated bubble machine for my daughter’s 4th birthday and I think my cat loved it just as much as she did!
Of course you don’t need a machine for this, the good old fashioned bubble wand can also do the trick. But if you want a fun hands-free way of entertaining a cat, a bubble machine is surprisingly effective.
If your cat doesn’t go outdoors, you can still play with bubbles inside. Just make sure to set it up in a safe zone away from any valuables. You’ll want to be able to easily wash everything the bubbles land on!
Create a nice viewing area for your cats to look outside
If you have any windows in your home that have a nice view, create a cozy space for your cat to lay and watch from. Open the curtains or blinds, let the sun shine in and let your cat relax and enjoy the show.
If you’re able to actually open the window so your cat can sit in the window ledge and watch, that’s even better. Every time a window is open in my house that has a nice ledge for my cat to sit, you can bet that he’s claiming the territory!
They love feeling and sniffing the fresh air. If they can’t actually be outdoors, it’s the next best thing. Keeping a window open isn’t practical in all weather conditions or locations, but it’s great if you’re able to.
They also have these cat window perches if you don’t have a great spot for your cat to sit next to the window. I don’t have one but I know my cat would totally LIVE ON IT if he did.
Make the view even better with birdfeeders!
My mother has the ultimate birder friendly backyard, with plenty of feeders and food for the birds. I have memories from when I was a child of our 3 cats at the time all laying by the window together, diligently watching the birds, their tails wagging back and forth.
They did this ALL THE TIME – it was definitely the favorite activity. My mom would say they were watching natures TV screen.
If you don’t have a nice bird feeder set-up, even just adding one or two can help provide more steady and enriching entertainment. You can even DIY simple birdfeeders from materials you probably already have around the house to save money.
Bird baths and bird houses are additional ways to attract them as well. And if you get humming birds, try a humming bird feeder too!
Easy tip: to make things even more simplistic, you can alternatively just scatter some bird seed on the ground outside your home and it will still attract certain birds and definitely squirrels and other small critters!
Tune in to some cat TV channels
If you don’t have a good spot for your cats to enjoy a natural view, there are plenty of videos online you can tune in to give them some alternative entertainment. These can be great for cat owners who live in apartments or large cities without any great or easy view of the outside world.
Just search YouTube for “TV for cats” and you’ll have endless amounts of choices. They have videos of birds, squirrels, fish, mice – you name it! These are quite commonly several hours long (8+), so you can easily leave it on for them all day while you go to work or run errands.
They often include calming music that’s supposed to make your cat feel relaxed, so it may help those that have cats prone to anxiety.
Leave out boxes and/or bags for them to explore
Cats have tons of fun exploring boxes or paper bags, so even just doing something as simple as leaving a few out for them to play with can provide them with a lot of extra stimulation.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met a cat who doesn’t take an interest in boxes. Trust me, it’s wholesome entertainment for you and your family as well!
And the great thing is this is totally free – there’s no requirement to buy an expensive cat toy for this activity. You’ll suddenly have a use for all those extra boxes you’ve been accumulating!
Get some cat tunnels, caves, or pup tents
Cats are super curious and they just love stuff like this. They also love the safe feeling that being in an enclosed space provides, so it can help reduce anxiety and stress as well.
If you want to turn it into a game, you can place cat treats inside for them to hunt!
Give them a comfortable high spot
Most cats also enjoy being able to be up high and keep an eye on things, it makes them feel safe. It also gives them a great view of the room and can be a source of entertainment. It really does not take much to entertain a cat.
There may be a high spot in your home your cat naturally gravitates too – like on top of the refrigerator, cabinets, bookshelves, or a staircase.
But if you look around and realize your cat doesn’t have any spot to really be up high, you should consider getting them a piece of cat furniture like a cat tree or cat wall shelves. They really will appreciate it!
Grow cat grass
Many cats love snacking on cat grasses, which can easily be grown at home. If you notice your cat taking a particular interest in plants or grass, this is a great alternative. It’s a pretty healthy activity to help cure cat boredom!
Common cat grasses include wheatgrass, oat grass, rye grass and barley. These aren’t always sold under the cat grass label, but any of them would work. Sometimes you can find “cat grass” seeds that are a mixture of all or a few of these.
You may need to experiment to see which one your feline prefers (if any).
Plus, there are a ton of health benefits to cat grass AND it can help keep them away from more dangerous plants you may have around.
Give them some catnip (or silvervine)
Catnip acts like a drug in cats and gives them a that high, euphoric feeling. This is a super easy way to make your cat feel happy and have some extra fun.
Try sprinkling it around their favorite areas or in boxes, caves, or their scratching post. If you don’t want the little dried flakes around your home, you can put it inside cat toys or those cardboard cat scratching boxes instead.
Alternatively you can find catnip spray, which also works but doesn’t have the same longevity as actual catnip.
Just keep in mind that many cats won’t react to catnip though (they found that it’s genetic), so if that’s the case, you can always try out silvervine or a catnip/silvervine combination. Silvervine is even stronger than catnip!
Simple cat toys
There are so many toys for cats, but sometimes even the simplest of things can keep cats super entertained for hours. Any toy that stimulates the hunt is a winner for my cat. These cat nip mice are his favorite and they’re incredibly inexpensive.
The only problem is they’re constantly getting lost underneath furniture, so either invest in some underneath furniture blockers or be willing to constantly fetch them from underneath couches and chairs.
Check out: Best Interactive Cat Toys for Indoor Cats
Cats also love playing with wadded up paper or aluminum foil, or anything they can bat around on the floor. My cat even enjoys playing with hair ties, game pieces, or my daughters Barbie accessories when he can find them. But try to keep the super small items picked up because cats can choke on them.
Tip: try switching up your cats toys from time to time and introducing new ones into the mix. This can help prevent them from getting bored with their toys, just like a little kid!
Entertaining a cat is really simple!
There are so many super easy and simple ways you can keep your cat amused and stimulated at home, without the need to spend a lot of extra money if you don’t want to.
What other interesting and silly ways does your cat keep entertained? Let us know in the comments!