While cats have a reputation for being more of an apathetic roommate than a BFF, your cat has a pretty rich internal life and a deep bond with their human. Just look at all those times your cat lays on your laptop--only when you're working, of course.
The trouble is that the domestic life removes a lot of your cat's natural stimulation--hunting, climbing, investigating, prowling their territory. Which means that as a good cat parent, you have to give your bored cat something to do.
Here are a few ways that you can bring some fun into your bored cat's day, with a variety of options depending on what your cat loves most.
Feline Mental Stimulation, a.k.a. Cat TV
Your cat may not be a huge Game of Thrones fan, but they certainly like TV. Cat TV, anyway.
The best form of cat TV is to bring them back to nature--by bringing nature indoors, so to speak. Just set up a bird feeder or squirrel feeder outside the window, set up a cozy perch for your cat, et voila: the perfect cat programming, with enough variation to keep your cat amused for hours.
If your living arrangements don't allow for a bird feeder, you can still improvise some cat TV. There are tons of bird videos for cats online, plus some squirrel and mouse videos (depending on what your cat likes best). They'll be entertained for hours, and you'll crack up when they meow and swat the screen.
Room with a View
While humans are afraid of heights, cats are natural climbers. They also love basking in the sunshine.
For the perfect meeting place of both (and a convenient way to keep your cat from knocking down bookshelves) give your cat the gift of a platform bed.
This gives them the best of everything. It's a cozy place to lounge in the sun, and many come with other features for extra stimulation, like carpet pads (the better to keep your cat from clawing your pillows). If you don't have a lot of wall space, or you're worried about a platform sturdy enough for a large cat, you can give your cat a raised platform house, which gives them a better vantage point to lounge without the distance to crash.
This is also a great tool for shy cats--being up high makes many cats feel more secure since they have a better vantage point on predators and prey.
If your cat is a climber, though, there are tons of options that they'll love. And no, you're not limited to the age-old carpet tree.
For cats who believe the higher the perch, the closer to Bastet, a cat shelf or cat perch will become their new favorite thing. These are pieces of furniture that allow your cat to get up high and can include everything from a mounted cat tree to a simple system of steps to a catwalk.
For cats who don't need to scale Everest for entertainment, a cat tree can often do the trick. These can be as tall or short, as simple or complex as you'd like. Shop around cat furniture online, or if you're handy, you can build your own.
Plus, cats are territorial, so if they fall in love with their cat furniture, they're more likely to spend time on their furniture instead of on yours. Translation: less hair and less clawing.
Go For a Walk
If you've got an adventurous cat, let her get her Suki the Adventure Cat on (or her best catwalk strut) and take her outside for a walk. Yes, it is possible to leash train your cat and live to tell the tale.
If you've got a new kitten, you're in luck: most kittens are amenable to leash training if you do it right. That said, you can still leash train an adult cat depending on your cat's interest and their personality.
The ASPCA defines cat personalities in three color categories by playfulness: green, orange, or purple. Green cats are born adventure cats like the kitties living nomad lives on Instagram--these cats adapt well to new situations and are down for any adventure. Orange cats are the personal assistant or the sidekick, a cat who tends to be good company but can still be adventurous. Purple cats are the most reserved, usually cautious and keeping to themselves.
If you opt to leash train, follow the example of Suki the Adventure Cat. Her owners started her out in a harness and leash in the house for ten minutes at a time so she got used to it, rewarding her with praise and treats. Then, as she got comfortable with the leash indoors for longer periods, they started over at ten-minute increments going outside, using the same reward pattern.
Games for Cats
Of course, if you've got a playful kitty, the best way to relieve boredom is to go back to the basics: playtime. Like people and dogs, cats all have their own favorite cat toys and games. The key is to find the right one.
Here are some of the best cat toys for bored cats (even if you've got a Garfield on your hands).
Have you ever met a cat who could ignore a laser pointer?
Seeing that red dot stimulates your cat's prey drive, reinforced by the fact that, unlike a mouse or wand, a laser pointer is impossible to catch. There are even laser pointers that are made for self-play, randomly moving a laser around and switching off after your cat wanders away so that they have plenty of playtime even when you're at work.
That said, if you're going old school with a regular hand-held laser pointer, there are a few ways to shake up the old game with extra rewards, like hiding treats around your room and letting the dot land on them from time to time so your cat is randomly rewarded for catching the dot.
If you've got a cat who embodies "will work for food", they'll be head over heels (er...tail over paws?) in love with a food puzzle toy. Cats who have never played with one before can start out with a simple puzzle toy, while the feline Sherlock Holmes can go to town on advanced interactive puzzles.
That said, if this is your cat's game of choice, work with your vet to make sure your cat stays at a healthy weight with treats that are good for them.
We could give you a fancy toy, but let's get real: sometimes, all your cat wants is the box. If that sounds like your cat, give them a cheap gift that keeps on giving and spring for a cardboard box. Even a paper bag on the floor is enough to entertain some cats. It's even better if you have two or more cats--one sits in the bag, the other bats at them. Everybody wins.
Let's Give Your Bored Cat a Fresh Perspective
If you've got a bored cat, they ultimately need one thing: stimulation. And if your cat is bored of their food, it may be time to switch it up.
Our idea is simple: cats deserve food made with the same love and care your mom would put into your favorite meal. After all, they're a member of your family, and you want to shower them with all the love they deserve. It all starts with great food. So if you're looking for a fresh take on cat food that will keep your cat happy, check out our recipes tailor-made for cats of all shapes and sizes.