Although most of us think of cats as domesticated pets, the truth is that these animals need to fulfill certain instinctive tendencies. We’re talking about their propensity to be physically active all the time. So, when your cat is forced to endure indoor life for an extended period, it means that they are less likely to fulfill some of their inherent needs. So, you may be asking yourself “How do I keep my indoor cat entertained?” especially if you notice that your cat is bored.
What happens if your cat isn’t getting what it wants? For the most part, it leads to boredom; in some scenarios, it can result in stress. Cats, much like dogs and other pets that are constrained in an indoor setting, will react to boredom and anxiety in different ways. One cat may choose to hide and embrace a sedentary life, while another will wreak havoc to the property by urinating just about anywhere.
When you notice these behaviors, it is a telltale sign that something must be done – an intervention to address the animal’s changing behavior. As a responsible pet owner, you acknowledge that the best solution is to give the cat access to the outdoors. After all, the reason why it is misbehaving is that it is finding ways to cope up with the lack of natural activities like hunting, running, and climbing.
But for whatever reason, you can’t have your cat play outside at the moment. So, letting it out is no longer an option for now. But it doesn’t mean you have no other recourse to keep your indoor cat entertained. There is a bevy of things you can do about it.
The Dangers of Cat Inactivity
Like humans, cats need time to chill and breathe some fresh air from the outside. But more importantly, the outdoors provides them with an abundant source of physical activity. When the cat has no access to the outdoors for some reason, it leads to inactivity. Indoor cats with minimal movement are prone to weight gain since they have limited opportunities to climb trees, run on open fields, and hunt prey.
One of the apparent dangers of cat inactivity is that of obesity. When cats don’t exercise, they tend to eat more than usual, which in turn leads to the development of diseases like diabetes. Inactivity has a direct correlation with boredom.
Is Your Cat Bored? Figuring Out the Signs
You’re wrong to think that boredom is exclusive to humans. Cats are like us in many ways, and they get bored and stressed out just like us. You know that your feline is bored when you notice these things:
1 – It Spends Most Of Its Time Sleeping
A cat that likes to sleep a lot is a telltale sign of boredom caused by an under stimulating environment. While these pets will sleep an average of 15 hours a day, it does so when it is part of a routine that includes hunting, playing, grooming, eating, and other physical activities. But when it is devoid of those physical activities, it has nothing else to do but sleep.
2 – Your Cat Overeats
I know a lot of people who turn to food when they’re bored, and cats are no different. You may like the thought of leaving a big bowl of cat food for your feline to munch for the whole day, but know that you’re not doing any favor to the animal when it is confined indoors with little to no physical activity. When it’s bored, it resorts to overeating.
3 – The Animal Wreaks Havoc On Your Home
While dogs tend to bite and chew on anything they can find when they’re bored, cats prefer scratching. While scratching is part of a feline’s instincts, it could get worse when it doesn’t have anything to do. Being bored usually corresponds to bad behavior, and scratching is one of those behaviors.
Righting the Wrong: How Do I Keep My Indoor Cat Entertained?
Fortunately, there are many distinctive and interactive ways to correct your cat’s worsening behavior as caused by boredom and lack of activity. Let’s through some of these ways below:
Videos For Cats
There exist numerous studies that point to the benefits of television and videos for indoor cats. It is said that felines that don’t have access to the outdoors and windows are likely to benefit from motion pictures as a form of enrichment. Videos that showcase their natural prey like fish, birds, and rodents can help in stimulation since it naturally attracts them.
Furthermore, a bored cat also benefits from videos because it stimulates their brains and keeps their blood flowing. There is no truth to cats’ eyes getting hurt after watching too much TV! Just be sure to provide supervision when letting your cat watch some videos because it is instinctive for them to interact, not knowing that those birds and fish aren’t real. The last thing you want is to see a broken flat-screen TV.
You can’t give your cat just any toy and assume that it’ll enjoy it. In reality, cats will never appreciate or pay attention to ordinary toys as it won’t cure their boredom. An indoor cat needs something that it can interact with, and this means you must put in the money to buy an interactive toy instead.
Interactive toys are widely available for purchase over the web, and they come in different designs and mechanisms. Although they aren’t a permanent solution to your cat’s boredom and stress, it can at least keep the animal entertained for a couple of hours or so. Some of the sensible interactive toy options include an electronic bird sound toy, laser toy, interactive toy and food dispenser, and many others.
Many cat owners undermine the value of a scratch post, and they’re quite mistaken. A cat scratching post is an indispensable accessory for an indoor cat with no access to the outside world. It doesn’t only provide an alternative scratching area to prevent the feline from getting to the furniture; it is also a useful source of entertainment. It is an active redirection of the feline’s instinctive tendencies of scratching different surfaces. It gives the cat an outlet for its built-up energy and prevents damage to your furniture at home.
Meanwhile, keeping your indoor cat entertained isn’t just about interactive toys and videos. You know by now that cats are territorial by nature. But what you probably are unaware of is that they like marking vertical territories. They choose to go to higher places because of this – they want to have an overlooking view of their surroundings. It is why they tend to spend a lot of time on trees when they’re outside.
The purpose of a cat tower is to give your cat the perfect alternative to a tree. Even if you have a confined living space, the tower doesn’t require a ton of it. The cat tower or tree serves as an added stimulation since felines love climbing, looking over, and spying on other pets and people below them. Moreover, the cat tower is also useful in minimizing the destructive behavior of the feline since it can double as a scratching post. There are instances when the animal forgets about scratching when it finds comfort on top of the tower.
A puzzle feeder is like a brain exercise for the cat. It keeps the animal busy and entertained for hours because it needs to figure out how to get the food out of the toy. The cat knows that the only way for it to munch on the food is if it succeeds in removing it from the puzzle toy.
I’ve been using a cat puzzle feeder for years now, and I can attest on its effectiveness in keeping the cat motivated. The best thing about it is that it corresponds to a reward, which means that a feline does everything it can to get it. It also discourages overheating since puzzle feeders dispense food in small amounts. So, if you have a diabetic or obese cat, this one should do more than just entertain.
Don’t just sit around after you give your feline all sorts of entertainment alternatives and toys. Even with interactive toys, cat towers, scratching posts, and puzzle feeders – your indoor cat deserves the best entertainment in the form of playtime with you. While you don’t need to do it all day long, you should spare five to ten minutes of play sessions every day with your cat. It isn’t merely about entertainment; doing so improves your cat’s degree of intellectual stimulation as well as physical activity.
There are no strict rules or set of guidelines on when finding the answer to the questions”How to how do I keep my indoor cat entertained?”. The key is spending quality time with your feline so that it won’t feel bored, neglected, and stressed out. You can start with obedience training and move on to teaching the animal some tricks. Trust me; it’ll be fun. Be reminded that the lack of stimulation, physical activity, and entertainment could lead to serious health implications.