Is My Indoor Cat is Bored?

Cats can happily live indoors but sometimes we may not be able to do enough to keep them entertained at home. Bored cats are generally not a good time be around. It can also be very upsetting knwoing that an animal in your care is unhappy with the life you are providing them. Cats can develop behavioural problems, depression, and stop interacting with you. Being constantly bored means that your indoor cat will have a poorer quality of life. This can still be possible if you have created interesting spaces for your cat and play with them regularly.

12 ways to tell if your indoor cat is bored

Cats are known for their relaxed attitude to life. The average cat will spend 15 hours a day sleeping. When living at home, it can be difficult to tell if your cat is just lazing about or if they are bored. There are lots of behaviours and habits that your cat may show which you could chalk up to being bored. They can also be symptoms of other more serious medical conditions or just quirks of your cat. If your cat is behaving oddly, its always best to have a vet  

Constant meowing for attention

Cats learn to meow as kittens to communicate with their mothers. Usually, meowing is a demand for food or the attention of their moms. As they grow up, they redirect these meows to humans. An occasional meow may just be a greeting but if your cat constantly meows or meows at night, it could be a sign that they are asking for attention and play from you because they are bored by themselves.

Deliberately annoying you

Cats can quickly learn how to manipulate us through their own behaviours. If they have realised that a particular action will get your attention, they will see it as a quick and consistent method for some quick fun. They will keep doing this action to get some “play time” with you and they may not even realise what they are doing is bad.

Scratching at the door

Cats are smart enough to know when you are in a room and can scratch at it to get your attention to come out and play with them. It’s a sign that they are starved for attention and want some play or just to even see your face.

Showing interest in going outside

Some indoor cats may even show a lot of interest in the outdoors by scratching at doors or peeking their head outsides. If they are under stimulated at home, a brave or curious indoor cat might see the outdoors as a big source of potential entertainment. This is especially true if there are local animals in the area that have gained their attention.

Attacking you or other cats

Very bored cats will have an excess of pent-up energy and frustration. This energy can be released through redirected aggression at you or other pets in the house. They may also show other aggressive behaviours like swatting, hissing, or showing defensive body language when around others. If you have another cat in the house, fights may become more aggressive with them. Redirected aggression is also commonly caused by unnoticed injuries that are causing your cat pain. You should book a visit to the vet as well as trying to make your cat’s life more fun if they are being aggressive to you for seemingly no reason.

Knocking objects over

Knocking objects off of tables and furniture is a very common problem to have with your cat. It’s also a sign that they are bored and have resorted to finding their own fun. Bored cats will push objects in your house over because its fun to them. They get to play with an object and see it fall over and bounce around or smash. The sound is another form of stimulation, but a big bonus is if it gets you to come up to tell them off as they get to interact with you.  

Chewing on furniture

Bored cats start to destroy property as a way to entertain themselves. This may be something a lot of humans can relate to, you can see it as the cat equivalent to popping bubble wrap. You can’t expect cats to understand how valuable furniture is, or even the concept of value in the first place. Don’t take it too personally if they start tearing apart your carpets or chewing on your sofas. They may just be looking for a way to entertain themselves.

Chewing on plants

Chewing on plants is very normal behavior for cats. If they are doing it excessively, by competely destorying any plants you bring home, it could be a sign of being bored. This is quite frustrating to deal with, we’ve written a previous article about how to protect your plants from your cats here.

Spraying in the house

Boredom can lead to anxiety in indoor cats and feelings off anxiety can lead to spraying. This is when your cat marks places around the house with bits of their urine. They might urinate on your furniture or potted plants. Cats spray indoors to feel more confident about their surroundings, which they may feel like they need to do if they are consistently understimulated.

Over grooming

Another hobby that all cats have is grooming themselves. If they have nothing else to do, a bored cat will start grooming themselves even more than usual as it helps to relieve stress and anxiety. Although a clean cat may seem like a bonus, over grooming can lead to a lot of physical problems for your cat like loss of fur, skin damage, and dry or cracked paws.

 Overeating

Here’s another very relatable bored cat behaviour. If you decide to give your indoor cat unlimited access to food, they may start eating more when they are bored. Under stimulated cats will eat more as just a way to pass the time. As it provides more stimulation and endorphins that doing nothing. As the cause of indoor cats is often a lack of play, its also quite easy for overeating bored cats to quickly put on weight.

They give up on playing with you

If your cat has been bored for a very long time they can become depressed. At this level, cats will show a lack of interest in everything. This means that even though they are bored and need more play, they will begin to be unresponsive to your attention and offers of play.

They show lack of interest in their food

This is very odd behaviour for any cat. A lack of interest in food is a sign that your cat has become very depressed. However, its also a sign of many other medical emergencies. If your cat has suddenly started showing less interest in food you should book a visit to speak to your vet so you can rule out medical causes.

They sleep more than normal

It can be normal for cats to sleep for up to 16 hours a day but bored and depressed cats will sleep even more than this. They have nothing else to do and little interest in interacting with you so they will retreat in to sleep. Cats are naturally most active at sunset and sundown and will normally nap through other parts of the day and night.  

What to do if your indoor cat is bored

The easiest treatment for bored cats is to play with them. Indoor cats are normally recommended to get at least 30 minutes of play with their owners every day in two 15 minute sessions. Younger and more ennergetic cats will need more than this. Interactive play is especially importnat for indoor cats as it is their main form of exercise. Passive play and entertainment is also improtant to keeping your indoor cat happy and away from boredome throghout the day. We go in to much more detail in how to keep indoor cats entertained in this article which you should read if you are still wondering how to give your indoor cat a good life.