The Catification Lady: Stop The Boredom!
Posted by Kathie, the Catification Lady on 10/1/2013 to The Catification Lady
The Vertical Cat - The Catification Lady blogOne crazy cat lady explores the depths of Cat Behavior, Catification, and Environment Enrichment.

Part 1 of 2

Your love affair with your cat can be a bumpy one, from litter box problems to scratching up the furniture. If the two (three, four, or more) of you are not living happily ever after, it could just be that your cat is bored.

The Vertical CatLike people, cats deserve to have an interesting life. When a cat gets bored she can start to develop behaviors that we as humans don't want. Boredom can lead to a cat becoming neurotic, depressed, anxious, destructive, fat, sick or aggressive. And it can certainly lead to her trying to amuse herself sometimes at the expense of your sofa.

Cats are pretty smart creatures and they are stuck within the four walls of your home for what will hopefully be the rest of their life. Your home is their forever home. As their guardians we need to make sure that their minds and bodies are engaged. If not, remember the English proverb... “An idle mind is the Devil's workshop.”

Well, your little devil has the ability to cook up plenty of trouble if she gets bored enough. So what to do?

Think about your cat's day. Cats sleep a lot, but when she's not sleeping, what's she doing? Now consider how you can make her life more interesting. Yes, you can and should pet her and cuddle her if she's willing, but there's so many other ways to relieve her boredom level. Here's some thoughts on keeping your cat's mind engaged and body active:

1. Many cats engage in self play to keep themselves amused such as batting a small toy ball or knocking a paper clip or pen off the table to watch it fall. But that's really not enough all by itself to keep a kitty healthy and happy. However, try leaving a toy dangling somewhere the cat may pass and see if the kitty shows any interest. If so, dangle different toys over time and put them in different spots to see what kitty shows an interest in. Then switch it up occasionally to keep things interesting.

The Vertical Cat2. Cat's love to watch “Kitty TV”, aka looking out the window. If it's a nice day, open the screened windows and doors to let some of the outside in. Make sure she has a perch of some sort near a window, even if it's just the back of the sofa or a chair that's pulled up temporarily. The little hunter in her will appreciate the excitement of watching a bird or squirrel, or just watching a leaf blow by. If you have multiple cats, have multiple perches and windows that are set up for prime time kitty TV watching. Keep the shades up or the curtains pulled back enough so they can see out.

3. It's Play Time! Most cats love to play and I don't have to be psychic to know that you're probably not playing with your kitty enough. Cats love string toys and it's actually important for their health that they are allowed to embrace their hunting nature. They are predators and stalking and killing that string toy gives them both the mental and physical exercise they need. Most cats would be thrilled if you played with them multiple times a day, but try for at least two 10 minute play sessions. After play, try giving your kitty a treat. And if you make the last play session right before meal time, this can help satisfy the hunt-kill-eat programming they have built into them. They'll also likely groom and relax when you're trying to get to bed.

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4. Switch out toys. If you've noticed that your cat isn't as enthusiastic at playtime as she used to be, try switching out toys every couple of weeks. Try a string toy, a laser pointer (being careful not to point into the cat's eyes), or even a tin foil ball you made yourself. If you retire one toy and bring out a previous favorite, your cat may show new enthusiasm for the toy that's been brought back out.

5. Create a food puzzle. Food puzzles are an especially good way to keep your cat entertained and satisfied with minimal effort on your end. You can leave a food puzzle for them when you head out for your day of work and, assuming your cat is food motivated and the food in the puzzle is appealing to them, they'll happily go at it to fish the food out. You can buy food puzzles at pet stores, on the internet or you can make your own. Take a cardboard toilet paper roll, close off the ends by pressing them in and poke some holes in the roll big enough to put food in, but small enough the treats won't fall out easily. Then roll your new food toy on the ground and let the cat have at it. If you have multiple cats, you may want to put down multiple puzzles. You can even prepare these the night before and put them in the frig, so they're ready for you when you're running out the door to get to work.

6. The big drip! While most cats don't like getting a bath, many are fascinated by a slow dripping sink. No, you probably don't want your cat on your kitchen counters, but the bathroom might be an acceptable option, especially if you cat likes to follow you in there. Ease on the cold water knob so the water drips and see if your cat likes to play with the water or drink it. But make sure not to leave it on. A few minutes is usually more than enough to give your kitty a treat and a drink.

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7. The best toy ever. Your cat's probably informed you of this already, but in case you've been holding out ... CATS LOVE BOXES and PAPER BAGS. When you get something delivered, let your cat have her way with the box. And once and a while, ask for paper bags instead of plastic. You can always throw away the box or bag when the cats have had their fun.

Check back in a couple days for a bunch MORE boredom eliminating tips in part two of this article called “Stop the Boredom, The Sequel!”

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 The Catification Lady: Think Like a Cat, The Sequel
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 The Catification Lady: Designing Your Cat Superhighway – Create Paper Shelves
 The Catification Lady: Stop the Boredom, The Sequel!
 The Catification Lady: Stop The Boredom!
 The Catification Lady: Designing Your Cat Superhighway – Think Like a Cat
 The Catification Lady: The Best Cat Advice

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