Is your cat acting out and being a pain or simply lounging around the house more than usual? Or are they simply being naughty and destructive? These may be signs that your cat is bored and needs more mental or physical stimulation.
Below there are 11 signs your indoor cat is bored along with sleeping too much, being aggressive and acting out generally. However, some of these signs may be due to boredom or other possible causes. Below each one is explained further.
So how do you know if your cat is bored and trying with all his/her might to let you know in the only ways that they can? There are lots of different signs that can indicate if your cat is bored.
How To Tell If Your Indoor Cat is Bored, 11 Signs & Symptoms
1. Your Cat Has a General Lack Of Interest In Activities
If your cat is not showing any signs of interacting with you or wanting to play their normal games they may be bored. They may lounge around and hide under things or not interested in general.
Check first with your vet that there is no medical reason for their lack of interest (especially if they are also hiding) and then if there isn’t and it is boredom try to find ways to make them interact more.
You have to time it right and be patient as if it is naturally sleeping time you will be fighting a losing battle if you are trying to play.
2. Is Your Cat Crying a Lot More Than Usual?
If your cat is crying a lot more than it usually does it may be due to boredom or stress. It may also just mean it wants something and you are not giving it what it wants.
It may also be no more than the fact they can smell your slow cooker meal! Best to check.
3. Are They Pacing Irritated Behaviour?
If your cat is displaying irritated behaviour and is pacing then they could be bored. They will pace up and down and their body language will be one of irritation ie their tail may be swishing from side to side. This may also be combined with naughty destructive behaviour.
They may need more interactions, games and exercise.
4. Are they Being Naughty & Destructive?
If your cat is being naughty and destructive then they are probably bored. This can be shown in doing things they know annoy you. This can be anything from scratching at furniture, attacking the plants, doing things they know they shouldn’t or even destroying things.
Sometimes when they are seeing attention, they will dive bomb you and go for your ankles or bite at you (not usually breaking skin).
Ask yourself the following: How long are they alone? Are they the type of cat that needs company? Is there enough for them to do and see? Are they getting enough exercise?
5. Is Your Cat Over Sleeping?
Cats do sleep a lot naturally and indoor cats will sleep even longer hours. So how much sleep is too much? If your cat is only sleeping and not wanting to do other activities or also has other issues ie with their food then it is a good bet that they are bored.
Note, if your cat displays these symptoms it is best to take them to the vet and get it checked out in case there are other underlying issues.
6. Is your Cat Displaying Antagonistic Scratching?
If your cat is scratching at things that they shouldn’t be even though they have perfectly good scratch posts and cat trees they may be attention seeking. This scratching may be on your sofas, chair backs. Curtains are always a good source of fun. Also, if you have carpeted stairs or a divan bed or even your pillows may not go unpunished by your cat.
7. They Are Not Using The Litter Box
If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box and you find little lumps of poo in unusual places or they pee where they shouldn’t it could very well be boredom.
If you are trying to decide if it is boredom check for other possibilities, ie, if you haven’t cleaned out the litter to their standards or there, is still poop in the litter tray try correcting this first.
Also, make sure your cat is able to get to the tray either physically where it is placed or if your cat cannot for other reasons make it and that it is placed somewhere comfortable for them to toilet without disturbance.
8. Is Your Cat Overgrooming, Licking or Pulling Out Their Fur?
If your cat is constantly grooming itself it may be due to boredom and stress. This is easy to spot as they will become obsessive. They may yank out their fur and eat it and the places where they do this can become thin or bald. Over cleaning themselves by licking is also a sign of boredom or stress.
It is a good idea to get a vet check to make sure it is boredom and not a skin condition.
9. Are They Constantly Crying For Food or Ignoring it?
I’m putting this one in with a caution as I have seen cats who are not in anyway bored but just like to eat do this one. Sometimes it might just be that they don’t want to eat their dried food or they are just bored with the food itself.
However, there is a possibility that your cat is just comfort eating due to boredom. Boredom can also result in a lack of interest in eating as well.
10 Are They Picking Fights?
If your cat is deliberately aggravating other family pets and picking fights with them and they don’t normally do this. This can be a sign that your cat is bored and needs an outlet. This also may be about pent-up energy needing to be released.
11. Are They Copying You?
If you are low or depressed your cat may be picking up on that and acting accordingly. Also if you are depressed there is a good chance you are not doing anything much and your cat is getting into your new routine or you are not picking up on their needs.
Words of Warning
I think there is a very real danger here of misdiagnosing what is wrong with your cat with some of these as they can also mean other things as well if you combine them with other symptoms.
It could mean that they are ill, in which case you need to see your vet.
However, it could also be a breed trait. Eg some breeds are very vocal and do cry a lot.
It’s all about knowing and reading your cat and its behaviour. This is not always easy.
In addition, cats are really smart creatures they will manipulate the situation, if they show a behaviour and it gets a response either good or bad from you they will know to do the same next time and before you know it you are in a cause reaction loop with your cat.