Help Cats Fight Boredom During the Day

When their people are away, the cats will play. Here are 13 tips to a happy cat at home.

By Debbie Swanson

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Cherry plum flowers
Give cats a place to snuggle up during the day while you're away.
Cats typically deal well with staying home alone, content to groom, daydream or lounge in the sun. But faced with a lengthy stretch of time alone, day after day, a cat could get bored. If your cat fends for himself a lot during the week, work some things into his day to offer some fun.

First, set up some of these cat-friendly areas in your house:  
•    A Lookout Make sure your cat has a comfortable perch near a safely locked window, ideally within sight of a birdfeeder. If you don't have a couch or chair that backs up to his favorite window, install a cat window perch. 

•    Feline Furniture Cat trees, climbing devices or cat condos give cats an outlet for climbing, scratching and curling up.  

•    Scratching Posts Keep your cat's scratching post interesting by moving it to different areas in the house, or by picking up different styles of cat posts and alternating between the two.

•    A Garden Plant cat-safe grass or catnip in a shallow pan and leave it in a sunny, cat-friendly corner. Occasionally, add a rock or stick from the outdoors to let your cat experience different smells.

•    A Place to Snuggle Keep your cat's favorite resting area clean and with seasonally-appropriate bedding. Don't forget a plush toy or pillow to let your cat curl up with.

Before you leave for the day, help your cat burn off steam with some interactive play. This will help prevent cats getting bored. Dangle a wand toy, shine a laser or creep a stuffed toy along the floor for your cat to stalk. Conclude with a treat and some cuddling time to help your cat wind down. Then, leave some things to keep him amused:
•    Cat Movie Pop a DVD made for cats into the TV.  

•    Puzzle Toy Put some treats or pieces of dry kibble in a puzzle toy. Keep a few different puzzle toys on hand for your cats, and alternate which one you leave out.

•    Cat Treat Hide a cat treat or two around the house.
 
•    Bag Kitty Leave a large paper shopping bag on the floor for pouncing fun. Toss a ball or squeaky toy inside for your cat, or cut one end off to make a tunnel.

•    Hiding Places Give your cat new hiding spots: drape a blanket over a chair, or tip a sturdy cardboard box on its side.

•    On-Air Entertainment Keep a TV or radio on set to a low volume. The sound may make a cat feel less alone, or drown out distracting sounds from outdoors.

•    Cat Toy Trade-Up Swap around the cat toys you leave out, and make sure they're self-amusing: balls, plush toys, or empty cardboard rolls. Put away human-assisted toys (wands or lasers). 
   
•    New Rooms Alternate your cat's environment occasionally by closing and opening different doors of your house. Tidy up and cat-proof your closets for new places to explore.

Finally, see if you can arrange for a visitor to join your cat if your cat frequently faces long days alone — a cat sitter or responsible teenager can stop over for playtime and affection. The above tips can also help ease to boredom. Of course, if you worry that your cat spends too much time alone, explore the idea of getting a second cat!  
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Reader Comments

Tami    Gardena, CA

11/22/2012 2:20:19 AM

Answer for Stacey about the blue whale pet bed. Search on Nano pet bed. They have a bunch of really cute designs. They're expensive, because of the "nanotechnology". I'm trying to decide which one to get for my girl!

Kimberly    Indianapolis, IN

11/21/2012 7:22:31 PM

I loved the ideas to keep a cat entertained. I do have two cats but we will be moving into an apartment so I think these tips will also help.

Bill    Lexington, KY

11/21/2012 2:01:09 PM

This was an excellent article. I do have one additional suggestion: Cats with An Altitude Crafts makes a cat window patio that fits in the window like an air conditioner, and has three pet-safe screen sides to allow your cat to feel the breeze, sniff the air, and watch all the nature and goings on outside--all without any risk to your pet's comfort or safety. You can find the Kitty Peeper product line here: LINK

monica    san-diego, CA

9/17/2011 1:18:43 AM

It just happened that I left one of the BR open for them to expirance new territories ,unfortunatly I don't know which one{I have 2 males and one female}mareked some spots ,
I wish I know who was the CRIMINAL , just joking , !

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