6 Tips to Excite Your Bored Cat and Relieve Cabin Fever | Lola The Rescued Cat
Wednesday, October 14, 2020

6 Tips to Excite Your Bored Cat and Relieve Cabin Fever

Welcome to the second post in our new series, Enriching Your Cat’s Life. Today we're going to discuss ways to excite your bored cat.

Cats playing with the Cat Amazing Puzzle Feeder

Many people wonder if their cat can get bored. Just like humans, they can become disenchanted with their surroundings. Indoors is definitely the safest place for cats, but the same old thing day in and day out can cause them to become lethargic and disinterested. “Cats are not meant to be bored,” says Certified Cat Behavior Consultant Marilyn Krieger, also known as The Cat Coach. Krieger continues on to say that cats “are intelligent predators who need activities and toys to stimulate them mentally and physically.” Lack of proper stimulation can lead to a bored cat. 

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Cats have long had the reputation of being aloof and presumably indifferent toward human interaction. For some, cats are the perfect pet because they can be left alone for longer periods of time than dogs, not requiring to be walked on a regular schedule. However, some people incorrectly think that an endless supply of food, water, and a litterbox suffices during prolonged periods of being alone. Despite these stereotypes and misconceptions, cats require different types of stimulation and interaction to keep them active and occupied.

     "Cats are intelligent predators who need activities and toys to stimulate them  mentally and physically.” Marilyn Krieger - The Cat Coach

How do I Know if My Cat is Bored?

Our cats cannot tell us they are bored; unless you speak Meow that is. But there are a few tell-tale signs that indicate your cat could be bored.

  • Overgrooming
  • Overeating
  • Apathy/lack of normal curiosity
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Litter box issues
  • Chasing/fighting with other pets

This list is not all-inclusive, and it is important to know your cat’s normal habits so anything out of the ordinary will stand out to you. That said, the first step a cat parent should take when they observe a change in their cat is to seek out the advice of their veterinarian. After your furry loved one gets an all clear from their doctor, it is time to look at some boredom busting tips to spice up their life.

I have been working from home since mid-March due to COVID-19, so I can relate to cabin fever! Even though I was in the house just about 24/7 when the lock down started, Lola and Lexy were not lavishing in unadulterated attention. I personally had a very difficult time in the beginning, having to transition to running my department from afar, figuring out how to teach remotely for my part-time job, and learning to navigate a new world outside. I was an emotional wreck.

Tips to excite your bored cat

As a result, the girls quickly became bored. How did I know? In the early evening, Lola would make an appearance and I would say “Where have you been all day?” She was sleeping the day away. Little squabbles between them started to increase, and I noticed some litter box stalking. It was time for me to bring peace back to the White house and make my girls happy and and keep them engaged.

Six Tips to Excite Your Bored Cat and Relieve Cabin Fever

1. Provide Window Views

Lola and Lexy love sitting in the window. Luckily, our window sills are wide enough for them to fit comfortably and can accommodate both of them at the same time. Our cat tree is also in front of the window in the living room. 

Tips to excite your bored cat

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You can create your own window perch if your windows have no room for your cat to lounge comfortably. This EZ Mount Window Bed is a comfy bed that attaches to the window. I saw this for the first time at El Gato Cat CafĂ© and their kitties loved it. 

Tips to excite your bored cat

If you have a sliding glass door, you could try something like this

Tips to excite your bored cat

A perch similar to that could even be hung on a kitchen window over a sink to give your cat a different view.

Speaking of different views, I tried to add some variety for Lola and Lexy. I have a window in the bedroom that I rarely open because it leads to the fire escape. Since I’ve been home, I’ve been opening the safety gate and raising the blinds and they absolutely adore the bird TV on the fire escape that they rarely get to see.

Occasionally during the day, I will move the cat tree into the bedroom and place it in front of the other window. Doing this gives the girls a view from a different perspective. (Usually, they sit on the corner of a bookcase near the window to look outside.)

The last two ideas were absolutely free! They only took a little bit of creativity.

2. Bring the Outdoors Inside

A great way to bring some outdoor pleasures to your indoor cat is to get some cat grass. Cats enjoy nibbling on the grass outside and many enjoy having a grass snack available to them at all times. I bought this cat grass kit for the girls to munch on and Lexy loves it. Don’t worry about not having a green thumb; cat grass is very easy to grow. Another cute cat grass planter that is amazingly easy to grow is the Catit Senses Grass Planter.

Black and white cat with cat grass

Another great idea from Pam Johnson-Bennett, cat behavior expert at Cat Behavior Associates, is to bring in some dried leaves during the Fall season.

A bird feeder attached to your window can provide hours of entertainment for your cats. (Note: for your cat’s safety, make sure the window is closed. An excited cat may push through the screen.) This option doesn’t work for us because we live on the third floor and it’s difficult to get the feeders on the window and refill them consistently. To remedy this I put some bird TV on the television to stimulate the girls. Lola loves it! 

Tabby Cat Watching Bird TV

Search Youtube for videos and you will find hundreds of them. And they're all free. (Lola and Lexy also enjoy squirrel videos.)

3. Toys, Toys, Toys!

When cats play with toys they are satisfying their genetic urge to stalk, bite, and kill. Not all toys are created equal – in a cat’s opinion. Some cats, like Lola, enjoy stalking ground prey. The Jackson Galaxy Ground Prey Wand is one of her favorites. Lexy loves chasing things that fly through the air and loves her air wand. You can also make your own DIY wand toy that your cat may love. 

Tabby Cat with Jackson Galaxy Ground Prey Wand

Lola and Lexy have quite a collection of small toys. Rather than always leaving them piled up in a basket (which to a cat is just a pile of dead prey), I take some out and spread them around the house. Lexy has certain toys she enjoys bringing me at night, and I make sure those are out for her.

Here are a few more toy tips:

  • Switch things up by rotating toys. Lexy loves when I bring her tunnel out of the closet when she hasn’t seen it in a while. 

Tips to excite your bored cat

  • Marinate your cat’s toys in some catnip to make them more exciting. There is a product called a catnip marinator, but a jar with a lid will work just as well. 
  • Did you get an Amazon or Chewy.com delivery? Give your cat a new kitty fort and something exciting to explore by leaving the box out.
  • Think twice before you toss a piece of paper in the trash. Instead, crinkle it up into a ball and toss it on the floor. Your cat will love batting it around.
  • If you made a Trader Joe’s run, don’t recycle the paper bag right away. Cut off the handles and throw it on the floor so your cat can have a fun hideaway. Want to make it even more fun? Dangle a wand toy in front of the opening when they’re inside.
  • Sprinkle some catnip around the house. 
  • Play with your cat! Interactive play is important for cats for many reasons, such as human-feline bonding and exercise. Schedule at least 15 minutes a day for playtime. I bet it will be a great stress buster for you as well. 
  • Toys don’t have to be expensive. Here are some great ideas for more DIY cat toys, that include using toilet paper rolls.

4. Go Vertical

A cat’s love and need for vertical space are deep-rooted in their DNA. It goes back to when they were jungle cats, climbing trees for safety from predators, and to be the predator, scoping out their next meal. Cats feel secure when they are in their vertical territory watching what’s going on below.

Cat shelves are a decorative and fun way to add vertical space to your home. But if like me, you live in a rental and aren’t able to install cat shelves on your walls, you can still give your cat the “high” they need.

Utilize what you already have in your home. Bookshelves, dressers, entertainment centers, cabinets, even the refrigerator can be made into safe vertical territories for your cats. Lola just loves the top of my curio cabinet.

Tips to excite your bored cat

Since I can’t install a “superhighway” on the walls, I created my own for her. This new cabinet is a little higher than my old one and it takes a little more effort to jump up on it. I placed this cool Petique Meow House next to it so she can get up easier. I also placed sisal remnants on the cabinet to prevent both of them from sliding into home base when they jump up, which also double as an extra scratching surface!

Tabby cat on sisal remnant

In the kitchen, I have a small cabinet between the kitchen table and the refrigerator. I removed my air fryer that I stored on top of the fridge as well as a basket I had on the cabinet, and now  Lola has a safe passageway all the way from the window to the top of the fridge. I don’t have to worry about her getting a leg stuck in the basket on her way up, or about her jumping down to the floor from the top of the refrigerator. She’s a happy cat!

5. Proper Scratching Surfaces

You may not think scratching can excite your cat, but a lack of appropriate scratching surfaces can result in stress. 

Scratching is an instinctual behavior for cats. They scratch to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, to mark their territory, and to stretch their bodies and flex their claws and paws. It is vital for their physical health, mental well-being, and provides an emotional release.

Some cats are horizontal scratchers (Lola) and some like a good vertical stretch (Lexy.) Some prefer sisal while others prefer cardboard or carpet. Once you know what your cat likes, place the scratchers around the house in different areas.

Lola prefers to scratch on cardboard and loves our Jackson Galaxy Constellation Scratcher. I hadn’t noticed that the outer portion of our scratcher was pretty worn out. Luckily for us, there was an easy fix. All I had to do was remove the outer portion and Lola had a brand new scratcher! 

cats with Jackson Galaxy Constellation Scratcher

Lexy prefers a tall scratcher so she can get a good stretch. I always make sure I have one of each type in the living room, and I have an extra cardboard scratcher in the bedroom.

6. Puzzle Feeders

Give your cat a mental workout by letting them hunt for their food using puzzle feeders. Lola and Lexy really enjoy their Cat Amazing Treat Maze.

Here are seven DIY puzzle feeders for your cat that you can make with things you have lying around the house such as egg cartons and water bottles.


These are just a few ideas you can put in place to prevent your cat from getting bored. Adding some fun activities and providing some enriching items doesn’t have to be expensive. It can even be done for free with a little bit of creativity like leaving an empty box out or by just switching some things you have at home around. Your cat will be happier, and so will you.

Check back soon for the next installment in this series where we'll be discussing budget-friendly enrichment ideas.  In the meantime, you can catch up on our first post in this series, A Cat Friendly Home - Make Your Cat Happy in Five Easy Steps 

What are your ideas to bring excitement to your cat's life?

Would you like to comment?

  1. Those are great tips! We count ourselves lucky as we have our cat run to keep us entertained!

    Tama and Genji

  2. Those all look like fun! We'd be lost without our window views!

  3. All wonderful ideas and we are so lucky to have a yard that is fenced and safe.

  4. This is a pawsome article! Lots of great ideas to keep us entertained, and away from hissy fits. Momma is taking notes. We just moved to a new house and frankly, it's not been Catified at all. Thanks for the great ideas, Miz Dawn!

  5. Those are great ideas. I am lucky that Ivor put up a very high fence all the way around our garden and the boys could safely go outdoors whenever they wanted to, as well as their walks around the fields with me.

  6. Excellent tips! No cat would be bored with any of these.

  7. Great tips. We do all those things except for the puzzle feeder.

  8. One thing my human has noticed too, is that bored cats get into LOTS of trouble! At least that's the experience she has had! Great suggestions!

  9. Great post with lots of fun ideas. My Rosie loves to watch youtube videos of a red string- she prefers it to bird tv. :) XO

  10. Great ideas, you guys! We have a big sliding door to the backyard. Gracie and Ava both love watching the wildlife out there. And the laser and wand toys are also big hits. And the ping pond ball for Ava!

  11. Love the tips. I learned about feline boredom the hard way with Bear. If cats aren't stimulated, they'll make their own fun ... most likely in a way we won't appreciate!

  12. As always, great tips! My cats are constantly looking out the window. Even with the catio available to them, sometimes they prefer to just sit inside staring out the window.

  13. I love all my windows to Girls. You two and your mom made my mom's and my day brighter.

  14. Pawsome ideas! Mudpie loves her window views too, and while we don't have cat trees and shelves, she has a staircase of bookshelves to climb on.

  15. What a great bunch of tips! I pretty much sleep all day (I am an older gal, says dad), but reading this lead to dad clicking on other links to read about other cat stuff. He's been wanting to build me a perch for our windows since we don't have sliders to a deck anymore, and he's gonna try the cheap, easy puzzle feeders. Great work, y'all.

  16. Thanks for all these tips. We LOVE our window views - We are high up and often, we can see birdies flying past right in front of Us, but We can't catch them, which is furry annoying!
    We also like lofty perches - the kitchen cabinets are great for snoopervising effurrything that happens in the kitchen and living room!


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