My cat brother Grayson is known as the bully of our house. When mom is working he chews on the cord of her earbuds and sits on the keyboard.
He also likes to smack and bite her hand as she uses the mouse. Heaven forbid she is using a pen to journal or write anything at all!
When mom tries to tell him no, he huffs or meows at her to voice his complaint. She tells me she understands his frustration he is just bored and is needing something to stimulate his kitty mind.
I know what you are probably thinking, “Ellis, how can a creature that sleeps an average of 15 hours a day get bored?”
Honestly, even the laziest cats still require stimulation even if it is only for a few minutes a day. Because cats get bored and lonely. Even if we try to act indifferent to your presence.
What I don’t understand is with all my brothers and sisters how can he possibly be bored! What am I chopped liver or something? He doesn’t ask me to play very often, of course, that might be because Prince Ellis can kick his furry keester!
My humans are both home all day just about every day, but If you work outside of the home then go to bed shortly after getting home this leaves a lot of time where your kitty may need entertainment. Especially if it is one kitty or a chopped liver household.
Although it manifests in being a bully here there are several things your cat might do to show they are bored or lonely.
Signs of a lonely bored feline:
- Lack of appetite
- Litter box issues
- Sleeping more than normal
- And over-grooming
It is important to make sure that any and all health issues are addressed by your cat’s veterinarian before assuming the issue is behavioral. If their health checks out feel free to try out some of these things to see if you can get them feeling more stimulated.
It is important to have activities to entertain your feline friend that is both interactive with you their human and things that allow them to play solo.
Solo activities are good for when you can’t be home to bond with your pet. Or maybe while you are trying to cook dinner to keep them distracted and off the counter.
Although I am not entirely sure why you all swear we don’t belong in the kitchen! I digress! Here are some things to work out your cats’ frustrations.
Things cats can do while they are alone:
These types of puzzles are great for those that are food motivated. You can put some food and/or treats in the puzzle and your cat only gets them once they have figured out the correct method.
This can have health type benefits as well because it teaches your cat how to eat slower. It helps them work for dinner.
Yes it is a thing. At our house, mom always considers cat TV to be the big picture window or the french doors where we watch the squirrels and birds eat and play. She is old school.
What I mean here by Cat TV is the Youtube cat channel or you can purchase DVDs (are those still a thing is the question) for your cat to watch while you are away.
You could even use them if you are around and just want some peace and quiet! The shows use mice, birds or squirrels to keep the attention of your pet. Although this may take some testing to see if your cat is into it.
My fur sister Ruby loves to watch TV and would get a good time out of this! Fur sure!
Paper bags and Cardboard boxes:
You know we cats prefer the free stuff to play in sometimes more than the expensive things. This is in no way approval to stop buying us the expensive stuff, just a fact.
I am not entirely sure what draws us to boxes and bags but man are they fun! Hiding in them, scooting them around, even eating them as Grayson does.
The possibilities are endless!
Trees are great because they usually have toys built-in. They also include places for lounging and scratching surfaces. Cats love to climb and trees foster that love.
Putting one in a great location like a window area will allow your cats to have hours of entertainment and sunshine as well. If there is a bird feeder within sight that would be purrfect!
Activities with owner interaction:
One way to get this going would be to hide cat treats in places your cat normally goes so they have an opportunity to discover their treats.
Obviously cats aren’t good at directions or playing games like Hot or Cold so you have to make it easy for them.
You can’t just hide them and hope your cat sniffs them out or you might just have some old crusty treats around the house next time you go to spring clean.
You can also create a hunting and foraging game for your cat. It allows them to use some of their predator skills.
You could use some of their toys hidden in places throughout the house that allows them to hunt. Interactive toys like jingle balls are good for this, or maybe mice that squeak.
This one may take a little training but can be a good bonding experience between you and your cat.
Grayson has some squishy glittery type balls that he loves to have thrown down the hall so that he can retrieve them! Cats can toss the ball around on their own but it seems more enjoyable when the human gets involved.
Obviously each of the other suggestions involves toys of some sort but there are some toys that just don’t work without you the pet parent! We all have more fun when we play together!
Laser pointers and Fish or Feather teasers are a couple of good suggestions for playing with your cat.
Feather teasers are my friend Calhoun‘s favorite because he has CH and hydrocephalus, but he can still play with things that dangle in front of him!
This list isn’t all-inclusive of course. There are loads of things out there for cats to play with. From the old school cat toys, such as boxes and bags, to high tech advancements like Cat TV.
It goes without saying that it is important you take the age of your feline friend into consideration as well as their health. Some old school toys that used to be fun for kitty are not safe are milk rings. They give us cats hours of fun, but if they get ingested or caught on our jaw they can be extremely dangerous.
With all that said, if you are like mom and you find yourself being bullied when working from home maybe you need to find what works for you two! See if something on this list can’t help you stimulate them and help you create a better relationship.