Every day, millions of cats are left behind as their owners head off to work. These pets spend hours alone, dividing their time between sleeping and playing. While this may sound like a relaxing lifestyle, research indicates that some cats can and do become bored.
"Many owners feel a pang of guilt when leaving their pets," says James H. Sokolowski, DVM, PhD. "Simple alterations to the house, and providing the proper toys, can help reduce the boredom and make a cat's time alone much more entertaining and enjoyable."
Here are some tips to decrease boredom in cats:
Mount mirrors in the play areas of kittens. Not only is this amusing for the cat, but it also helps in her socialization.
- Choose toys for your cat that stimulate active, entertaining play, such as weighted balls that roll in unpredictable directions, and rubber chew toys in different shapes and textures.
- Rotate the toys you leave with your cat so that each day she has "new" toys.
- Provide cats with shelves, ladders and climbing poles to give them a choice of different heights, temperatures, and light. Cats also enjoy exploring large plastic cubes and boxes.
- Consider a second pet if you are going to be leaving your cat alone for extended periods of time. Many cats like companionship.
- Leave a radio or the television set on quietly while you are out to keep your cat company.
- Install a "kitty" door so that your cat has access to an enclosed outdoor run or yard.
- If your cat is confined indoors, make sure she has access to a window or patio door so that she can see outside.
- Use wooden or canvas-covered posts and bell ropes to satisfy cats' natural scratching behavior and keep claws in good condition.