Just like you, cats can get bored. They need interaction throughout the day, but you can’t always be the one to give it. In fact, you may notice excessive grooming and scratching or attention-seeking behavior that signals they are getting bored, and you may wonder how you can make more time to give your cat the attention they need.
That’s where toys fill in the gap. If you suspect you have a cat who’s bored, and you need to figure out how to get more stimulation into their life, then this post lists some of the best cat toys for bored cats. We help you understand why your cat is bored, how you know, and what you can do about it.
Best Types of Boredom-Busting Interactive Cat Toys
When cats get bored, they need more engagement. And providing them with engaging toys is a great way to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
Most lists offer very specific toys for your cat, but cats all have different needs. So we broke the toys down by type so you can figure out the best type that will engage your cat. While you don’t need to get every type of toy on our list, you will likely find a few that will make the best cat toys for your cat:
- Interactive feeder toys: These toys dispense treats or kibble as the cat plays with them. They encourage mental stimulation and physical activity as well as a bit of entertainment for your cat as they rise to the challenge.
- Feather wands: Cats love to chase and pounce on feather wands. These toys mimic the movements of birds, which can be particularly captivating for felines.
- Catnip toys: Many cats are attracted to catnip, and catnip-filled toys can provide hours of entertainment. Look for catnip mice, balls, or pouches.
- Balls: Small, lightweight balls that cats can bat around are simple but effective toys. Some have bells or jingles inside for added interest.
- Interactive laser pointers: Laser pointers create a moving dot of light that cats love to chase. Be sure not to shine the laser directly into their eyes.
- Tunnel toys: Tunnel toys with multiple openings can be a great place for cats to hide, play, and stalk "prey" (such as a toy or your hand).
- Cat trees and scratching posts: These larger items provide not only entertainment but also opportunities for exercise and scratching.
- Battery-operated toys: Toys that move on their own, like robotic mice or insects, can engage your cat's hunting instincts.
- Interactive apps and games: Some smartphone apps and electronic games are designed for cats to "hunt" virtual prey on a touchscreen device.
- Toys that mimic prey: Most toys need you to manipulate them to get a reaction from your cat, but the best cat toys for bored cats offer interaction purely by cat power, like the interactive bird simulation toy. You can use the suction cup to position the toy securely to a solid floor or a window, and then your cat uses their hunting instincts to go after the bird as it bobs around.
- Sisal balls and mice: These toys are often made of natural materials like sisal, which cats enjoy batting and biting.
- Bouncy toys: Toys that bounce unpredictably can be intriguing to cats. Rubber balls or toys with springs can provide entertainment.
- Catnip toys: Some cats are highly responsive to catnip-filled toys. Offer these toys occasionally to provide sensory enrichment and excitement.
- Plush toys: Soft and plush toys can be comforting for cats to cuddle with or "bunny kick" during play.
- DIY toys: Some cats are just like children in more ways than one. You’ll find some cats love the box a toy came in more than the toy itself. So experiment by creating DIY toys by repurposing items like cardboard boxes, paper bags, or empty toilet paper rolls. These can be just as appealing to your cat and will add variety to your toy stash.
Not all cats have the same preferences, so it may take some experimentation to find the toys your feline friend loves the most. First, try toys that offer stimulation to their natural instincts. You can help keep them from getting bored by meeting their natural needs, such as hunting.
Why Is My Cat Bored?
Understanding why your cat gets bored can help you meet their needs with the best interactive toys to beat their boredom. Consider some common reasons why your cat might be feeling bored so you can narrow down the type of cat toy your cat may need:
- Lack of stimulation: Cats are natural hunters, and they require mental and physical stimulation to stay engaged. Without sufficient opportunities to play and explore, they can become bored.
- Monotony: If your cat's environment is static and unchanging, they may grow bored. Cats enjoy novelty and new experiences, so a lack of variety in their surroundings can lead to boredom.
- Loneliness: Cats are social creatures, and they can become bored and lonely if left alone for extended periods. Having companionship, whether from other cats or human interaction, can help alleviate boredom.
- Insufficient playtime: Cats need regular playtime to expend energy and stimulate their minds. If you're not providing enough interactive play sessions, your cat may become bored.
- Lack of toys: Cats need toys to engage with when you're not available to play with them. A shortage of toys or toys that don't capture their interest can lead to boredom.
- Outdoor cats kept indoors: If your cat is accustomed to outdoor exploration but is now confined indoors, they may experience boredom. Consider providing indoor enrichment activities to compensate.
- Health issues: Sometimes, a cat may appear bored when they are actually unwell. If your cat's behavior changes suddenly or significantly, consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems.
- Environmental stress: Stressors in your cat's environment, such as loud noises, changes in routine, or the presence of other animals, can lead to boredom and anxiety.
- Aging: Senior cats may become less active and playful, but they still need mental stimulation and companionship to prevent boredom.
Keeping Your Cat Engaged with Toys
You may have the best cat toys for bored cats, but to keep your cat engaged, you need to follow some best practices with toys. Here are some tips to help you keep your cat entertained and interested in their toys:
- Keep them stimulated. Create a stimulating indoor environment with climbing structures, scratching posts, and hiding spots.
- Rotate the toys. Cats can become bored with the same toys if they're always available. Rotate their toys regularly, so they have access to a "new" set of toys every few days or weeks.
- Incorporate interactive play. Spend time playing with your cat using interactive toys. Toys like feather wands, laser pointers, or other interactive cat toys can mimic prey movements and engage your cat's natural hunting instincts.
- Vary the playtime. Cats appreciate variety in their play sessions. Change the speed and direction of toys to mimic different prey movements. Let your cat "catch" the toy from time to time to satisfy their hunting drive.
- Use puzzle feeders. Incorporate puzzle feeders or treat-dispensing toys into your cat's routine. These toys make mealtime more engaging and provide mental stimulation as your cat works to get the treats or kibble out.
- Try hide and seek. Hide small toys or treats around the house for your cat to discover during playtime. This scavenger hunt can be mentally stimulating.
- Schedule playtime. Establish a routine for playtime with your cat. Cats often appreciate predictability, and a regular play schedule can help keep them engaged.
- Plan an overall routine. Create a daily and weekly routine that includes play, feeding, time for cat grooming, and even quiet time. This gives your cat structure and predictability. This quality time playing and bonding with your cat is important for their health and well-being.
- Use positive reinforcement. Reward your cat with praise and treats when they engage with toys or display playful behavior. This positive reinforcement can encourage more play.
- Monitor safety. Always supervise playtime, especially if your cat is playing with small or easily ingestible toys. Ensure that toys are in good condition and do not pose any safety risks.
- Respect their wishes. Pay attention to your cat's preferences. If they seem uninterested in a particular toy, try something else. Cats have unique tastes, and what works for one may not work for another.
Understanding your cat's individual preferences and needs is essential in combating boredom and ensuring their overall well-being. Above all else, make playtime fun and stimulating to keep your cat engaged and mentally active. To do just that, check out the best cat toys for bored cats at Leo’s Paw and find the perfect toys to keep your cat companion happy, stimulated, and full of life.