Is your cat fed up with her toys? Is your dog very needy for attention, just as you want to relax and watch some TV? Is your pet listless, and being a little pubescent? There's a high chance your pet is bored! It's only natural they want to enjoy some time together, having spent the whole day sleeping and waiting for their owner to finally come home. But even pets who do get a lot of attention and exercise love being mentally or physically challenged now and again. That's why this month we have compiled a few tips to stave off boredom, or to simply spend some quality time with your pet!
Can a pet get bored?
Just picture it: you're spending at least 8 hours a day in your own company, 5 days a week. And when you get to go outdoors, it's often round the same old block. Then, back home, a bowl of kibble is shoved under your nose, and it's time to sleep again. Day in, day out. Sounds boring, wouldn't you say? Nonetheless, this is many a pet's daytime routine. Not only that, but once owners are back home they're often tired and want to settle down on the sofa, not play and give attention to their pet.
So, all in all, it's no surprise really that your pet can soon become bored if they aren't mentally or physically challenged from time to time. Just like humans, cats and dogs also feel the need for new stimuli. Bored pets will soon focus their energy on other, less fun things. They might wreck the house whilst you're out, chew your shoes, hang in the curtains, continually seek attention, chase their tail, bark a lot ... in a nutshell ... some distraction now and then won't do any harm, and you and your pet will be much happier too 😉.
Tips to stave off boredom in cats
- Create a 'cat TV'. Cats love staring out of the window for hours at a time. What's going on out there? Which birds are hopping about the garden? What's that rustling in the shrubbery? All these sensory stimuli excite the feline brain, keeping them happy for many an hour. So, place a comfy cushion in the windowsill or the cat tree in front of the window. And, don't forget to make sure your cat has plenty to see, by enticing birds to your garden 😉. How about if it's dark? You'll find lots of video clips on YouTube, especially for cats! Grab a tasty snack for you and your cat and enjoy the birds fluttering about.
- Provide your cat with a 'yoga mat'. Cats love stretching to the max, especially when they're tending to their claws. So why not position one or more long scratch posts about the home, so your cat can stretch away to their heart's content whilst doing their manicure. It's also great for cats' muscles.
- Buy and replace your cat's toys. Toys are a fantastic way to keep your cat entertained, but they do tire of them quickly. So, buy a drawer full of toys and alternate them. Once your cat has got bored with its toys, replace them and save for another time. Alternate after a while: to your cat they'll be as good as new!
- Get them to earn their dinner. In the wild cats don't have their food served up to them of course, they have to hunt it. You could simulate this behaviour with special cat toys that conceal food inside. Often, they have to hook out the kibble with their paw. That'll keep them nice and busy at dinner time!
- Stimulate your cat with 'cat drugs' (catnip). Catnip is truly irresistible to many cats. Some cats go completely wild if you smear some catnip on their scratch post or toy. They have something interesting to sniff at and get rid of their energy at the same time.
- Give your cat the attention it deserves. Although cats have the reputation of being aloof and independent, they really do love spending time with their owner. Schedule in some regular play and cuddle time, to show them how much you love them.
Tips to stave off boredom in dogs
- Plan training sessions. Even if your dog knows all the basic commands, it's still fun to do a refresher course now and again. Training strengthens your mutual bond and is also very stimulating for doggy brains. You could always teach them something new of course, such as balancing a treat on their nose or rolling on command. These fun feats are always great party tricks 😉.
- Alternate your dog toys. Just as with cats, you could hide your dog's old toys for a while and replace them with new ones. He'll never get tired of his toys if they're regularly alternated!
- Play tug-of-war. Tug-of-war is a great way of getting rid of lots of energy, without needing lots of space. But make sure your dog understands the 'leave' command!
- Hide the treats. Dogs love treats and will do anything to get one. So, why not turn it into a game? Hide some treats throughout the house and let your dog sniff them out, or make your own treat puzzle. Hide treats in cardboard toilet rolls and then place them in a big box stuffed with cardboard and paper. Your dog will have to dig for their treat!
- Take your dog on walks where there's plenty for them to sniff. Dogs love sniffing as all the scents tell them a lot about what's going on in the neighbourhood. So, allow him to have a good sniff on your walk and switch your routes about, so he gets to sniff new scents.
- Plan enough quality time in each day. Although, the ultimate boredom cure is simply being with you. Make sure you have enough spare time in the day for a nice walk, play or just cuddling up on the sofa. With, of course, a tasty snack now and then! 😉