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Cat Behavior – Can Your Cat’s Boredom Lead to Illness?
Imagine being a cat sitting at home all day with the curtains closed with nothing to do and no one to interact with. If you lived in nature, your natural cat behavior would lead you to watch birds and bugs, wander, chase, jump, hide, jump and spend half the day happily looking for a mouse to eat. You can also defend your territory and flex your muscles. However, indoor cats that lack exercise, stimulation and healthy food can suffer. Their boredom can lead to depression or illness.
Watch for Signs of Boredom
If your cat’s behavior is not what you expected it to be, it could be because he or she is tired or lonely. Here are some common signs of cat behavior that you may notice.
1. Move small items or clothing items around the house while you’re gone.
2. Pull out the hair of his hair or obsessively over-grooming.
3. Knock things off the counters.
4. Spraying or squatting to mark the territory with deposits of urine or feces.
5. Expression with excessive vocalization, more likely to make known his bored or lonely.
6. Shows aggressive behavior or acts out, especially when leaving.
7. Overeating when there is nothing to do that feels comfort.
Boredom and depression can be serious
The year can lead to depression in cats. If left for too long, it can also lead to illness and other cat health challenges. Lack of exercise and stimulation can lead to unhappiness, weak muscles, a sluggish immune system and eventually depression or adrenal stress and disease. In fact, cat behavior problems are also the most common reason for euthanasia and abandonment of otherwise healthy animals. Don’t let your cat get distracted or bored!
Try these Healthy Cat Behavior Solutions
- If you only have one cat, consider getting your cat a feline companion. According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive® and commissioned by ARM & HAMMER Multi-Cat Strength Cat Litter, pet experts now agree that cats are by nature social — not solitary — animals. When asked, more than 8 out of 10 veterinarians agree that cats prefer not to be left alone. (It is almost as easy to take care of two cats as one).
- Offer to play with your cat at the same time every day. Cats love routine. Buy or make toys that simulate hunting, chasing, jumping, jumping and the fun of hiding. Spend 20-30 minutes playing once or twice a day with your cats.
- Establish a regular care time several days a week. Keep some brushes, combs and slickers handy. A good time to do this is after your cat has played and used up some of its frustrated energy because they are ready to be sweet and cuddle up.
- Before you leave your house every day, hide some favorite toys and treats. Rotate their favorite toys to different locations each day. Take a plastic whiffle ball and put in some healthy treats that take some work to get out the slots. This provides exercise and challenge and the reward of the cat’s good behavior is welcome.
- Give your cat some freedom to roam. Minimize confinement as much as possible. If you don’t already have one, get a climbing tree or tower. Vertical space is as important for cat health as horizontal space for exercise and agility. You may also want to get a harness and a cat leash and take your cat outside to explore, get some fresh air and sunshine.
- Make a comfortable place near a window. Cats love to look out the windows and watch birds, bugs and any number of interesting things. If you can place a bird feeder outside a window, where the birds will be safe and your cat can observe, it will provide hours of entertainment, mental stimulation and emotional satisfaction for your cat.
- Give your cat a scratch. This gives them a place to shed old nail sheaths plus it allows them to exercise and tone their muscles to stay strong. Scratching also relieves stress, frustration and boredom or helps them “warm up” for a bit of play. But best of all, it gives them a suitable way to mark their territory with the pads on their paws. (This is much better than inappropriate spraying or other marks or damage to the furniture!)
- Most important of all, feed your cat high-quality food with real meat, NOT meat derivatives. It may cost more, but it can help prevent disease and promote better health, so it will save you in the long run. Also, cats will eat less and get better nutrition. Do all these things and your cat’s health and behavior will change to be calmer and happier. In all likelihood, you will both develop a closer bond as well. SOURCES: Dr. Stefanie Schwartz, DVM, MSc, DACVB (a leading veterinary behaviorist and author) plus ARM & HAMMER Multi-Cat Strength Litter experts, who commissioned a CAT-PANION Crusade study.
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