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Are my cats bored?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
they all seem to be sleeping a little too much for their ages; they are all around 1 1/2 years old.

i am becoming increasingly distressed about this, i dont think their energy levels are high enough. they are indoor cats too, so, i wonder if that may be one of the reasons.

i dont want them to be outdoor cats, even though part of me feels like a bad " mom " because i deny them that; i just know that their lives will be longer and they will inevitably be happier if they are inside.

they dont seem to play as much anymore, and they are still basically kittens. i play with them as much as my back allows, but it never seems enough.

should i "splurge" the $200 for one of those huge cat houses?

i'm worried they are unhappy; withering away...

am i making a lot out of nothing, maybe?
post #2 of 9
Blue; I don't think you have to spend a lot of money on a cat house. I know you said that you play with them as much as you back will allow, but do you have thing that they can invent play from for themselves. There is nothing my cats enjoy more than an open brown paper bag on the floor or a turned upside down cardboard box or plastic laundry basket. Especially if one gets inside or under and can torment those left on top of or outside the box. How many cats do you have? I have 6 indoors and there always seems to be something going on from the standpoint of interactive play. Of course, they do their share of sleeping also. Since yours don't go outside do you have pots or flats of rye grass or cat friendly herbs for them to dig in or chew on? We are lucky because we have a screened in porch and mine can feel like they are outside without being in danger. Although I do have to periodically mend clawed screen, etc., but it is worth it. Do you hav a back window or kitchen window where you could get one of the install it yourself bay type enclosures and let them get the feel of being outdoors? I am not sure what they cost but it may be cheaper than a $200. cat house. The flats or pots of grass can get messy, but they really do enjoy digging in it. My one girl, Smokey,Josephina(thinks she is a ballerina) loves to dig in the sand so much that I put a small Fischer Price kids sandbox on the back porch with Florida beach sand in it and I call it her Zen garden. It has a cover on it when I don't want her to be in it or when it rains in the back screens. She has only pooped in it once and seems to know that it is NOT her litter box. Also, she is very selfish and only, occasionally, lets her twin sister, Squeaker share the space with her. All others, including her mother, Muddy Rivers, are hissed and slapped at if they try to invade her space. If I think of any more ideas to give your kids recreation I'll come back with them. Have you ever seen the story on the Animal Planet about the couple in AZ.(I think) who built catwalks all around the house about a foot from the ceilings, complete with steps and ladders to help the older ones get up and down, so that the cats can walk all thru the house even from room to room via cut outs in the walls. It is a totally fascinating story. My boys and girls would think they were in heaven if our house were so equipted!
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 


first of all thank you for your post, and your ideas. unfortuately,
where i am living there just isnt any possible way for
them to have an inclosed outdoor space - i am renting an
upper suite of an old house, and although we have a large
deck, it just isnt feasible. i have 4 cats indoors

my father built them a cat house (kinda) ! but it fell
apart after only 2 months, bless his heart, he tried. all
the ones i have seen, like the really nice, "complex" ones,
the ones you know your cats could practically get lost in,
sleep in, play in - they are from $200-500 - which i think
is insane !

even the ones that arent too spectacular are expensive

they tend to bore easily with boxes and paper bags, even
plastic bags, and it seems like my roomate just thinks
they're there just to look at and pet occasionally
he doesnt make too much of an effort to play with them or
entertain them. i think he thinks they entertain themselves
just fine, but i think they want more attention. i fear with
my dissability i am not granting them enough of my time &
energy though i am trying.

it's also not plausible to do the cat herb grass garden
you were talking about unless we had a space for that kind
of thing, which we dont - for now. we will only be here for
5 more months, and then hopefully we will find something
a lot nicer, and better suited for the cats. more room.

i find too with this place there is absolutely no good
place to put the litter box, and i am going out of my mind
with frustration because i practically have to clean it
everytime they go to the bathroom!

you said you have 6 indoors, where do you put yours, and
how to do you keep it clean and not smelling up your house?
do you use baking soda, or a lot of air freshener? what is
the secret?!

there is actually a book that MeowMan was talking about
awhile ago called "The Cat House" (i think) where this man
had built his home into a cat's paradise, exactly what you
described, that's a dream of mine, too, one day, when i have
my own house

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

...and playing with string and such is fun, they love that, or even throwing tennis balls, but it is so hard on my back - you have no idea! with string they follow it around the house as i trail it behind me - meaning i have to run, and kind of stoop and it's unbelivably straining and with the balls, i have to bring it back everytime because they obviously cant fetch, so... some days i just feel like pulling out all of my hair from the frustration of it all; like i am not doing enough for them - or for myself.

okay, /end of rant

[Edited by blue on 04-24-2001 at 01:49 AM]
post #5 of 9
Blue; A couple more ideas. . . .
First of all I have the 6 cats indoors, but we have a huge house. We have 4 litter boxes. They are in the butler's pantry off the short hall between the kitchen and dining room. There is no door on this room and it is a walkway double arch affair typpical of homes built in the early 1900's(I realize not everyone can have an almost perfect cat bathroom as this turned out to be) I still change the boxes every other day and I use baking soda I will NOT under any circumstances use deodorized litter as it causes UTI infections. I also do not use clumping litter. I have always had good luck with old-fashioned unscented clay litter. (by the way, has anyone else heard about this litter made from ground up corn cobs? I just recently came across it at a PETSMART store. What's up with this????)
Back to cat entertainment. One of my friends who is in a wheel chair and lives in an apartment said her cats (2) love mylar balloons. She had a friend fix a picture hook on the wall up about 7 or 8 ft. she ties an inflated mylar balloon on about 2 to 3 ft. of carnival tie (curly ribbon like they come with from a foral shop when you buy the balloon to send or take to a party, etc.) The ribbon is tied securely to the picture hook and the balloon floats out and up, the cats are attracted to the reflection of light from the shiny side and they jump and slap at it trying to get it down. Her cats love it and turn flips and other acrobatic moves over and over. (Just so Sandie doesn't panic; my friend says that her cats have never popped the mylar or gotten the curly ribbon loose so they have not swallowed anything or hung themselves to the wall by accident.) Another idea: Can you string a length of picture wire (maybe your dad or roommate could help here) taunt down a short hallway or from one end or corner of a room to another end or corner. I would fasten this securely on each end about 5 or 6 ft. off the floor (maybe this could be removable like wound around a picture hook at each end. The hooks are permanent, the wire removable) Are you following me so far? Okay, now you hang a cat toy (like the kind that come on the end of some of those feather on a stick things) on to the wire so that it will move along the wire when swatted. The cats should jump and swat and chase it the length of the wire. They may have to be shown that it moves but after a few times I caught my cats playing with it by themselves. This is good because it can be removed when you don't want them chasing it or when you are afraid that your lethargic(only kidding)roommate might garrott himself with it. . . . . . One last thing and then I promise to shut up; Maybe your dad could help you build a chickenwire encased mini run that you could put the cats in on the deck. It would have a solid bottom and a rabbit cage like enclosed run that would fit right off the open doorway onto the deck and could be as long as the deck would accommodate. That way they could be outside but safe. I would use the small mesh chicken wire so they wouldn't get their paws caught in the stuff that is about 1" openings. (we love you, Sandie) Blue, let me know if any of these sound doable for you. If you lived in St. Louis I would say to bring your kids over to my house to play during the day. Sort of a feline daycare center. . . . . . . Love ya, best wishes, Darlene
post #6 of 9
What seems to entertain my cats while I am gone are little mice toys and little fuzzy balls. They are small so they can bat them around and carry them in their mouths. Also, at the store they have clawing posts that have hanging balls with bells from one end. Try finding one and have your dad see if he can make one similar. My boyfriend made one for his kitten and she loves it!

As for the litter box, try putting it in the bathroom for now. That is where we keep one and it seems to work. We also have one of those plug in room deodorizors that keeps the odor down, and the hooded litter box helps too. Good luck with your cats, and don't forget, they ARE cats and I am sure they will find something to play with. (Right now the one in this room found the bottom half of an easter egg and is having most fun with that)
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
thanks for your suggestions and replies Darlene & Shauna

those were good ideas, i like all of them, and
i'm going to see what i can do you both sound like
such kind, loving "moms" i hope your cats know how blessed
they are

post #8 of 9
My Satey also seems bored (see "My cat bites" thread). He is overweight (but losing thanks to Hill's Prescription Diet R/D) and when I try and play with him, he loses interest after a few pounces. Hopefully we'll be getting a new kitten soon, and once he gets acquainted maybe they will play. But for the time being, what can I do to get him more active? I have 2 wands with feathers at the end, one is long with a feather boa, the other short with a large feather. He will also sometimes scoot around a tennis ball. But as I said, he loses interest after a few minutes of playing. Sometimes he'll flaunt in past the dog, almost like he wants the dog to give chase, and will run into my bedroom. But he will not let the dog get close enough so that they can make "real friends" with one another.
Satey also has a real problem with food. He is on a strict diet, and sometimes he still has food left in the bowl at the next feeding, but if he eats all of the food before a feeding, he goes nuts and follows me around the house crying. I think it's because he's terribly bored and possibly needs an animal companion (Fidget, being a Shih Tzu, must be too snorty for Sateycat's liking . What do you think?
post #9 of 9
blue katie:

I read where you have tried the strings and running through the house. I only do that when I want their undivided attention. I do however, have the plastic sticks (like the ones with feathers on it. When they destroyed the feathers, I took off the elastic string, and put on a longer piece of crochet thread. I can sit in any of my chairs and hold it and just flick it back and forth and the will chase it. Just be careful that when they catch it and you tug it away to flick again that you go slow so you won't "thread burn" their paws. I do it in short little tugs.

They also love to chase the spot from a flashlight. I tried the pointers and don't like them. You would be surprised the times I've sat in my chair with the lights off or even in the daytime and gotten their attention and let them follow the spot. Just remember to vary the "speed" it's moving to keep them interested.

Hope these ideas help.
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