Cats aren’t always social animals; sometimes, you may notice your pet crawling off into a corner for some well-earned alone time. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that she likes being alone. Cats do enjoy being sociable, and despite wanting a bit of peace (don’t we all), they do like some company too.
In this article, we are going to explore whether cats like to be alone and how you can help your feline friend feel more content around the home, even when you’re not there.
Do Cats Like Being Alone?
Many people are under the false impression that since cats are such independent animals and relatively low-maintenance when it comes to keeping them as a pet, that they can leave their cat to it. But this isn’t quite correct. Your cat will get lonely if it is left to its own devices, so it is crucial to make sure that you commit to spending some quality time with him each day.
Much to many cat owners’ surprise, kitties may like to go off and explore, but when they are left alone for many hours at a time, this can begin to have a negative effect on them. In some cases, your cat may even experience emotions similar to those experienced by lonely humans. This could be anxiety, depression, or intense loneliness, and of course, this isn’t something that any cat owner wants.
Do Cats Prefer A Human Companion Or Another Cat?
Your cat might feel happier with another puss around the house who she can play with and interact with, but it is important to remember that, just like humans, not all cats get along. In the main, siblings will have a natural bond, so when adopting a cat, it can be worth taking a pair from the same litter.
However, that isn’t to say that you can’t introduce a new kitty into the mix later down the line – this needs some careful thought and planning.
Of course, as his primary caregiver, your cat will crave your attention, and spending a period playing with him and petting him each day will give him the boost he needs to feel loved.
You will notice your cat’s personality beginning to emerge as you get to know him better, and this will give you a good idea of how much interaction he needs. Some cats are content with a minimal amount of fuss, whereas others want lashings of love and affection. The more time you spend with the cat, the more you will recognize his needs.
How To Tell If Your Cat Is Lonely
We mentioned that cats could experience similar negative emotions to humans when they feel alone. Still, it can be a lot more challenging to pick up when looking at an animal – their feelings may not be as obvious. That being said, by watching their behavior, you will likely begin to notice if there is an issue.
There are some undeniable signs that a cat is feeling a little lost and alone in the world – knowing these signals can help you to combat the problem.
- Lonely cats have a tendency to overgroom. This can be difficult to notice since cats are naturally wired to be strict when it comes to cleanliness and grooming; however, when it borders on obsession, this could suggest a problem. Many lonely cats will take grooming to the extreme and may even pull out clumps of fur as a result of this.
- One of the most common ways that cats express sadness, anger, or other negative feelings is to spray or do their business in areas where they know that they shouldn’t This can be frustrating for you, but it could also be your cats way of letting you know he isn’t happy. Of course, this could even hint towards a medical issue, so if your cat does start behaving in this way out of the blue, you should see your vet to rule this out.
- Since cats cannot speak, they have to vocalize in different ways, and if your usually quiet kitty begins making a lot of noise, he could be trying to tell you something. Many lonely cats will meow and fuss loudly and insistently as a way of getting your attention, and some simple love may be the fix to this problem.
- In some instances, cats can become aggressive or angry when they know that there is a potential for being alone. Cats are very intelligent creatures and, as such, will quickly learn a routine – this includes your routine of coming and going from the home. If your cat sees that you are about to leave, she could become irate and aggressive – whilst this behavior may be challenging, it is important to address it because it is likely that your cat feels scared and upset at the prospect of you leaving.
- If you are leaving your cat for many hours each day, they can become easily bored. There is a common misconception that a cat will sleep all day while his owners are out, and for some moggies, this is true. However, for many cats, boredom takes over, especially if there isn’t a way for them to get outside and explore. As a result of this, they may become destructive in the home, breaking things, destroying soft furnishings, and generally making a mess.
How To Stop A Cat Feeling Lonely
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could quit our jobs, shirk our responsibilities and spend all day fussing over our feline friend? In reality, humans have things to do, but just because you have a busy life, this doesn’t mean that your kitty should feel alone. There are plenty of ways that you can address a loneliness problem in your cat and improve his quality of life.
Of course, one of the most useful things you can do is to adopt another cat, but as we mentioned earlier, this should be done carefully as some animals may clash. When bringing a new cat into the home, you should give the new addition a private place to get used to her new surroundings before introducing the resident moggy.
Once she is settled, you can slowly bring the two together under your supervision. This is a process that shouldn’t be rushed, and you should read the signs of each cat to ensure that they both feel comfortable.
However, if introducing a new cat isn’t possible, there are ways that you can spend more time with your furry friend and keep them entertained when you can’t be around.
- Ask a friend or neighbor to pop into the house while you are at work to give the cat some lunch or spend a few minutes playing with her. Having this intermittent human contact can make a massive difference to your pet. Furthermore, if you have a neighbor who is also home alone, it could be beneficial for them too.
- If it is possible, you could return home on your lunch break to give your cat a bit of fuss. Once you establish this routine, the animal will begin to recognize the pattern and look forward to your midday arrival.
- Since cats can get bored when they are alone and destructive behavior is possible, giving them plenty to do whilst you are out can prevent them from damaging things. Cat toys come in all shapes and sizes from colossal climbing frames to small stuffed mice. Give your cat a selection of things to do to keep them occupied.
- Before you leave the house, spend some time playing with your cat and tire them out. This way, they will likely nap while you are gone, and this will stop them from feeling abandoned.
- If you are going to be out for quite a long time, it can be worth leaving on the radio or TV to give the cat some background noise and make them feel as though they are not alone. Imagine having to spend hours in a silent home with nothing to do – you can then appreciate how your cat might feel.
How Long Should A Cat Be Left Alone?
When people question, do cats get lonely, they often omit to question how long they should leave their animal before it becomes a problem.
Each cat is vastly different, and while some may be happy to spend hours apart from their humans, others might struggle being left for a much shorter time. Again, it pays to get to know your cat and learn how he feels and how long he can be comfortably left alone.
That being said, it is vital to keep in mind that a cat should never be left alone for more than 24 hours at a time. If she is left for longer than this, there is a very good chance that she will begin to feel lonely and abandoned, and this can cause negative behavior. Furthermore, being left for longer than this means that she won’t be receiving the proper care that she needs and in the case of an emergency, she may not get help.
If you are going to be away from home for longer than this, you must enlist the help of a friend or family member who can drop by and take care of the cat. If this isn’t possible, the next best thing is to take her to a cattery where she will receive expert care until you return.
Cats are independent animals, and this has earned them a reputation of being able to be alone for many hours at a time. It would be wrong to say that all cats need your unwavering attention because many of these creatures are happy to be left for a few hours while their owners go out to work, but for most cats, loneliness does become an issue.
Going out of the house is unavoidable, but this doesn’t mean to say that your cat should suffer. As a responsible cat owner, it is important to look out for signs that your cat might be feeling lonely and take appropriate action.