Do cats get lonely? Well, yes and no. We’re solitary hunters, even if the only thing we hunt inside the house is toys. But most of us also enjoy the companionship of people we know and like. Are you worried that your cat is lonely when you’re gone all day? Keep reading, and I’ll tell you how to know.
My human typist and I believe in transparency (I have no idea what that is, but it sounds good). So we want you to know clicking on some of the links in this post will take you to Amazon. We only recommend products we trust, and we earn a small commission for purchases made through this blog at no additional charge to you. That commission helps us keep my blog running and the cats fed!
Do cats get lonely, Thomasina? I worry about my cat being home by himself all day while I’m at work. — Sad Cat Mom
Hi Sad Cat Mom…
Don’t worry about your cat! Some cats get lonely, but most are just fine at home alone as long as they have food and interesting things to do. I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but you might miss your cat more than he misses you!
Cats are solitary hunters, and most of us enjoy our own company. We’re also creatures of habit and like to do the same things day after day after day. While you have your schedule at work, your cat probably has his own schedule of things to do when he’s home alone.
That said, some cats get so lonely, they develop separation anxiety. You don’t want that to happen! So here are six ways to know whether your cat is lonely.
Six Ways To Know When Cats Get Lonely
When I get lonely, which doesn’t happen very often, I become sort of clingy. When our human comes home, I want her to just sit with me and scratch my neck or pet my head. But other cats make their loneliness more obvious. Beware though. Some of these could be signs of other issues, too.
1. Sleeping more than usual. This is a sign of depression, but being lonely can be very depressing.
2. Not using the litter box. The problem here could be the litter box itself. Or it could be a sign of a health problem. If your cat suddenly stops using his box, he should see a vet right away. When all the health issues are ruled out, you could start thinking about loneliness and depression. If your cat demands a clean box, one quick solution might be to give him a few boxes so he’ll never have to use a dirty one while he’s waiting for you to come home.
3. Destructive behavior. Flinging your collectibles off tables and shredding the furniture and rolls of toilet tissue are all signs of loneliness and boredom.
4. Keeping you from leaving. If your cat swats and nips you when you’re getting ready to leave or growls or meows at the door, he’s telling you he’s going to be lonely and wants you to stay home. Try tossing a handful of treats across the floor. They’ll keep him busy while you speed out the door.
5. Meowing nonstop. If your cat was lonely while you were away, he might have a lot to say when you get home.
6. Purring and stretching. If your cat stretches more than usual, purrs nonstop, or follows you from room to room when you get home, he’s letting you know how glad he is to see you. That doesn’t mean he was lonely and miserable during the day, but he’s definitely happy you’re home.
What To Do When Cats Get Lonely
If you think your cat gets lonely, here are some things that could help.
♦ Leave some blinds and curtains open so he can see outside. He’ll love it if you leave a window open a little bit so he can get some fresh air. And a birdfeeder on a window will keep him entertained throughout the day.
♦ Leave the TV or radio on so the house won’t be so quiet. We like the Golf Channel because it’s usually outdoorsy and quiet. We like the shopping channels, too, because the humans selling things get so excited, they’re really entertaining. For the radio, most cats like quiet, civilized talk, like NPR, soft jazz and classical music. But our favorite is music made just for cats. You can also get him videos for cats.
♦ Get him some super-potent catnip toys that will encourage him to play when he’s by himself. Yeowww Catnip Pollock fish are our favorites, and we never get tired of them. This fish is fun, too, and all your cat has to do is touch it to make it work. You don’t have to turn it on for him.
♦ Your cat really should have access to food while you’re away so he doesn’t stress about what he’s going to eat. If you don’t free feed, a timed feeder will give him a couple of small meals during the day and something to look forward to.
♦ Another way to help if your cat gets lonely is to hire a cat sitter or neighbor to stop by for a few minutes every day to cuddle and play. Ask her to come at about the same time every day so he’ll know what to expect. And have her come every day, not every other day or once or twice a week. That will just confuse and upset him.
I hope this helps, Unhappy Cat Mom. If you’ll excuse me, I want to go outside for a while now. I need some alone time in the woods. But before I go, a pet camera might put your mind at ease during the day. I doubt that your cat will feel like you’re spying on him, and he’ll probably think the laser toy and treat dispenser are sort of fun.