Do Cats Get Lonely?
Cats: The Preferred Pet Choice for the Masses!
If ten people are asked if they would like to own pets, seven of them would say ‘yes,’ two of them would vehemently shake their heads to show that they are not enthused by the idea. Surely there would be one person who would be sitting on the fence. Well, out of the seven who would be up for the idea, four would definitely pick cats, two would go with dogs, and the last person would be the type to go with the wind on this selection.
From here, it is safe to say that a lot of people are pet lovers. More than half of these pet lovers are also huge fans and lovers of cats as pets. Humans totally adore these feline creatures and enjoy the attachment, companionship, and the fun dimension these animals add to their lives.
Apart from the fact that cats are cute and portable animals, they are easy to keep and maintain. From their housing, feeding and veterinary fees to the way and manner in which they blink, purr and act all sleek and coy, who wouldn’t want them around? All these could be the top reasons why cats are the firm favorite for people who would want to keep a pet.
The Signals: How to Spot Loneliness in Your Cat
Like all other animals, cats have feelings and possess certain human-like abilities such as craving companionship and having moments of highs and lows. Cats definitely have times when they are under the weather as well. Although it is yet to be proven scientifically that cats do get lonely, we can safely say that yes, indeed they do get lonely!
By their very nature, cats are cautious of unknown people and objects. They are secretive and like to keep to themselves, and so it wouldn’t be a surprise if most people think that cats do not get lonely and that it is perfectly normal for them to be self-sufficient. This is not something that is easily detected, but to the trained eye, the following could signal that your cat is feeling lonely:
- Clinginess to you and other loved ones
- Excessive meowing
- Aggressive behavior
- Mischievous behavior such as doing things they normally wouldn’t do
- Sleeping most of the day
If you own a cat or are close to someone who owns a cat, make sure to be looking out for these red lights because they could signal that all isn’t well.
Is My cat Feeling Blue, or Feeling Unwell?
Lonely cats could be sick cats, and sick cats could be lonely too, but the latter is rarer than the former. There is a thin line between a lonely cat and a sick cat. Most cats, when sick or lonely like to purr and rest for most of the day, but what truly signals a cat is unwell includes:
- Changes in their resting and eating patterns. These cats will mostly be seen lying down in a specific part of the house and not necessarily in their box.
- Reduction in their appetite. They will take little to no food throughout the whole day.
- Shying away from its owner.
If you notice that your kitty is displaying any of these symptoms, it would be wise to take them to the vet for an immediate checkup. On the other hand, cats who are lonely can be sick too, but mostly they are just plain lonely. Additionally, cats are known to sleep for 12 to 16 hours a day, so if they go overboard, please do take note.
A Possible Case of AAD – Attention and Affection Deficit
The main thing which helps you detect your cat is lonely is when it follows you around all day and seeks to be in your space. Of course, most pets love to do that, but when there is a sudden and prolonged increase in this type of behavior, it should signal to you that your pet has a case of ‘Attention and Affection Deficit’
Will My Cat Get Better or Worse?
The majority of pet keepers and enthusiasts are of the notion that little is more. In their minds, all they have to do is get a healthy cat, groom it, feed it, get it a pretty litter box and all is well. They can pop their heads in once in a while to check and see how their kitty is faring. That is a great recipe for disaster. Cats may love going off to be on their own from time to time but this shouldn’t be an excuse to neglect them.
Cats need to be stimulated. They desire to be played with – to be held and to be in your space from time to time. Whether your lonely cat is going to get better or worse, all depend on you, as its owner. You need to dig deeper and find out the kind of cat you have. You would have to know what breed it is, its traits, its likes, and dislikes and from there, you personalize it.
Generally, cats have a heightened sense of smell and love the fragrances you have been wearing to work and your casual night outs. Try spraying some around the house and watch the changes. They will begin to walk around the house trying to get a whiff of that scent. Also due to their complex way of reasoning, cats are easily fascinated by objects that they find foreign to them and their surroundings. Items such as complex toys and puzzles are must-haves for your feline pets because it holds their attention and increases their focus.
The Power of Touch is Priceless!
The power of touch is a very important fact to keep in mind. There might be times when you are busy or pressed for time. Sometimes, all it takes is to stoop to your cat’s level and playfully pass your hands over their fur.
Essentially, you would definitely have to find out what works for you and your pet. What works for you might not work for someone else. The good news is that since it’s your cat and you have them around you, you would be in the best position to know what your cat likes and how they signal they need you to find time for them.
This process isn’t a one-time deal. You have to be doing activities or things that bring your cat out of its loneliness until they return to normal or even become better.
You need to re-orientate your mind about how to keep pets, especially cats. They aren’t there only for your pleasure. It’s a give and take affair. If you make it a routine or standard practice to give some time and attention to your pets, there’ll be a change in their behavior. But definitely don’t look for any changes if you’re going to be selfish and unwilling to compromise with your time and affection.
Is Loneliness in Cats a Dangerous Issue?
Since cats have some traits that can be found in humans, it’s understandable and pardonable if you have to leave your cat at home for some number of hours due to work or an emergency. Cats can handle being left alone for a certain period of time because they love it – the solitary life is part of their nature.
When left alone for that amount of time, it’s not surprising for you to come back to a house with some littered cat food or an upturned baby chair or toys strewn. The poor cat might have just been trying to entertain itself whilst you were away.
Anxiety and Depression – the Leading Cause of Pica in Cats.
The tricky thing is when cats begin to ‘get accustomed’ to these long bouts of being left alone. They begin to become a shadow of themselves. The cats you used to adore will no more be vibrant or bouncy, and there’s going to be an increased or decreased number of purrs. This is when the loneliness sets in. Experts have made it known that extreme periods of neglect can lead to cats having depression, anxiety, and pica.
If your cat is displaying these symptoms and behaviors, it is their way of telling you that something is wrong. When this behavior continues unchecked, they will lash out by tearing apart your cushions or furniture or totally ignoring you. Any aggressive behavior is your pet silently crying for your companionship.
In itself, these traits are not dangerous neither do they signal any cause for alarm but as mentioned, it can become dangerous when it is allowed to go on unchecked.
So, What’s the Best Way Forward?
Once you re-orientate yourself on how cats function and reassess your role as a pet owner, the next step is to action the changes that are needed, then you’re good to go. Always keep in mind that even though cats are widely known as animals who like to be on their own, they are also very sociable and can even teach you a thing or two. If you have a lonely cat or have had one in the past, make sure that you are up to the task of catering wholly to your pet and not just in certain aspects of pet care. There are certain measures you can put in place so as to ensure that you and your cat have the best of each other.
- Feeding and Hygiene
Firstly, make sure your cat is always properly fed and their litter tray is clean and fresh at all times. It might not have a direct or significant impact on them getting lonely but in their minds, it could trigger feelings of neglect. Why not make their living space more cheerful by adding a cute and bright pillow? This will help to keep their minds alert and inspired.
- Quality time
In addition, we live in times where we have demanding jobs that take us away from our homes and families for longer durations. If this describes your lifestyle, you can have a trusted friend or neighbor check in on your cat from time to time. When you do have time available, make it quality time by focusing on your cat and not getting distracted by your cellphone for example. Cats love playing catch with those soft fuzzy balls around the house. Maybe you could buy them some new toys. You can also try setting them up in a special place in the house with puzzles or objects that can keep them entertained whether you are at home or away. If this isn’t possible, then you can try taking them along with you when going for walks. Cats love to see and explore new places. Whatever you do, it is essential to make time to play with your cat and pet them lovingly.
- A new playmate!
There are times when all your cat needs is a companion just like them. A cat! You may consider getting them a cat playmate so they can nap and play together indoors and outdoors and your cat will no longer have to remain alone.
The verdict is finally out. Cats do get lonely and that isn’t a weird or strange occurrence. It goes by unnoticed due to their nature. As pet lovers and keepers, it is our responsibility to get our cats out of the boredom yard and always keep in mind that the relationship is truly a two way street. As they keep us company, we have to keep them entertained as often as possible. If cats are left to themselves just because of how they are perceived, the party that suffers wouldn’t only be the cat but also the cat owner.
Do not forget that the best person to take care of your pet is you – since you bought it in the first place and you know it better than any other person. To neglect your cat even after numerous silent pleas of its loneliness isn’t only selfish but cruel. Always make time and room for your pets – especially your cats, because they love and care for you more than you’d ever know.