Domestic cats started becoming a part of many households in the early 1900s. The transformation from an animal in the wild to an adored pet was a rather easy adjustment because cats easily attach to humans for survival assurance.
Although cats aren’t “pack” animals, they do need a social life, meeting and playing with people and other animals.
This fact became clear to me a few weeks ago. My sister has 2 cats, Sugar and Spice, whom she adopted at the same time. These 2 kitties are happy-go-lucky and very friendly to Susan’s many house guests. Where you see one, the other isn’t far away. (My youngest son’s cat, Blizzard, an only pet, is quite the opposite.)
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Cats in single-cat homes may become bored and sleep more than those in multi-cat homes, who have constant companionship. Solitary cats sometimes invent ways to occupy their minds, like unrolling tissue all over the house, picking at cardboard boxes or eating.
Loneliness in Cats
It’s common for cats to develop behavior changes when left alone for too long. Yes, they are a solitary species, but think about it — don’t you get a little fidgety when you have no social interactions for a while?
Cats crave stimulation just as people do, and encounter the same feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness.
Signs that your cat may be lonely include:
- Destructiveness: Moving or destroying things while home alone.
- Excessive vocalization: Trying to show unhappiness of being left alone by making bold vocal sounds.
- Aggressive behavior: Acting belligerent toward you as you get ready to leave the house.
- Over-grooming: Pulling at her fur or cleaning excessively to show that she needs a little more attention.
- Spraying/squatting: Marking with urine or feces as a way of making sure you notice the displeasure of being left alone.
You know your cat best, so don’t despair. If you notice any of the above, be creative. Finding ways to keep your cat stimulated and happy can be easy, even on a tight budget. (Taking away favorite toys for a while and then bringing them back out has been known to renew a pet’s interest.)
Ways to Keep Your Cat Entertained
To mentally stimulate your cat , try some of the following suggestions:
- Be sure your cat has access to a window with a view. Leave some favorite toys lying around. Leaving a radio or television playing quietly while you are away will also soothe your pet, because music and low voices offer comfort to cats.
- Birds provide an excellent source of entertainment. Attach a suction-cupped bird feeder outside a window so your cat can enjoy a little bird-watching. However, always keep the window closed!
Of course, there’s always feline agility. Then again, that takes a lot of effort and patience.
Whether you decide to adopt a playmate for your cat or create more ways to fend off loneliness, always make time for some one-on-one play with your pet every day. Nothing takes the place of the love and attention shown by you.