If you've ever looked back fondly at your cat's big beautiful eyes and felt incredibly guilty for leaving for the day, you're not alone. But is your cat truly lonely when you leave the house? Does your cat need a companion? Are cats lonely without other cats?
Can cats feel lonely?
Yes, cats can feel lonely. But not as much as you might think. It is possible for your cat to experience loneliness and boredom depending on his purrrr-sonality and cat behavior patterns. Both cats and dogs need exercise, stimulation, and social interaction to feel at their best, however, unlike dogs, cats are solitary in nature, and will generally be just fine if you leave them on their own.
How can I tell if my cat is lonely?
While cats often prefer to be alone, some cats may demonstrate signs of cat separation anxiety. Here are some things to watch out for.
- defecating and urinating outside of the litter box
- unbroken chains of meowing and related vocalizations
- destructive scratching and/or chewing
- loss of appetite (or its opposite, wolfing food down voraciously in bursts)
- excessive self-grooming
- overly-exuberant greetings
Only a vet can diagnose cat behavior problems, so if you fear that your furry friend may be be experiencing these symptoms of separation anxiety, be sure to contact your veterinarian.
Does my cat need a companion?
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, your cat's need for companionship and social interaction all depends on your cat! If your indoor cat has established himself well into adulthood as king of the household, then you may ultimately want to think long and hard about bringing another feline into the mix. Alternatively, if your cat has been well socialized with other cats, or is sociable in general, he may really benefit from having another cat friend to hang with. Chat with your vet about your cat's overall personality and needs. Maybe getting a cat companion could be a good solution to combat your furry friend's loneliness and boredom!
Is life sad for an indoor cat?
Not necessarily! According to the Humane Society, going outside is not a requirement for feline happiness, and you can keep your cat plenty stimulated and satisfied with entertaining toys and regular play time.
How much play time do cats need?
According to Pam Johnson-Bennett, cat behavior expert and author of Think Like a Cat, you should play with your cat every day for two 15-minute play sessions. And young adult cats who have even more energy to burn may require even more play sessions. Playtime allows your indoor cat to let out his hunting urges and instincts, along with any excess energy.
Are cats more solitary than dogs?
Yes. Dogs are recognized as pack animals, while cats are generally considered more solitary than dogs. According to John Bradshaw, anthrozoologist and author of The Animals Among Us: How Pets Make Us Human, this difference between dog and cat behavior lies in the animals they descended from. Bradshaw told Business Insider that while there are exceptions, dogs are descended from wolves, very social animals, whereas cats were originally solitary predators who became sociable with one another during domestication.
Should I get two cats from the same litter?
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, cats are family-oriented animals who commonly live with their relatives, and are not tolerant of outsiders. Because of this, it is usually best to adopt cat litter-mates if you plan on taking on multiple cats. Kittens that are brought up together will most likely get along, however, this does not mean that older cats or unrelated cats can not get along as well.
While cats are generally more solitary than dogs, they are social animals and do have the capability to feel lonely. Certain cats can benefit greatly from a companion, while others may be just fine being the one and only kitty for you! Watch out for signs of cat separation anxiety and speak with your vet to see what options may be best for you and your cat. You will want to be sure to consider your cat's personality, sociability and behaviors before bringing another pet into the home.