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, as cats easily attach to humans for survival assurance.
Although felines are not “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 two cats, Sugar and Spice, which she adopted at the same time. These two kitties are happy-go-lucky and very friendly to Sis’s many house guests. Where you see one, the other is not far away. (My son’s cat, Blizzard, who has led a very sheltered life and is an only pet, is quite the opposite.)
Cats in single-cat homes tend to become bored and sleep more than those in multi-cat homes, who have constant companionship. Solitary cats often invent ways to occupy their minds, like tearing up cloth scraps, unrolling tissue all over the house, picking at cardboard boxes, or eating, to make up for their lack of an active social life.
Is My Cat Lonely?
It is 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?
They crave stimulation just as humans do, and encounter the same feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness.
Signs that your cat may be suffering from loneliness include:
- Destructiveness: Moving or destroying things while she is home alone.
- Excessive vocalization: Trying to show unhappiness of being left alone by making bold vocal sounds.
- Aggressive behavior: Acting very belligerent toward you as you prepare to leave the house.
- Over-grooming: Pulling at her fur or cleaning herself 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 her displeasure of being left alone.
You know your cat best, so do not despair — if you notice her showing any of the above mentioned signs, be creative. Finding ways to keep your kitty stimulated and happy can be easy, even on a tight budget. (Taking away favorite toys for a while, then bringing them back out has been known to renew the pet’s interest).
Ways to Keep Your Cat Entertained
To mentally stimulate your cat and help keep her entertained, try some of the following suggestions:
- Be sure your cat has access to a window with a view. Leave some of her favorite toys lying around. Leaving a radio or television playing quietly while you are away will also soothe your pet, as music and low voices offer comfort to felines.
- Birds provide an excellent source of entertainment. Attach a suction-cupped bird feeder outside a window so kitty can enjoy a little bird-watching; but always keep the window closed — a sudden urge may send her right through the screen to catch a bird.
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 keep her from being lonely, always make time for some one-on-one play with her every day. Nothing takes the place of the love and attention shown by an owner.
I guarantee you’ll receive great rewards for your efforts.