You probably know the feeling: you're getting ready to leave for work, and your furry feline friend gives you that sad look that tugs at every one of your heartstrings. This leaves you wondering: Do cats get lonely when we're not around?
Cats are very often viewed as super independent and aloof, but they too can experience feelings of loneliness and separation anxiety.
If you’ve ever asked yourself if cats get sad when you leave or wondered if your cat is lonely, then you’ve come to the right place. While it's simply not possible to stay with our pets around the clock, it's essential to know how our absence affects our feline friends and how we can mitigate any distress. In this article, we’ll delve into understanding our feline companions a little better and learning how to keep them content during our absences.
Stop Googling - Ask a Real Vet
- How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone
- Keeping Your Kitten Happy
- Monitor Your Kitten Using a Petcube Play 2
- Preventing Separation Anxiety
- Final Thoughts
How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone
Cats are more independent of the pets, especially when compared to dogs. Where dogs may quickly become distressed when left alone, adult cats can be left alone for between 24 and 48 hours if they have sufficient food, water, and a clean litter box.
That said, not all cats will do well emotionally when left alone for this long. Being solitary for a few hours is fine for most cats, but extended periods can result in feelings of isolation. If your cat is used to you being at home and then suddenly you’re heading out for extended periods more often, it’s likely that your cat may experience some separation anxiety.
Leaving cats alone for four days or a week is not a good idea for their emotional well-being. An automatic feeder will undoubtedly take care of their physical needs, but your cat may get stressed by the lack of companionship.
What about kittens? Can kittens be left alone? Kittens, elderly cats, or cats with medical conditions might need more frequent attention. Kittens, in particular, are very curious and often get themselves into some tricky situations, so long absences during their early months are not advised. The question, therefore, is not can you leave a kitten alone, but rather should you leave a kitten home alone.
When you’re away, your cat can get into an accident without your physical supervision. On the other hand, accidents may happen when you’re around too. While we hope that our cat doesn’t get involved in accidents or emergencies, we never know when it may occur. Because of this, it would help us pet parents to take some measures to prepare for such situations. One way is by investing in insurance or insurance alternatives such as Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund to provide us the support that we need to take care of our pets better during emergencies.
Subscribing with the Pet Emergency Fund provides you with $3000 for pet emergencies, which covers up to 6 dogs/cats (regardless of age, breed, and medical history). This is a good advantage compared to some pet insurance policies that have more restrictions. With Pet Emergency Fund, you also get access to a 24/7 online vet service, so you can consult with certified vets in an instant, anytime you need guidance and advice. Being covered with the Pet Emergency Fund provides you with the financial net and peace of mind that you need when pet emergencies arise.
As a treat for our dear blog readers, we are offering an exclusive 27% off on Pet Emergency Fund subscriptions if you follow this link.
Keeping Your Kitten Happy
What happens if you leave a kitten alone for too long? Cats younger than six months are developing at great speed. Not only are they growing and getting stronger physically, but they cannot thrive in isolation. Kittens need to socialize early with their humans to prevent a range of health and behavioral problems. The need for bonding and closeness is essential to the emotional development of cats.
Young kittens are bundles of energy and curiosity. To keep them emotionally and physically at their best, the following are essential:
- Toys: Invest in interactive toys. Sparkly, dangly, crunchy toys will keep your little floof entertained and challenged, even if the toy is smothered in rocket fuel catnip to add some extra zing to playtime.
- Climbing structures: Cats love a good perch from which they can observe the world. Cat trees and climbing structures are a fantastic way to cater to their climbing instincts.
- Companionship: If it’s at all possible, consider adopting two kittens instead of just one. Having a playmate can significantly reduce feelings of loneliness.
- Routine: Like humans, cats thrive on routine. Feeding, playing, and even cuddling at consistent times of the day can make your absence more manageable.
Monitor Your Kitten Using a Petcube Play 2
With the Petcube Play 2 Wi-Fi pet cam, you can check on your fluffy little friends anytime, from anywhere, using your phone. With 1080p HD video, ultra-wide-angle view, and night vision, you’ll never miss even the twitch of a whisker.
Get alerts on your phone when your pet makes a sound or passes in front of the camera, so you can check in to make sure they're okay. These AI-powered, real-time alerts help ensure peace of mind and help you keep tabs on what’s happening back home while you’re out. If your pet is looking a little lonely, say hi! The high-quality 2-way audio lets you talk to your pet, and they can say hello back.
Making sure your cat is stimulated while you’re out is super easy with the built-in pet and human-safe laser toy. Control the laser using your phone or set it to autoplay mode to keep your feline friend in tip-top shape, physically and mentally.
The Petcube Play 2 Wi-Fi pet cam is super easy to set up and secure, using cutting-edge encryption measures to safeguard your data.
Preventing Separation Anxiety
According to NCBI research hile cats are more resilient to being alone than their canine counterparts, they can still experience separation anxiety. Here’s how you can minimize the chances of this happening:
- Gradual departures: If you’re starting a new job or changing your routine significantly, try to get your cat used to this by leaving for short periods and gradually extending your absence. Your Pet Camera can come in handy when carrying this out. You can use the cam to assess when your cat begins to miss you so that you return just in time.
- Comfort items: Leave behind something that smells of you — a piece of clothing, perhaps. Familiar scents are very soothing to cats.
- Engaging activities: While you’re away, ensure that your cat can engage in something to distract them from your absence. Puzzle feeders or toys that dispense treats are a good idea. If you’ve got a Petcam Play 2, you’ll have a fun laser pointer toy at your disposal.
- Safe space: Make sure that your cat has a comfortable, quiet space where they can retreat. Sometimes, just having a cozy hiding spot can make all the difference. When cats feel vulnerable, they like to curl up in small spaces that make them feel protected. A little cat cave is ideal for providing such a space.
Do all cats suffer from loneliness?
Not all cats will get lonely when left on their own. Some cats are more independent than others and prefer solitude, while other cats seek out constant companionship. You’ll need to assess your cat’s behavior and personality before deciding.
Is getting another cat a solution?
General advice would be to adopt two kittens from the start if you can. Introducing your adult cat to a new feline friend can be tricky. It's vital to consider the personalities of both cats and take great care to handle the introduction with respect to ensure that the transition is smooth. If you do want to introduce a new kitten to your cat, read our handy guide to help you navigate the situation.
How can I tell if my cat is lonely?
Signs that your cat is lonely or suffering separation anxiety include excessive meowing, destructive behavior, changes in eating habits, or excessive grooming. If your cats display any of these, consider spending more quality time with them or seeking advice from your vet or an animal behaviorist.
Should I leave the TV on for my cat?
This is a very individual thing. Some cats may derive some comfort from having "human" noises while they're alone at home. A TV or radio on low volume (remember, a cat's hearing is much more sensitive than yours) can be comforting. But for other cats, this kind of noise might simply add to the stress.
Cats are known for their aloofness and independence, but don’t let that fool you. Cats get lonely, too, if they're left alone for too long. They might not always want to interact with you, but simply knowing that you’re there is plenty. While on a physical level, cats are more than equipped to take care of themselves, their emotional well-being suffers when they feel abandoned or alone.
Understanding your cat’s needs can go a long way toward minimizing any potential stress when you’re not there. Things like interactive toys and stimulating activities to help pass the time and a safe, cozy nook to snuggle into if they're feeling vulnerable can help keep your feline floof content.
Remember, every cat is unique. By observing and understanding your cat, you can ensure they’re always purring, whether you’re home or away.
Was this article helpful?
Help us make our articles even better