Most people are surprised to learn that cats can suffer from loneliness, just like any other animal or human being. Cats are social beings who occasionally get lonely and will let you know about it through many different communication styles. How can you decipher their language of loneliness?
Your cat will let you know it is lonely by becoming destructive or meowing loudly and excessively. You might start seeing hairballs everywhere as a result of over-grooming. Or your cat will cling to you and follow you around everywhere you go. Your cat might have a loss of appetite due to depression.
You can help your cat if you think it is lonely and constantly begging for attention from you. Stay tuned to find out more.
Your Cat Becomes Destructive
When you work all day and leave your cat at home, you might be surprised to find your clothes and other items either destroyed or peed on. But a cat left alone all day with no one to keep it company can become lonely and depressed, and if left unchecked, it can become destructive.
Lonely cats will destroy or shred your furniture or curtains, not because they are depressed, but because they are bored or anxious. Another feline companion might help keep your kitty from getting bored or lonely while you’re gone. Be careful, however, because another cat could cause your current cat more distress and anxiety.
Your Cat Follows You Around Everywhere
When you’re home, your cat follows you around everywhere, meowing at you for attention. They will rub against your legs or stand right in the way when you try walking anywhere, which is a ploy to get you to pay attention to them. Cats are not pack animals like dogs, but they are sociable creatures and need interaction now and then.
If your cat is following you around everywhere you go, including into the bathroom, that shows that some of their needs are not being met. To correct this behavior, give your cat immediate attention once you get home until your cat leaves your side for a while. Then before you go to work in the morning, spend a little time with your cat by feeding it and showing it love.
Your Cat Starts Meowing Loudly and Excessively
A lonely cat will sometimes start meowing loudly and excessively when you’re home to let you know that they don’t like it when you’re gone. It’s a form of crying for cats, and if they are excessively meowing, that might mean loneliness, and your cat is telling you how they feel.
Some people “talk” back with their cats by meowing in a “conversation” of sorts, thinking that they are talking to their cats. However, your cat might be telling you that it is lonely and needs your company and might be meowing loudly because you do not understand it. When your cat meows at you like this, make sure it is not due to needing their litter box cleaned or they need food or water.
You See Hairballs Everywhere
When cats are lonely or anxious, they do what they know to do, and they do it excessively, which is grooming themselves. If you see hairballs everywhere, it’s because your cat is grooming too much lately. Since their tongues are like sandpaper, they will pull loose fur off and swallow it. When enough fur gets ingested, it forms into a ball that they then cough up and leave on your floor or bedding.
A cat that leaves hairballs everywhere shows that they are over-grooming themselves to cope with loneliness.
While this doesn’t mean that if you see your cat constantly groom itself that it is lonely, it does mean you should start paying attention to the signs of loneliness in your cat. Cats are very careful about grooming, but when you see several more hairballs or sores on their bellies, that could be a sign your cat needs more companionship with you or another cat.
Your Cat Either Has a Ravenous Appetite or No Appetite
Depression in cats either shows up in a larger appetite or no appetite at all. If your cat isn’t eating, it could mean that your kitty pal is lonely and needs more “face-time” with you. When left to go on too long, loneliness in cats can result in depression, and a depressed cat will have several behavioral issues.
Of course, it could go the other way with your cat begging for food all the time. While they might think they need more food, it might be that they need more interaction with you.
Your Cat is Lethargic and Sleeps All the Time
Cats usually sleep between 12 and 15 hours per day. But a lonely cat can get bored, and rather than try to find something to do, and they will sleep more instead. Even when you’re home, if they seem unwilling to spend time with you like normal and would rather sleep, they might be telling you that they are lonely.
You might try getting some fun toys for your cat to play with or an interactive cat game that you can play with your cat while you’re home. Doing this can give your cat something to look forward to and help it be less lonely during the day when you’re at work.
Your Cat Has Litter Box Issues
There are several reasons why cats refuse to go in the litter box and spray other areas. They could be sick, the litter box could be dirty, they might be stressed, or they could be lonely. If all of the other issues are taken care of, your cat might be lonely if it is peeing on your clothes or rugs or leaving poop outside the box.
Rule out any medical issues by taking your cat to the vet for a checkup. If your cat is healthy, then it could be an issue of loneliness. Your cat is trying to tell you how upset it is for being left alone for much of the day while you’re at work.
What Can You Do to Help?
When your cat shows the signs of being lonely, there are a few things you might try, including bringing another cat into the house for your cat to make friends with.
- Cats love to lay on your clothes because it has your scent. If your cat shows several signs of loneliness, try putting one of your sweaters or blankets by a window so your cat can keep an eye out for you.
- Try leaving several interesting toys out for your cat to play with while you’re at work, to keep the boredom to a minimum.
- Leave some soothing sounds like classical music on for your cat, which has been shown to calm your cat when stressed or anxious.
Cats might need another feline companion, but this could create more stress if your cat doesn’t like intruders. Tread carefully when introducing a new cat into your home.
Your cat gets lonely just like you sometimes do, and while it’s not a dangerous thing for your cat to be lonely, if you want your cat to be healthy, try some of the hints listed above to help alleviate some of the loneliness.
One more thing you could try is getting a food-dispensing toy that makes your cat work for its lunch. The toy will keep your cat occupied, and they get a treat at the end of the game. Try interacting with your cat as much as you can while you’re home so that your kitty pal will not feel so lonely while you’re gone.
- Animal Friends: What Can I Do to Make My Cat Feel Less Lonely?
- Litter-Robot Blog: 5 Signs Your Single Cat is Lonely
- Pet MD: 7 Signs Your Cat May Need a Feline Companion
- All About Cats: Is Your Cat Lonely? 7 Signs That Will Help You Find Out
- I Heart Cats: 5 Signs Your Cat Is Lonely
- Petful: Is My Cat Lonely? Sure, It’s Possible, And Here’s Why.
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.