Do Cats Get Lonely If Left Home Alone All Day?

Cats can spend time alone if they're equipped to entertain themselves but need human interaction after a certain point. Find out when that is.

By Marilyn Krieger | Updated: October 12, 2014, 12 p.m. PDT

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People say, "The great thing about cats is that they have no concept of time. So its not like they're staring at the clock saying, 'Man, where is he?' Plus, cats sleep most of the day. How can I explain that to non-cat people?" 

There is a common misconception that it’s OK to leave a cat alone for hours every day without a human or other animal to interact with.

Pet cats need stimuli and interaction. It is not uncommon for cats to develop behavior challenges because they are left alone without companionship. Many of my cat-behavior cases exist because the cats have been left alone all day long without stimulation or another animal or person to interact with.

If you're gone for more than a day, arrange for a pet sitter come in and play with your cat during the day. Consider hiring a pet sitter to give your cat fresh food and water and clean the litterbox when spending a night away.

It's true that cats don’t look at clocks, nor do they wear watches. They do have their own internal clocks and their own cat-concept of time, however, so cats become accustomed to activities occurring at the same time on a consistent basis. It is one of the ways they measure time. Cats know your regular schedule: knows when you normally wake up, provide breakfast and dinner, clean the cat box, beditme, playtime, etc. Consistency is very important to a cat. Regular interaction with their human and animal companions is an important parts of cats’ worlds.

Depending on the cat and the circumstances, cats can become stressed when taken to different environments. Bringing a cat to overnighters might not be the best option if other animals will be there. Also, many cats do not adjust well to new situations. Cats do best going into different places when they are acclimated to changing environments as kittens.
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Do Cats Get Lonely If Left Home Alone All Day?

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Reader Comments

parjanyu    International

5/12/2015 3:23:44 PM

I am planning to get a cat, can I leave it in my bedroom.. For 8-10 hours each day as I go for work...or should I put off getting one

Suzanne    San Antonio, TX

3/25/2015 5:12:01 PM

How do we retrain people's idea that letting cats roam outside is okay and safe? It's NOT. A cat should NEVER be allowed to roam outside....ever!

Jimie    Laguna Hills, CA

3/13/2015 1:51:24 AM

I'm really upset. I actually am a pet sitter. I have these wonderful pet owners hire me to assist in taking great care of their beloved animals. Then I come home to hear the stressed whining of a neglected cat, but not neglected enough to be called abuse! The owner goes to work and is gone way more than 12 hours a day at times. She used to come home nightly, but due to an illness in the family she doesn't sleep here very much at all anymore. I don't know when the last time the cat was checked on, but before I left she was having her boyfriend come in and feed it once daily. When it hears me it meows and it's easy to hear the stress of the whine. She came home once awhile back and shewas so distraught she didn't even give the cat attention, it came to the top off the stairs and whined at me till iI came and comforted it. My other roommate and I did our best too try to get her to leave it out to let us care for it but she refused. I of course have offered my service for free. She said she absolutely refuses to leave the cat out and be responsible for when the cat destroys something, she"knows" her cat and what he does. I tried to get her to look on the bright side of that which is that he does that when his needs aren't being met, it wouldn't be that way if she let him come out. Then she accused me of lecturing her. This is exactly why I'm not a dog trainer, see, I can't handle the human psychology like the famed whisperer Mr Milan can.... it distressed me in ways she obviously has no sensitivity of to hear the cats tone. It's not like whenshe was coming home regularly at all. I don't mean to be insensitive to her plight with a family crisis, but i just refuse to accept any reason as as appropriate to leave a pet neglected like this. You cannot report it, because it's not one of the millions of horrendous and obvious pet neglect cases, and you can't try to kindly help a person in need because they make you the enemy. I play with the cat under the door, so does my dog. Sometimes he falls asleep outside the door. We are miserable being privvy to such a thing. I'm really really distraught, I'm sure it's nothing compared to what the cat hours through. At night, is pitch dark in there. But it's okay cuz he has a dirty window he can look out of.... the boyfriend likes that reason to make it alright that it's locked in there 24-7 alone.... I hope there aren't too many typos especially any embarrassing ones, I'm swyping on my phone, so... in case something didn't read right, keep this in mind. Thank you for your time and consideration...sigh.

Geetha    Bangalore, AK

3/4/2015 12:27:40 AM

I'm just ok after reading this.. now I can breath calm. I love my kitten..

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