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

Phil    Mckeesport, PA

12/18/2014 12:39:08 AM

I have 4 cats and they know my EVERY move !!! One of them knows when I"m getting ready for work, so she lays in the bathroom sink, thinking if I can't wash or brush my teeth, I"ll just stay home !!!

Cathy    Pittsburgh, PA

12/11/2014 6:33:02 AM

I have kept multiple pets together until recently. Now, I can only have one pet. I have a cat, so I got a pet stroller to get him into a change of scene safely. There are dogs in my building, and one of them has been introduced. They seem to get along well. I have taken the cat on walks to give him a chance for different stimulation. I live in a senior high rise, and many people now know the cat. I do get a sitter when I have to be gone overnight. Persia is twelve years old, and he does have separation anxiety. He has a window perch, so he can look outside at the birds. The only thing that holds his interest consistently, is a puzzle maze that holds mtreats. I put some of his allotment of dry food in it to keep him from gaining weight. I would like any suggestions.
Cathy L. Pittsburgh

Liz    Moore, OK

12/9/2014 5:49:20 PM

Our cat knows when I am getting ready to go somewhere. She is very sensitive to my comings
and goings.

Barbara    West Newton, MA

12/9/2014 11:39:16 AM

Every word of the article is absolutely true.

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