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

Pat    Williamsburg, VA

1/27/2015 3:41:46 PM

yes I'm sure cats get lonely left alone all day. I would never leave my cat overnight even - I would be a pet sitter to come and sit with her in front of the tv for awhile, clean the litter box and give fresh food. Talk to her or something. I'm retired and home all day and all night, so when I run errands and its late afternoon when I come here, my cat hears the garage door opening and knows I'm home FINALLY! She greets me by the door, tail up and happy wiskers!

Miriam    Louisville, KY

1/21/2015 12:39:05 AM

Sufi is our rescue cat from a cattery that had him, a rare blue Somali. He does't like to be left alone. We never leave for more than eight hours. He's now secure enough to know we WILL BE BACK. BUT he used to worry. He's a very sweet cat and SMART! He learned from us to type on the laptop so we now have a funny video of him on the laptop with his big bushy tail wagging the whole time he's typing.

Joe    Newtonville, MA

1/14/2015 6:35:58 AM

we had one cat for 11 Yrs and he was lucky that One of us was home with him all day. He was left alone sometimes over night at home and was fine. give an extra treat when you get back.

Hank Scott    NYC, NY

1/7/2015 9:48:44 AM

I know some working people that only adopted one cat. I have never done so - I always felt while I'm away they would need company. They all have problems with their cats, especially social adjustment issues.

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