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

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..

Candace    Fort Worth, TX

2/24/2015 12:32:43 PM

My cat is an inside/outside cat, so I never thought he got too lonely. However, since I retired a couple of years ago, he has become my constant companion. No matter what room I'm in, he's there with me;and, when I go anywhere, he is waiting on the porch or sofa when I get home.

Norma    Cleveland, SC

2/24/2015 11:26:13 AM

yes cats get lonely, I was raised with cats, and I have a pretty baby now, which is part bob cat and mackerel, whenever I go away just for a few hours he misses me and he is always at the window when I get home to welcome me home. he is 3 years old. someone had thrown him out at 6wks old

Jennifer    Morgantown, OH

2/15/2015 8:43:44 AM

I know I've posted about this before, but I keep coming back to this article because it's such an important topic to many folks who have to leave their felines alone during the day. While not a solution to the problem, we found an item that helps keep our cat Buster entertained while we're out. (and for that matter, when we're home!) It's a cat window patio, fits in the window like an air conditioner, and has three screened in sides. We can't recommend them enough. You can find them by googling "Kitty Peeper" Even in the winter, he's in and out of it all day long, even early in the morning. I love the way his fur smells after he's been sitting in it, especially in the winter! Hope this helps some folks on here.

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