Pets are always considered a part of the family, but what happens if your house can only accommodate one cat, especially for long periods of time?
Does your cat get lonely when it doesn’t have friends to play with? The answer can be both yes and no.
This all depends on your cat and its temperament. One cat may not mind being home alone, while another cat may want a distraction or a companion when you are gone.
Your cat has a variety of emotions it can experience, including loneliness. But not every cat becomes lonely because they have no one to play with.
Continue reading to figure out if your cat needs a companion and how you can introduce a new friend.
Do cats get lonely without another cat?
Yes, your cat can become lonely without another cat to keep them company. However, this doesn’t always mean they want another cat around all the time.
It depends on your cat and its preference.
Your cat may be fine on its own; it may just get bored here and there. Your cat may also just become lonely when you aren’t around.
This doesn’t necessarily mean it wants another cat around to distract them.
Should you get a companion for a grieving cat?
If you just lost a cat, getting a new companion for your surviving cat might seem like the right thing to do. Now, you got to be careful with this because it can sometimes backfire.
Your cat may need time to grieve over the lost partner; getting another pet too soon will not help with the grieving process.
There is even a chance that your cat will dislike the new companion because it is still grieving. It is best to let your cat grieve and work through this before getting a new pet.
Signs your cat is lonely
Not all cats are the same; your cat may be lonely, or it may be perfectly fine having the entire house by itself.
So, how can you tell? Here are some signs your cat is lonely:
- Separation anxiety
- Becoming very vocal
- Show of aggression
- Excessive grooming
- Abnormal eating habits
- Issues with the litter box
Your cat pestering you constantly may be a sign your cat is lonely. For example, some cats with separation anxiety will not eat unless their owner is beside them. If it happens all the time, it is a clear sign.
Although socialization can help a cat with anxiety, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want a new brother or sister. Take things slow and build your cat’s confidence first by socializing it with more humans and animals before adopting another permanent cat.
When your cat is lonely, it can become destructive. They may chew up electrical cables, dig their nails into your furniture, or even rip up clothes.
They destroy things because:
- They are bored and have nothing else to do.
- They want to get your attention.
Becoming very vocal
Not all cats are vocal, and the ones that do are only vocal to humans. So, if your cat is abnormally so, it is trying to get your attention.
Your cat could be vocal for many reasons, like hunger or thirst, but if both needs have been satisfied, your cat might have something to say to you.
Show of aggression
This may seem counterproductive, but if your cat appears to attack you or others, it may be lonely or anxious.
Aggression can be considered a severe behavioral problem, but it may be temporary.
If your cat shows constant aggression towards you, you may want to consult with your vet.
When your cat is lonely or anxious, it may groom itself more often than usual. It could even come to the point where your cat pulls out its own hair.
Your cat has a lot of energy and is trying to find a way to express it. This is how it knows to cope with that energy and emotions.
Abnormal eating habits
Sometimes, loneliness will cause your cat’s eating habits to change. This can be seen as a loss of appetite. They may not even show interest in foods they normally would devour.
They could even start eating more. This can be concerning if your cat is scarfing down its food and then vomiting it later. Try to give smaller portions over a period of time rather than all at once.
Issues with the litter box
Issues with the litter box are another behavioral response to loneliness. If your cat has tried and failed at getting your attention, it may resort to messing up the place.
Your cat may be pooping right beside its litter box instead of inside; you may also find poop in places you frequent; your cat may even start peeing on your clean clothes or where you sleep.
This is a definite cry for your attention, albeit not a positive one.
How to introduce a new cat/kitten
Introducing a new cat or kitten can be stressful. If you choose to get a new pet, you never want just to throw them together and hope for the best.
This can be dangerous and risky, especially for a kitten.
For the best results, here is how you should introduce your new pet to your current cat:
- Take your time.
- Let them tell you they are ready.
- Trust them.
- Isolate the new kitten until the first vet appointment.
- Let the new cat check out the home.
Take your time
Never rush an introduction between two new pets. It could take a matter of minutes, or it could take days, and it depends on their chemistry.
If you throw them together, it could cause a fight or even be a health risk for one or both of your cats. There is no need to rush.
Let them tell you they are ready
Watch both cats’ body language. They will tell you when they can move forward with meeting each other.
You can start by introducing them through a kennel or having them on leashes. Let them slowly get used to each other and feel each other out.
It may be a little tense initially, but trust that your cats will quickly learn each other’s boundaries.
Cats are great at setting boundaries, and your kitten or new cat will learn quickly what those boundaries are. Allow them to determine their relationship before intervening.
Isolate the new kitten until the vet appointment
Keep the new kitten isolated or separated from your cat before the vet appointment. You don’t know the kitten’s history, and it could have been exposed to a number of viruses.
Keeping your new kitten isolated will keep your first cat safe from getting infected. It will also allow the kitten to acclimate to the new home and relax before the first meeting.
Let the new cat check out the home
Before introducing your cats, try letting the new cat check out the home. It can get acclimated, which will reduce its stress.
If you try introducing your cats to each other before your new cat gets used to the home, the stress can cause the kitten to retaliate. The fear and discomfort can cause a fight to break out.
Alternatives to getting a new cat
Every cat has different desires. Even if your cat seems lonely, it may not want another cat in its space.
There are many alternatives to getting a new cat that can help keep your current cat occupied. Some of those alternatives are as follows:
- Set up playdates.
- Take your cat for a walk.
- Set aside quality time.
- Introduce new toys.
- Provide entertainment.
Set up playdates
You don’t always have to get a new permanent cat to keep your pet from getting lonely. You can simply arrange for playdates with other cats.
This is an excellent way for your cat to socialize and for you to meet new friends with similar interests. Your cat will get to have fun while also keeping the house to itself.
Take your cat for a walk
Before you leave the house for work or school, you can take your cat for a walk around the neighborhood. It is great exercise and will wear your cat out.
Your cat will be both mentally and physically drained and won’t have time to realize it is lonely. Plus, your cat can get some socializing during your walk.
Set aside quality time
Many times when your cat is trying to get your attention, yes, it may be lonely, but it really just wants to spend some time with you.
Set some quality time aside so your cat can get the love and cuddles it needs.
Your cat may just want this time with you and doesn’t quite want a new companion. A good cuddle session while you two watch television may be the only thing your cat needs.
Introduce new toys
Sometimes when your cat is lonely, it is also bored. You can provide new toys to help distract it. When having fun with these toys, it will be difficult for the cat to be lonely.
There are many automatic toys you can purchase that will turn on at random moments to keep your cat on its toes.
Cats understand the concept of entertainment, like movies, shows, and music. You may find your cat is interested in a specific movie you can play while you are away to distract them.
If your cat has terrible separation anxiety, then this method may be a wonderful way to help ease that stress. They may not be distracted the entire time you are gone, but it is a great way to relax them while you cook dinner.
Although you don’t want your cat to be lonely, it will sometimes happen.
If you eventually decide to get another cat, take it slow and introduce them properly. Keep an eye to ensure that both their mental and physical health aren’t at risk.
However, before you jump straight into getting another cat as a companion, be aware that there are alternatives worth exploring. Simply deploying some of these distractions can help your cat when it is lonely.