11th September 2016
While some cats seem happy to roam the streets for hours on end and just pop back home every now and again for some food, they can actually get very lonely.
It’s not uncommon for a lonely cat to tear up your house and cause destruction. You know those cosy cushions in your bedroom? Forget about plumping them up again if your feline friend gets fed up – they could be ripped to shreds by the time you get home!
We’ve shared the main reasons why your cat is feeling lonely and how to encourage them to become less destructive in your home:
One way cats show distress is by coughing up huge hairballs. This is usually due to excessive grooming; one behaviour that felines demonstrate when they’re feeling lonely.
They might try to attract your attention by constantly meowing – whether for food, attention or sickness. This could mean they’re bored. Some cats may refuse to eat food until you return home.
If your cat feels that they are not getting enough attention, they may start to show signs of separation anxiety – all intended to know exactly how they feel. These can come in many different forms:
- Destructive behaviour
- Vomiting in your presence
- Greeting you excessively
- Scent-marking in your house
- Urinating on your belongings or not using the litter tray
If your cat is very clingy and constantly darting about your legs or if they are very demanding and very vocal when you leave the house, your cat is probably lonely. There are lots of ways to distract your cat, including giving them challenging toys and playing soothing sounds.
Home sweet home
A place to snuggle will make cats feel at home – a purrrfect pillow to sleep on along with a lookout post to keep an eye on the world going by.
What about a cuddly blanket to act as a comforter and help them settle? Cats instinctively scratch to sharpen their claws, so to avoid some unsightly marks in your chaise lounge, invest in a good scratching post.
It could be that your cat needs some background noise to distract them from what they’re thinking and feeling whilst they’re lonely.
Try a bit of classical music or leave the TV on while you are at work. Just don’t be too surprised if you come home one day and find your cat in the lotus pose!
Try using balls of socks and marking them with a bit of perfume or spices to give your pet something to focus on whilst you’re away.
Scatter the socks throughout the house and your cat will be on the prowl for hours, delighted by the range of great smells. If you can put up with the pong, you could mark a scent trail with a bit of cheese and then hide it at the end of the trail.
Some cats need social interaction and love a playmate to stop them pining for their humans – whether it be another ball of fluff or plenty of toys such as wind-up mice, they need plenty to keep them occupied.
Keep in mind that it can be challenging to integrate a new pet into the household, especially if your cat is older and is used to ruling the roost. But it is worth finding a furry friend to love and groom.
Food-dispensing toys could be your saviour – let your cats have fun while working for their lunch and satisfying their natural instinct to hunt. They also encourage slower eating, so can help maintain a healthy digestion tract and weight! Interactive toys will also keep your pet on their toes by giving them plenty of exercise.
It is very common for cats to develop behavioural changes when left alone for too long. But think about it — we all get fidgety when we have no social interactions for a while. They crave stimulation, just like we do, and encounter the same feelings of loneliness.
We have a variety of cat insurance policies to protect your pet against any health complications that could derive from loneliness and anxiety. To find out more, get in touch with our friendly team. We’d love to help!