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7 Ways to Tell if Your Cat Is Lonely: Signs to Look Out For

You might not realize it, but your cat could feel lonely. We often think of cats as these independent creatures. However, cats are much more social than we realize. In this post, we’re sharing seven common signs of a lonely cat. We’re even sharing what you can do to help ease your cat’s seclusion.


The 7 Ways to Tell if Your Cat Is Lonely

1. Sleepiness

It’s no secret that cats sleep a lot. On average, a housecat will sleep between 12 and 18 hours per day. But when there’s nothing else to do, you may notice your cat sleeping more often than usual. Your cat may also choose sleep over playtime if it’s feeling lonely or depressed.

bengal cat sleeping on a person's feet
Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock
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2. Destructive Behavior

Cats are natural-born hunters and enjoy sinking their claws and teeth into anything they can get their paws on. Usually, a well-behaved cat understands that certain furniture pieces are off-limits. But a lonely or depressed cat will use destructive behavior to seek your attention.

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3. Increased Vocalization

In the wild, cats typically don’t vocalize with other cats unless the cat feels threatened or is injured. Meowing is something cats do to gain a human’s attention. Some cats enjoy some chit-chat more than others, but a lonely kitty may choose to express itself vocally more often than usual.

cat meowing
Image Credit: Stanimir G.Stoev, Shutterstock
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4. Litter Box Issues

The litter box is one of the best ways for our cats to tell us something is wrong because it catches our attention quickly. Granted, it’s not the preferred way to inform us of their dissatisfaction, but how else will they gain our attention?

Cats will also go outside the litter box if they feel sick. If you notice any changes in your cat’s normal toileting habits, it’s wise to take your cat to the veterinarian first before presuming it’s a behavioral issue.

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5. Aggression

aggressive cat in a cage
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock

Cats can become aggressive for several reasons, so identifying why a cat is lashing out is complex. Loneliness can be an underlying cause of aggression. For instance, if your cat doesn’t have a companion to “cat around” with, your cat may redirect that aggression toward other people and pets.

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6. Eating Too Much (Or Too Little)

Cats lacking social interaction may change their eating habits by eating more or less (although cats tend to overeat when bored).

It happens to all of us, including our cats. Food hits the spot by releasing dopamine in the brain, causing us to feel good when there’s nothing else to do.

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7. Change in Energy

sad lonely cat lying on bed
Image Credit: medveda, Shutterstock

Like humans, cats feel lethargic when lonely and depressed. A lonely cat will often feel deflated, like a couch potato with no real motivation to do anything. Even if your cat is awake, it may refuse to engage in regular playtime and exercise.

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What to Do if Your Cat Is Lonely

So, how do you fix a lonely cat? You’ll have to change the surrounding environment to make your cat feel better. It’s not enough to give your cat a toy and a snack and call it good. Cats need to socialize with humans and animals.

Here are three things you can do to ease your cat’s loneliness:

Catify the Space

“Catifying” the space means enriching the environment in a cat-friendly way. Cat trees, scratchers, plants, windows, and even a couple of rugs can make a big difference in your cat’s overall mental health.

These material objects allow your cat the freedom to act on instinct rather than tiptoe around rules. Your cat needs something to climb, chase, scratch, and chew, so start catifying the space if you haven’t already.

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Playtime & Exercise

Remember how we mentioned dopamine earlier? The same thing happens when your cat hunts. Cats are natural-born hunters that live for the thrill of “the hunt.” Anytime a cat hunts, those “feel good” chemicals are released, making your cat feel amazing.

Since indoor cats don’t have the freedom to hunt live prey, it’s up to us as cat owners to mimic the hunt for our cats with toys. Only ten minutes of playtime is all you need to help your cat feel better.

If your cat feels depressed, it may not be up for playtime immediately, but keep trying. Your cat will come around eventually.

Adopt a Friend

Cats can relate to each other in ways we can’t imagine. They understand what it means to be a cat, so bringing home a new friend for your kitty can’t hurt.

Take time selecting a new cat and introduce the new cat to your home slowly. Your cat may not be receptive to a new friend initially, and that’s okay.

two cats wrestling
Image Credit: AdinaVoicu, Pixabay

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Is your cat going to show all these signs at once? Probably not. But now you know what to look for and what you can do to help.

Instead of trying to fix your cat, think about enrichment. How can you flip your cat’s life around so that it feels like a kitten again? Normally cats don’t like change, but a small change can be welcoming to a lonely kitty.

We’ve given you some ideas to try. Now, the rest is up to you.

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Featured Image Credit: g3gg0, pixabay