It is not uncommon for people to see cats as independent animals. In spite of domestication cats have retained their wild nature. It is a common belief that cats’ existence is centred on food, on grooming and playing. Interaction with humans and with other animals is on the bottom of a cat’s list of priorities. This solitary personality is one of the reasons why would-be pet parents that do not have much time to spend on interacting with the pet would opt to get a cat for a pet. Cats can stay ALONE at home all day. Cats can easily find their own amusement. Dogs develop separation anxiety when separated from the human family or when left alone at home all day. Do cats miss their owners too? Do cat miss the company of other cats? Studies on feline behaviours have proven that cats do get lonely.
Despite the solitary personality and the independent demeanour, cat experts believe that these animals are social creatures by nature. Cats are solitary hunters. However, in the wild, feral cats live in colonies. These cats interact with each other. These cats eat and play together. Cats would groom each other as well. Domestication may have altered the personality of these animals. In a one cat household, the pet has become accustomed to being on its own. Cats are less friendly to the human family as compared to dogs. Cats may not be too demonstrative with their affection but these animals do form a strong bond with their owners. Cats would also form a close bond with the other pets of the family. When separated from the owners or from the other pets, the cat would get lonely. Being separated from the littermates would be though for a kitten. Cats are not expected to understand the death of the owner or the loss of the other pet. However, it would certainly show signs of loneliness even if the owner seldom interacts with the pet and even if the cat is constantly fighting with the other pet.
Cats have varied ways of showing their loneliness. Some cats would excessively vocalize. Cats are noted to be good at grooming but loneliness can cause the cat to groom excessively until it coughs up more hairballs and the attractive appearance of the coat is marred by bald spots. On the other hand, lonely cats may have no desire to groom at all. A lonely cat would have no inclination to do its usual activities as it would tend to sleep a lot. Just like lonely humans, lonely cats may turn away from food. The opposite is also possible. Loneliness and depression can stimulate the cat’s appetite so that it would be seen overeating. The loneliness associated with the death of the owner can make the cat hide and ignore the attention of other family members. It is also possible for the cat to be underfoot. Missing its owner, the cat would follow other members of the family everywhere they go. Loneliness can make the cat developed unwanted behaviours like aggression, indiscriminate defecating and urinating and destructive scratching and chewing.
The cat’s loneliness can be caused by many things. The owner’s first course of action is to make sure that the pet is not sick. A vet visit is imperative. If nothing is wrong with the cat’s health, the owners have to deal with the cat’s loneliness. Another pet would provide the lonely cat with a playmate and companion while the humans are not at home. New toys will stimulate the cat’s mind. A lonely cat needs the attention of the human family. Spending more time to interact and to play with the pet would certainly make the lonely cat happy.