Have You Ever Asked, How Much Attention Do Cats Need?

Very often, because cats tend to be so independent, folks believe them easier to take care of; therefore, looking after them is easy and the owner won’t have as many responsibilities as with a dog.

Don’t let yourself become too sure that’s the case. Though a cat may seem more aloof and less in need of interacting with you, the feline still needs care, love, and attention.

Vets have determined that your cat can go through a maximum of 24 hours safely without attention, so long as all their necessities such as food, water, and a clean litter box are available.

After that time, loneliness, anxiety, and stress can set in. If you have more than one cat, it may be possible to leave them for two days, with necessities furnished, because they will have each other for company.

As an average, a cat must have at least 30 minutes of your time a day. However, this answer will not always be the case. Is the cat clingy or needy? Does he find ways to keep busy if left alone? How old is he? How about his general health?

cat snoozing on lap

If you have a young kitten, this feline will need a great deal of attention. They might suffer an injury or accident, or even unexpected death, from a syndrome known as “fading kittens.”

If the kitten was separated from his mom too early, you will have to spend a lot of time with the baby. A kitten from one day to three weeks of age needs your full attention. If you are taking the place of the mother cat, you should not leave them alone, even for an hour.

With an adult cat, you can monitor how much time and attention they will need by the type of personality they have.

For example, if your cat is more affectionate, he may want to cling to you. You’ll need to check on this cat throughout the day. You can monitor this cat’s need for attention by his behavior. Does he seek you out, or sit on your lap? Give your cat the time he needs.

Some cats don’t care so much for physical touch. I have one of those. Mocha will get up and leave if he feels you are giving him more attention than he wants. On the other hand, he also lets me know when he actually wants my attention.

If you have a senior cat, he may not want to play as much as a younger cat. With an older cat, do be sure kitty gets enough exercise and playtime. Sometimes just spending time close to you is enough.

My old Pogo had a chair next to mine at the computer, and he liked to snooze there while I worked. If he wanted attention, he’d reach up and tap my arm, and then my role was to stop my work and give those soft, fuzzy cheeks a good scratching.

Ways Cats Ask For Help

Sometimes your cat might ask for help in solving a problem. Perhaps something hurts. The cat can’t tell you in English, but you can watch for and interpret clues. Here are a couple of ways your kitty might let you know there’s a problem that needs solving.

White cat getting tummy brushed
Brushing can sometimes reduce stress

Urinating Outside The Box

Don’t ignore this behavior or think you can fix unless you first talk to your vet. The cat may find it painful to use the litter box and blames the pain on the box. Such things as a urinary tract infection, bladder or kidney stones, or constipation can make using the box painful.

Avoiding the litter box might also stem from something else, such as stress. If you’ve just introduced a new pet, made a sudden change in their routine, or if the tension level in the house is very high, the cat may react to any or all of these.

Becoming a Chatty Catty

Cats use their meow to communicate with us. Pay attention to that voice. How does it sound when they are hungry? Perhaps they need to express an opinion. In any case, they want to tell you something, so learn to listen to the different “meow styles” your cat shows.

If kitty is meowing excessively, it may be a cry for help. If it’s a disease, it could cause greater hunger, increased pain, or chronic discomfort. Also, a distress cry will sound quite different from your cat’s usual vocalization.

grey tiger cat talking

Twice, Carlos gave a distress cry that told me I needed to get him to a vet right away. There was no mistaking the sound he made. He was in pain! If you hear your cat give a yowl that’s much different from his usual cry, pay attention! Call the vet!

The Third Eyelid Shows

This one will not be accompanied by any meows or murmurs. The third eyelid serves as the windshield wiper for kitty’s eye. Usually you cannot see it, unless you pull the upper eyelid when kitty is very relaxed. Normally, it does not show.

Therefore, if you can see the third eyelid when kitty is awake and alert, it usually means that your cat is not well. Kitty could have a high fever, stomachache, viral or bacterial infection, or parasites.

If you just see the third eyelid on one eye, it could be caused by conjunctivitis, inflammation, or a foreign object lodged in the eye. In either case, take your cat to the vet to make sure you know the cat’s physical condition.

Sudden Behavior Changes

Since a cat is a creature of habit and does not usually deviate from their usual routine, if you notice a sudden change in this habitual behavior, it may be a way for kitty to ask for help.

If you become sick, your kitty may not know how to cope with your illness, and might feel vulnerable and afraid. In this state, he needs all the attention and comfort he can get.

If your normally affectionate cat starts avoiding your hands, he may be sick. Just as with us, if kitty feels unwell, he most likely wants to be left alone.

Grooming Habit Changes

A healthy cat spends hours every day grooming that smooth and silky coat. Please note: if kitty’s fur becomes rough, dirty, or in need of a good brushing, something is most likely wrong.

If he stops grooming, he’s perhaps too sick to care. Perhaps he’s elderly, as an old cat does not have as much energy for grooming. In either case, the kitty needs your help.

Unusual Drinking And Eating Habits

If your cat is a picky eater, that’s a problem you have to deal with through trial and error, as you figure out what he will eat.

However, sometimes your cat won’t eat because he’s feeling nauseous. Of course he is not interested in food!

Feliway refills

Sometimes cats eat things that are inedible to attract your attention. They can do it out of boredom, stress, or even sickness.

Pica is a condition that stems from stress. The cat, though not necessarily seeking attention, will get it! Kitty could like to suck wool, eat plastics, string, or rubber bands.

You could possibly defuse these strange activities, through regular play or petting sessions, somewhere quiet, with lots of toys on hand. You might even try anti-anxiety drugs. I use a Feliway dispenser for my over-stressed cat, and it seems to help.

Perhaps the pica could stem from a mineral deficiency in his diet. Make sure he’s getting a well-balanced selection. Also, remove any small objects that he might want to chew. A great suggestion for electrical wiring is to either wrap them or spray them with a bitter apple spray.

Watch, too, for changes in kitty’s drinking habits. Increased thirst could be due to diabetes, kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism.

If your kitty either drinks more water than usual or stops drinking it, you’d better visit the vet.

Aggression Without Warning Or Provocation

One reason a cat might become aggressive with no apparent cause would stem from his being in great pain. Then he lashes out to whomever is closest. Or, perhaps the aggression is redirected, as it could be in response to another animal that’s out of reach.

black caat biting owner's foot

Know that stress, fear, defense of territory, or maternal instinct can make your normally sweet cat into the kitty from Hell. Usually such behavior on the part of the cat is a last resort and kitty needs your help desperately.

Better visit the vet, to make sure all is okay.

Have you heard of feline hyperesthesia, or rippling skin disorder?

If your cat develops this condition, he may make mournful calls, then suddenly race around the house with the fur on his back rolling. 

Though the condition is not well understood, it can sometimes receive effective treatment through dietary change. Elimination of fleas or toxins becomes important, as these could be the cause. 

GIve Quality Love And Quality Time

Let your cat tell you if he needs more of your time. Pay attention to his actions. Play with him regularly. Give him up to an hour of constant attention, interspersed through your day.Talk to him. Let him know you care. Your strengthened bond will benefit you both.

References I used for this post:


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