Do cats get lonely at night?

Cats have a reputation for being one of the most independent animals on the planet.

They clean themselves, sleep for hours, don’t need to be walked, and can go days without giving us even the slightest bit of attention. 

Due to their remarkable self-reliance it’s often thought they don’t suffer from loneliness. 

As pet parents though we know there’s a much softer side to our feline friends’ personalities. 

Cats can be social, compassionate and incredibly loving.

And what this means is that without regular interaction or stimulation, they can easily become lonely; in some cases even a little sad.

This article will help you look for signs your cat is lonely and what you can do to help them if they happen to be craving a little more companionship.

Are cats actually happy being alone at night?

It’s no secret that cats love their sleep. 

But while some felines can snooze for up to 18 hours in a 24-hour period, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re catching 40 winks when we are.

Felines have different sleep-wake cycles compared to humans and other animals. The scientific word is crepuscular, which basically means their activity levels tend to increase in the evening or early morning.

As their sleep patterns can differ so dramatically from ours, it’s not unusual to regularly find cats up and about roaming the house all by themselves. 

For the majority of felines, this isn’t too much of an issue – as long as they have sufficient food and water, and a clean litter box. 

Solitary predators by their very nature, they will usually find a way to keep themselves entertained, whether that be by exploring the neighbourhood or playing with a new toy you’ve left out for them. 

And if they’re not happy, or they begin to grow bored, you’ll soon hear about it – literally. 

The 6 signs your cat is lonely

  1. Excessive meowing. Cats can meow for a variety of reasons, but if your noisy little feline is being particularly disruptive at night when you’re in bed then it could well be because they’re feeling lonely. Those cries for company won’t quieten down either until you find a way to keep them stimulated. Excessive vocalization could also be a sign of a medical condition so be sure to thoroughly check your cat for injury or illness.
  2. Clinginess. Are you finding you’re having to watch your step every morning because of a cat-shaped shadow following you around the house? There’s few things more pleasant than coming downstairs to a shower of feline affection, but if your cat is becoming a little too clingy, it’s vital you begin to address their behavior before it strays into unhealthy territory.
  3. Over-grooming. Lonely cats tend to engage in bouts of over-grooming as a way of dealing with their boredom or anxiety. Perform regular checks on their legs and stomach as this is where bald patches will form due to excessive licking. Whenever you think over-grooming is linked to pain, speak with a vet immediately.
  4. Aggressive/destructive behavior. Cats who become hostile the moment you prepare to leave a room are not acting out because they’re angry, they’re telling you that they want to spend more time in your company. Similarly, once you do leave the room or house your cat may look to occupy their time by wreaking havoc on your furniture.
  5. Litter box problems. There are a number of medical conditions that may cause a cat to stop using their litter box. Once you have spoken to a vet to rule out possible kidney, bladder or urinary tract problems you will need to get to the bottom of what your cat is trying to tell you. Your cat may have started eliminating outside their litter box due to stress brought on by loneliness or boredom.
  6. Changes in eating and drinking habits. Another way your cat might try to let you know they’re craving companionship is by avoiding their food or water bowl. It is crucial you address a cat’s loss of appetite as soon as possible because even just one day without food can have a serious impact on their health.

Should I let my cat sleep in my bedroom?

Whether or not you want to open your bedroom door to your cat at night is entirely a personal choice. 

There’s certainly plenty of pros to having them as a bedroom buddy. 

First of all, no matter how comfortable you make the rest of your house, nothing is going to compare to the warmth and security of that big cozy bed.

Allowing them into your bedroom at night means you’ll be offering them the ultimate level of protection. If they’ve been struggling with loneliness, stress or anxiety this could well be the perfect nighttime solution. It may also give you a sense of security, too, emotionally and physically.   

As we mentioned earlier, cats may be champion snoozers, but their sleeping patterns rarely align perfectly with humans. So, no matter how cozy and snuggly that little ball of fur may be while they’re led asleep next to you, a 5am ‘meow’ wake-up call probably isn’t how you want to start each day. Allergies and asthma are other considerations that need to be factored in but as long as you’re aware of the ‘risks’ involved, there’s no issue whatsoever with letting your cat sleep in your bedroom. 

What should I do if my cat is lonely?

Spending time away from your cat is inevitable, so in order to reduce any boredom or anxiety brought on by lengthy absences it’s vital you keep their environment enriched and fun.

From toys or climbing frames to puzzle feeders and scratching posts, there are plenty of ways to do just that.

Remember, your home is your cat’s home. Making sure they understand that will go a long way to combatting feline loneliness.

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