When a cat is not getting the desired amount of attention it craves, it will act out. Sometimes this means clawing at furniture, peeing outside the litter box, excessive crying, a decline in health, or even showing signs of feline depression. So how do you know your cat needs more attention?
Does My Cat Need More Attention?
Start by examining your own daily routine. Do you work long hours? Perhaps you spend a lot of time away from home? Maybe you have other animals you also care for on a day to day basis? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in a busy life that we often don’t consider that we are allowing other areas in our life to take the back seat. If you find that you are always on the go, I think it is best to put time aside each day for your cat. Simply feeding them, cleaning the box, and a few pats on the head are not enough.
Your Cat Is More Than Just a Pet
Think of your cat like a roommate. Would you go days with little interaction with this person and expect them to think everything between you two is okay? Cats need to know you appreciate them and care for them. They may not beg for attention or be the ones to come running first like dogs often do, but you should know that all human and cat relationships need attention, love, and care. If you want a lifelong bond with your cat, you need to put the effort in. You need to be there as more than just a hand that feeds them.
I often find that a big reason people prefer cats over dogs is that they don’t need as much attention and are more independent. While this may be true for some cats, not all cats are the same. From my own understanding, I find that most cats have independent traits but still desire attention and bonding. They may not need as much attention as dogs, but it is silly to think they don’t need any at all.
What You Can Do
What are some things you can do to give your cat attention if you have a busy lifestyle? Here is a list of things you should consider to make sure your cat is happy and healthy:
Give them rewards throughout the day. Find a treat they really enjoy and just give them some just because.
Play and interact with them. Use wands and other toys that involve you being at the other end, not automated toys that move on their own.
Be inviting in your space. If your cat loves to sit by you but gets in the way of you working on your computer, get a bigger desk and give them a sitting area on it.
Talk to them. This may sound silly but trust me, the more you talk directly to them, the more they will indeed talk back.
Know your individual cat’s needs and habits. Some cats sleep more than others and this is fine but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to not spend time with you.
Give them pets and rubs often. Don’t only pet them when they come to you, go to them and offer a nice head rub. If they start purring, continue to do it for at least 10 minutes.
Have things they enjoy when you are busy. Cat trees, window seating, and nice sounds go a long way for your cat’s happiness!
Consider an outdoor enclosure. Not only will this allow your cat to enjoy more freedom, but it will allow your cat to spend time with you safely outdoors.