Do Cats Get Lonely When You Work All Day?

An image featuring a content and relaxed cat standing on a table. The cat appears calm and at ease, but showing subtle signs of wanting some attention.

Understanding your cat's alone time

Ever wonder if your cat feels lonely during your workday? Understanding your cat’s personality and needs is essential.  In this article, we explore the behaviors and needs of cats when left alone for extended periods. Discover how long cats can typically tolerate being alone, signs of loneliness to watch for, and practical tips to keep your cat mentally stimulated and content.

Let’s break it down:

What Does Your Cat Do When You're Away?

Your cat will usually sleep for a few hours after you leave. If you are not home when they wake up, they will do several things to entertain themselves. They might look around for you, meow at the door, stand guard at the window, groom themselves, have a snack, play, or use the litter box. When they are finished with these activities, they will take another nap. They will repeat this pattern until you come home.

How long can cats be left alone?

Cats are usually ok to spend 8-12 hours by themselves. As long as they have food, water, and a comfy place to sleep that is! And toys, if they like to play with them. 18 hours is pushing it, but acceptable. But if you are going to be gone for more than that, please make sure someone can stop by to check on them! Your cat prefers fresh water, a full food dish, a clean litter box, and pets/ playtime.

Special Considerations for Kittens

Kittens are a different story. They shouldn’t be left alone for more than a few hours at a time during the first several months of their lives. They are naturally curious and will get into trouble very easily! They also need to be fed more frequently so they can get the nourishment they need to grow.

The Social Needs of Cats

Cats are independent, but they are still social creatures. They do need your attention, mental stimulation, and love! Some cats are much more social and need attention more often. This will vary by personality and breed.

Signs your cat might be lonely

So how do you tell if your cat is lonely? Symptoms of loneliness include lethargy, excessive sleeping, excessive grooming, lack of grooming, overeating, under eating, destructive behavior, aggression, excessive meowing, and not using the litter box. If your cat is exhibiting any of these symptoms, please always take them to the Vet first to rule out any medical causes. If there is no medical explanation, your cat is most likely lonely.

How to help your lonely cat

Introducing another cat or kitten into the home is an option, but it is a challenging one. Kittens and young cats are more likely to bond with another cat. But the older they get, the harder it is for cats to enjoy the company of another. Cats are territorial and they hate change. Please keep that in mind if you are thinking of bringing another cat or kitten into the family.
Here are some other ways to curb their loneliness:

– Make sure your cat has plenty of scratching surfaces. Scratch boxes, posts, and trees.

– Scatter interactive toys all around for your cat to play with. Treat puzzles and toys sprayed with catnip spray are very entertaining!

– Feed your cat before you leave.

– Have an intense play session before you leave! 15 minutes is usually enough time to wear them out.

– Plug in pheromone diffusers.

– Turn on the TV or radio! It might help them feel like they are not alone.

– Don’t announce that you are leaving. Go as quietly as possible.

– Always have someone check on your cat at least once every 24 hours if you are going out of town. Hiring a professional pet sitter is a great option! They will ensure that your cat gets some playtime, has fresh food and water, and a clean litter box. As a bonus- they will also monitor your home and bring in the mail.


Understanding your cat’s needs and behaviors when left alone is crucial for their well-being. While cats can tolerate being alone for a certain period, loneliness can impact their mental health. By providing mental stimulation, social interaction, and ensuring their basic needs are met, you can help keep your cat content even when you’re away.  If you notice any changes in behavior, consult a veterinarian. A mentally and physically healthy kitty companion is always the ultimate goal!

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Brandy Emmert

Hi! I'm the proud owner of Four Seasons For Paws, a renowned pet care company that provides dog training, dog walking, pet sitting, and home security checks. I am passionate about leading a team of certified, knowledgeable, compassionate pet care specialists and trainers who love pouring their hearts into caring for our animal companions. I love having the opportunity to provide complete peace of mind for so many pet parents in our community! And I love sharing advice and educating pet parents on any and all things that can enhance their lives, and the lives of their pets. ❤️

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