How Much Attention Do Cats Need?
While felines usually seem like they just don’t want to be bothered, they still require a few things from you. Some of those needs include food and water on a daily basis...
Vaccinations to prevent diseases, veterinarian examination once a year at least, a place where they can bury their poop, and they need to get spayed if you’re not intending to breed them. Pretty demanding, huh?
Beyond their physical needs, however, cats require something that a lot of people tend to forget or not be aware of in the first place, and that thing is attention.
Yes, cats require attention.
We’re all guilty of accusing our little feline buddies of being aloof and uncaring, but they’re actually the complete opposite, just not all of the time. Sometimes you just need to leave a cat unbothered.
The great thing about cats is that they don’t require as much attention as dogs do, so it won’t be very hard to care for a cat if you’re the only person who’s going to care for it.
You should also be aware that indoor cats require a lot more attention than an outdoor cat may need. But how much attention do cats actually need? Also, how long can you leave your feline buddy alone?
How Much Attention Does a Cat Need?
Cat’s don’t consider themselves inferior to us humans. Heck, with the way that some cats act, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to believe that some cats actually think of themselves as superior. Lions are the kings of the jungle, after all. Because of that, it takes more time and effort to bond with a cat than with a dog, especially domesticated cats.
Due to their seemingly stand-offish behaviors, we tend to think that felines don’t require much of our attention. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a cat can start to withdraw and get depressed if not provided with enough attention.
This doesn’t just mean filling their bowl with food and offering them water to drink, it also includes human interaction.
Not all cats require equal attention, though. It all boils down to the level of external stimulation a feline likes to get on a typical day. We’ve come across cats that don’t require attention at all, but we’ve also encountered ones that crave a lot of it. Regardless of how much attention cats need, it’s never going to amount to the level of attention that a dog needs from his human companion.
Outdoor vs Indoor Cats
The amount of attention that a cat needs varies depending on the cat’s spatial preferences. For example, a cat that likes to roam outdoors will likely seek less attention at home because it gets enough of it from outside.
Outdoor surroundings help such cats get in tune with their senses and their natural hunting instinct. It helps them observe different sounds and smells.
On the other hand, we have cats that prefer to stay indoors and don’t really have any interest in the outside world. These cats don’t get to utilize their senses and instincts that much, and so it’s your job as a cat owner to provide them with the attention they’re lacking.
Playtime with your cat can compensate for the attention they don’t get to experience outside.
On average, cats quire at least 10-20 minutes of your undivided attention every day. This isn’t a general rule of thumb, however, as some cats tend to be needier than others. Actually, there are cats they can get anxious and depressed if left alone for too long. Moreover, the age of the cat is also a major player when it comes to how much attention they need.
How Much Attention Does a Kitten Require?
The earliest days of a kitten’s life require your utmost attention. In fact, the question at hand isn’t valid in this phase of a cat’s life because there’s no such thing as too much attention for a kitten.
The brain of a kitten is similar to a sponge and you must use that to expose your young kitten to as many new experiences and people as you can. By exposing your kitten to new experiences and people, you help it grow into a happy adult cat.
The first few weeks of a kitten’s life can decide whether they grow to be sociable cats or not. It’s important to keep in mind that kittens have a lot of energy and they like to move a lot. If you’re a busy person who doesn’t have time to waste, you shouldn’t get a pet kitten.
However, there’s a way around this if you really want a kitten. What you can do is get two kittens instead of one so that they can play together and offer each other the attention they need.
There are things you need to be aware of when it comes to raising two kittens, though. Your kittens will grow to be two adult cats that require twice the attention from you.
One on One Time
Additionally, you’ll have to spend one-on-one time with each one of your kittens periodically. The reason why is that if your kittens spend all of their time together, they’ll grow to expect and fear separation.
If you separate two cats that have spent all of their time together as kittens, they can go through severe depression and isolation.
So how much attention do kittens need in minutes? Well, if you have more than one kitten, an hour a day should be fine. We advise that you divide that hour into two, thirty-minute slots.
If you only have one kitten, on the other hand, you want to spend more than just an hour with it since it has no other kitten to play with.
Not only do you need to spend some time with your kittens, but you also need to continuously supervise them because they can be very curious and may end up in places they shouldn’t be in.
A kitten’s curiosity is doubled if it’s not getting enough attention from you as it will try twice as hard to find it somewhere else, so try to keep an eye on your kitten as much as possible.
How Much Attention Does an Adult Cat Require?
In that stage of a cat’s life, the energy and playfulness that you’ve got to see in its earlier months begin to decrease and the cat begins to calm down, which is good news for you because you’re not going to have to watch it like you used to before.
In fact, you can just let it be for hours and it will be just fine. But that’s only under the condition that it’s getting enough stimulation daily.
Unlike a younger cat, an adult cat doesn’t crave as much attention from you, but it doesn't mean that it’s completely indifferent to human interaction. At this stage, it becomes very important that you establish a stimulation routine for your cat so that it doesn't grow anxious and distressed.
In order to go about giving your cat its daily dose of attention, it’s advised to use a schedule. You must feed your cat at the same time every day or it becomes confused. The same applies to its need for human interaction.
You must play with it every day at the same time or else it will crave more attention. Cats are nocturnal, and you don’t want to be woken up in the dead of the night
Ideally, you want to give your cat twenty minutes of your time every day at the same time. Also, you want to give your cat a few minutes of your attention when you first wake up and before you go to sleep. This way, you train your cat to expect attention at specific times during the day and you get to sleep calmly without having your toes nibbled overnight.
How Much Attention Does a Senior Cat Require?
As your cat grows into her more senior years (seven or more), caring for your cat gets a little bit more delicate. You still want to maintain the same routine you had with your feline buddy when it was younger, but there are additional things you need to do.
Don’t let your cat’s old age fool you into thinking that it doesn’t crave your attention as it did before.
Senior cats tend to be more inactive and stationary. You shouldn’t take this as a chance to get complacent with your cat, it still needs your attention but it’s just a little lazy to show it.
Your job is to prevent your cat from getting too lazy because it will drive your cat to get obese, which is very dangerous for cats, especially the older ones.
Senior cats require exercise to avoid obesity. You should find a way to incorporate your cat’s favorite stimulation into its routine to help it move its body. Keep in mind that as cats grow old, their kidneys begin to struggle. Obesity can cause a lot of strain on your cat’s heart. Spending twenty minutes with your senior cat every day should be ideal, but it will need encouragement.
Cat Breeds That Require the Most Attention
There are certain breeds of cats that require human interaction more than others. They expect to be played with on a daily basis for a considerable amount of time that may span more than just twenty minutes.
If you plan on petting a cat that belongs to any of those breeds, you must schedule your time accordingly. Some of those breeds include the Sphinx, Siamese, Tonkinese, Egyptian Mau, Ragdoll, and Cornish
On the other hand, you have cats that really don’t mind not seeing your face regularly. Some of those breeds include the Norweigian Forest Cat, Russian Blue, Persian, British Shorthair, and the Scottish Fold Maine Coon.
While they don’t require much attention, this doesn’t mean that you get to skip the daily twenty minutes of playtime.
How to Give Your Cat Attention
There are more than you can do to provide the attention your cat needs than just playtime. Cats identify their owners through their voices and not through their faces, so sometimes all you need to do is just talk to your little feline buddy.
The more you talk and the more your cat gets to hear your voice, the more it will feel included in your life and cared for.
Grooming and Petting
Another way you can provide attention to your cat is through grooming and petting. When a cat rubs against you, let it rub for as much as it wants.
This is their way of claiming ownership over certain things. And yes, you’re one of your cat’s belongings. A lick from your cat is an adorable sign of approval from it too.
When your cat jumps into your lap, seize the opportunity to brush its hair, but be wary of signs that indicate that your cat has enough brushing. Keep in mind that cat skin is very sensitive and over brushing it can do more harm than good.
Also, don’t brush your cat unless it displays signs of wanting it. All of us are guilty of playing with our cats when they don’t seem like they want to.
Use a Laser Pointer
One of the best ways you can entertain your cat and stimulate their hunting instincts is to invest in a laser pointer. You can also use a fishing rod or a small ball. This will help the cat get in touch with its hunting nature.
This really goes a long way, especially for indoor cats because that’s one of the very few ways they can utilize their instincts.
Signs Your Cat Needs Attention
If your cat starts feeling ignored and that it doesn’t get enough of your attention, it’s going to let you know. One of the ways it can do that is by letting out elongated meows.
When a cat lets out a short, sharp meow, it’s basically saying hi. However, when the meow is long and elongated, it means that your cat requires some of your time.
Another sign that indicates that your cat needs attention is when it paws at your face or hands. Cats tend to do that especially when you’re immersed in something else.
Also, cats can demand your attention by walking between your legs. Be careful when they do they because it may trip you up while moving. They can also nap at your fingers, toes, or ankles for attention.
Cats have some other not-so-cool ways to demand your attention like knocking your things off tables and counters. Don’t let anger be your first reaction to such incidents and understand that your cat is only seeking your attention.
Also, you may find your hiding inside your possessions. We’re sure that this has happened before and you’ve spent hours looking for your feline only to find it hiding in your closet.
There are things that you need to keep into consideration when you provide attention to your cat. When your cat starts to display signs of attention-seeking, you need to wait for a while before you start playing with it.
If you don't, your cat will start to think that it can get your attention at any time, which will grow old after a while.
However, you have to handle this carefully because ignoring your cat will only result in anxiety. The best way you can go about handing your cat some attention is to wait until it calms down completely then engaging in some quality playtime with it.
If you maintain a regular routine, the cat will know that its needs will be met on time and it won’t bother you until then.
There’s more to cats than you might have thought, huh? We all love our cats but we also love uninterrupted hours of quality sleep.
Not only do you save yourself the trouble of waking up in the dead of night because your cat is fiddling with your toes by sticking to a specific routine, but you also offer your little feline buddies some reassurance that their needs will be met on time.
Also Read: 10 Scents that Repel Cats