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Do Cats Get Lonely When You Go to Work? Vet-Reviewed Signs & Entertainment Tips

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on June 6, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat indoor_Melanie Hogue_Pixabay

Do Cats Get Lonely When You Go to Work? Vet-Reviewed Signs & Entertainment Tips


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Many people have the view that cats are antisocial; however, that isn’t true. Cats are very affectionate creatures; they socialize in ways different from ours, and there are variations in how sociable cats are toward humans. While we show affection to our cats by petting or cuddling with them, cats tend to socialize by sitting near us or rubbing up against us.

When we go to work, how much do our cats miss us? Do they even notice? Cats miss you. They might get lonely when you are away at work and enjoy it when you return home¹. For advice on how to spot the signs of loneliness as well as how to help your cat cope, keep reading below.

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Signs of Loneliness in Cats

Lonely cats can experience behavioral changes. If you want to know whether your cat is lonely, there are some signs that you can watch out for. However, it is essential to note that some of these signs can also indicate a medical condition. If your cat displays these signs, take them to the vet to rule out a health concern before assuming it is due to loneliness.

1. Sleeping Often

Cats sleep a lot, so frequent napping is not generally a glaring concern. However, there can be instances where increased sleeping results from depression due to loneliness. If you have noticed that your cat’s sleeping patterns have significantly changed, it could indicate that they are lacking energy due to loneliness. However, you should first get them checked by your vet to rule out a medical condition.

cat sleeping on couch
Photo Credit: Jumpstory

2. Destructive Behavior

No one likes to see their cat destroy their things. If your cat makes a habit of destroying your stuff while you are away at work, this could be due to the stress of being away from you.

3. Aggression

If your cat has experienced a shift in behavior and personality, especially toward aggression, this is a sign that something is amiss. However, aggression can come from many sources, so be sure that you rule out the possibility of other medical or environmental problems as the trigger.

Imahe Credit: Vshivkova, Shutterstock

4. Not Using the Litter Box

There are several possible reasons that your cat may not use their litter box, and the stress and anxiety of being apart from you are among them. If you come home from work and see a mess on the floor, it may signify that your cat is lonely without you. However, make sure you check with your vet before assuming it is due to loneliness, as cat litter box issues should never be overlooked.

5. Excessive Vocalization

Does your cat meow, yowl, or cry often? If so, this could be due to a desire for attention after you have been away for a long time.

Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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How to Keep Your Cat Entertained While You Are at Work

Keeping your cat entertained won’t get rid of their loneliness, but it can distract them from it until you return. It may seem impossible to entertain your cat while you are away from home, but there are ways that you can help keep your cat distracted even when you aren’t around.

1. Interactive Toys and Puzzles

Cat Playing Frisco Cat Tracks Butterfly Cat Toy
Image Credit: Frisco, Chewy

Interactive toys and puzzles are a great way to exercise your cat while keeping them mentally stimulated. These products can give them plenty to do while you are gone, especially if treats are involved.

Our Favorite Cat Toys Right Now

Here are a some of our favorite toys, each catering to a variety of senses and play preferences. Which one will your feline fancy? 

Hepper Mouse kicker toy Hepper Furballs
Hepper Plush Mouse Kicker Toy Hepper Furball Toy Set
Multisensory :
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At Catster, we've admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

2. Leave Bags or Boxes for Your Cat

You’ve probably seen plenty of funny pictures or videos on the internet of cats ignoring their new, expensive toys in favor of playing with the box or bag. Cats find boxes and bags entertaining, so why not leave a few out for your pet?

However, make sure that the bags are paper, not plastic. If they get caught in the plastic, they could suffocate. Likewise, you should remove any handles on the paper bag before leaving them for your cat. They could get their head stuck in the handle, which could be a choking hazard.

3. Purchase Cat Furniture

Cat walking on wooden walkway with cat toy in mouth
Image Credit: Arina Krasnikova, Pexels

Although boxes and bags are a cheap and effective option, they won’t be able to entertain your cat forever. If you have the budget and room, consider purchasing some cat furniture. This includes cat trees, scratching posts, and scratching benches. Not only will these give your cat some entertainment, but they may also protect your furniture from your cat’s scratching!

4. Leave the Blinds Open

If you make a habit of closing all of the blinds while you are away from home, you may want to reconsider. While your cat is alone, it can be difficult for them to find their entertainment, even if you leave out a bunch of toys for them. They may want to pass the time by looking outside at the world. If they can’t, they may feel under-stimulated and resort to destructive behaviors.

5. Take Advantage of Cat TV or Remote-Control Toys

a cat playing with toys
Image Credit: winni-design, Shutterstock

Have you ever heard of cat television? There are videos on YouTube and DVDs that you can purchase that provide your cat with something to watch. It may sound ridiculous to leave the television on for your cat, but some cats find these programs interesting!

If cat television isn’t the right fit for your cat, consider using remote-control toys. Several remote products allow you to check in on your cat with a video feed and even offer them treats.


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Does Your Cat Need Another Cat?

If none of the above suggestions seem to ease your cat’s loneliness, you may start to consider getting them a feline companion. It is best to discuss this option with your vet first. Of course, introducing a new cat into the house should be a delicate and slow process, as both cats need to grow accustomed to each other. However, once your cats grow used to each other, they may become increasingly fond of one another and keep the loneliness away.


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It is impossible to be with your cat every second of the day; even if it were practical, it probably would not be something they would want. But when you are away from them for prolonged periods, they may feel lonely and act out. Curbing this behavior can be as simple as providing them more mental stimulation while you are gone or as drastic as adopting a new four-legged family member. Whatever you decide, we hope you can come to a solution that benefits both yourself and your cat.

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Featured Image Credit: Melanie Hogue, Pixabay

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