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Warning Signs That Your Cat Is Lonely

Warning Signs That Your Cat Is Lonely

I adopted my calico cat, Blaze, when she was 8 weeks old, and I had just left a failed love affair and was living alone – again! — on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Blaze was a beauty – a collage of white, orange and brown fur, with a “blaze” of color fanning out from her green eyes. She needed a home; I needed a friend; it seemed like a win-win situation.

Wrong!

I worked a newspaper job at the time, and left little Blaze alone for 9 hours each day. Hey, a gal’s gotta work, I reasoned. And since cats are supposed to keep their own counsel, I figured she’d sleep all day and welcome me with open paws at night.

But when I returned each evening, Blaze displayed all the symptoms of a lonely cat.

• She meowed incessantly, and I’d carry her around in my shirt all night, because she wouldn’t leave my side.
• She coughed up huge hairballs because she obsessively groomed herself when I was gone.
• She didn’t touch her food until I finally showed up, when she ate like it was her last meal.
• Occasionally, she ripped a throw pillow to shreds.

Clearly, Blaze needed a friend, someone to pal around with until I returned from work. So when Blaze was 6 months old, I brought home Fonzy cat, a 10-week old, pitch-black fuzzball with a tough little face and a happy personality.

Wrong, again!

Blaze hated Fonzy from the moment he pranced into that one-bedroom condo. She hissed, she stalked, she pounced and grabbed Fonzy in her paws and roughly licked his face – the cat equivalent of a wet willy.

My lonely cat became a pissed off cat. Not only did Blaze hate Fonzy, she wasn’t too happy with me, either. If Fonzy hopped on my lap, Blaze lept off. If I rubbed Fonzy’s belly, Blaze sulked under my bed until she got a chance to pounce Fonzy.

I now realize I made poor decisions that hurt Blaze and Fonzy. And I’m sharing my story, so you don’t make the same mistakes. Here’s what I should have done to help Blaze feel better in my absence.

• Provide more stimulating toys to keep Blaze better entertained, something that moved, like one of those long feathers on a stand.
• Add a window perch so Blaze could have looked out on city life, more entertaining than staring at the same four walls.
• Rotated toys, so some would seem new and more interesting again.
• Placed food in a food-dispensing toy, so Blaze could work for a meal.
• Paid a cat sitter to keep my cat company. Hey, people do that.

And, if I really wanted another cat, I should have introduced Fonzy slowly, maybe fostered him for a few days to see if the couple was a match.

Blaze tortured Fonzy for years, until he outweighed her by 5 pounds. By then, I had met the man I would marry, who owned an adorable cocker spaniel that both cats could hate together: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

 

Related:
5 Ways to Keep Your Pet Happy While You’re Away
6 Myths About Cat Litter

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Depression, Everyday Pet Care, Pet Health, Pets, Remedies & Treatments, , , , ,

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Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Lisa Kaplan Gordon, creator of frugalgarden.com, is an award-winning journalist, avid gardener and fly-fisher. She lives in Northern Virginia on a half acre that always needs weeding. Please visit her on Twitter (@kaplan_lisa) and Facebook (Lisa Kaplan Gordon)

247 comments

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7:37PM PDT on Mar 27, 2015

Reminds me of my cat sometimes if he doesn't get his own way, amusing, thank you for sharing.

7:35PM PDT on Mar 27, 2015

Great photo, the cat looks really cheesed off, hahahaha

6:11AM PDT on Mar 17, 2015

Thank you for sharing

2:33AM PDT on Mar 10, 2015

First i had " Bongo", he was alone for about 1 year, rushed home from work because i know he needs company,,,
A friend of mine gave me " Misha " he was about 3 months old,,, as soon as i brought him home Bongo took care of him like a big brother,,, both share the same litterbox,,, sleep together, play together,,, i guess i am very lucky ( and both are neutered )

8:51PM PST on Feb 20, 2015

Cute story. Thanks for sharing :")

12:55PM PST on Feb 20, 2015

Noted. thank you.

11:40AM PST on Feb 20, 2015

I LOVE THIS STORY OF BLAZE OND FONZY.......LOL AND THEN THEY GET THE SAME ENEMY........THANK YOU I NEEDED A LAUGH BOOSTER

10:01AM PST on Feb 20, 2015

T Y.

8:25PM PST on Feb 17, 2015

I know it's not possible to introduce a new cat into your home, if you already have a cat, unless they're both very young kittens. My cats & dogs always got on well as I only started them sharing my home when they were very young, including strays, & rescues. Sadly now I have only one cat left, even though I'm retired & home most of the time, this cat is clearly lonely being the last one left.

7:28PM PST on Feb 11, 2015

Thank you.

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