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

341 comments

Ruth S
Ruth S9 hours ago

Thanks.

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Lisa H
Lisa Hyesterday

I've been so lucky with the cats I've had during my life. The two cats I have at the moment are brothers, actual litter mates. I just couldn't separate them when I heard from the woman at the shelter how the older one protected the youngest one from the other two litter mates!

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Sarah C
Sarah Crockett2 days ago

Thanks.

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Carl R
Carl R3 days ago

Thanks!!!!

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Naomi D
Naomi D5 days ago

Hmmmmm. Interesting.

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Shirley S
Shirley S9 days ago

Good info & some good comments.

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Leanne K
Leanne K10 days ago

Cats make life so interesting

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W. C
W. C11 days ago

Thanks.

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Chad A
Chad A11 days ago

Thank you.

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David C
David C11 days ago

thanks, we're lucky so far I guess

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