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

391 comments

Freya H
Freya H8 days ago

I used to have just one cat, and I didn't like thinking of her being all by her lonesome. After she passed over the rainbow bridge, I acquired two rescue kittens who are littermates. I love to watch them interact - and it's reassuring knowing that they keep each other company when I am out.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O18 days ago

Of course cats need company. Get a second cat.

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David C
David C20 days ago

meow

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Brandy S
Brandy S21 days ago

Thank you.

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Ruth S
Ruth S23 days ago

Thanks.

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Toni W
Toni W23 days ago

TYFS

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Toni W
Toni W23 days ago

TYFS

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Karen and Ed O
Karen and Ed O26 days ago

Hmm. Sounds like you let a bad situation go to worse and finally terrible. Why is it okay for those cats to terrorize what was probably once a happy dog? Seriously?

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Carl R
Carl R28 days ago

Thanks!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cABVKIPk_u0

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Clare O'Beara
Clare Oabout a month ago

care for cats

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