How Much Attention Do Cats Need In a Day?

by Emily Bingham
How much attention do cats need?

Are you adopting a cat, and need to know if you have enough time to spend with him? Are you new to the paw-rent life and want to give your kitty what she needs?

Cats are known as pretty low-maintenance pets compared to other animals like dogs and rabbits. They don’t need much training or supervision, for the most part. 

But, how much attention do cats need? Keep reading to find out how much attention cats really need and the best ways to give it to them!

Understanding Cat Behavior

Studies in cat behavior are pretty limited in comparison to dogs. They are pretty complex when you think about it. However, we know that they have an instinctual need to hunt, tend to be solitary, and are picky with whom they form their bonds. 

Other studies have shown that cats can recognize their names and even make recognizable facial expressions. But for now, let’s start with the basics of cat behavior.

A Cat’s Need to Hunt

Though they’re domesticated, cats are elite hunters that love to track, stalk and play with their prey. Even indoor cats that have never needed to hunt or even see the outdoors have this instinct. 

Solitary Behavior

Cats, for the most part, tend to be solitary creatures. Feral cats often hunt alone and only mingle for mating purposes or in colonies of siblings. This is also true in domesticated bonded pairs, often in parent-offspring or sibling pairs. 

Selective Bonding

While it’s true that cats form deep bonds with their owners, they tend to be pretty selective about who they bond with the most. Most cats in a house full of people will have a favorite person they cling to the most. That doesn’t mean that he hates everyone else, however. Cats can make good family pets in the right situation. 

How Much Attention Do Cats Need?

A cat getting attention

If you asked my cat, he’d tell you that he demands all my attention. But, all cats are different. I’ve also had a cat who was good with an hour of being with people. The rest was spent running around or sleeping. 

Every cat is different, with individual personalities and needs. But on average, experts say that most cats can do with around 20-30 minutes of your undivided attention. Like I said, your cat may need more. I know mine certainly does. 

Personally, I spend all day, give or take a few hours, with my cat. Since I work from home, I can do that. But, I know that’s not the case for everyone. He gets a lot of attention, and it’s a good fit because he’s a very needy little guy. 

How Long Can a Cat Be Left Alone?

Cats are not like dogs. They don’t need daycare or a walker. Cats can be left for the day if given enough food, water, and toys. 

But, it should never be any longer than a day without supervision. Also, kittens and senior cats shouldn’t really be left for that long as they will need more attention.

Signs Your Cat Needs More Attention

Cats may not speak up and tell you that they need your attention. But, boy, do they know how to communicate. Here are some of the signs your cat needs more of your attention. 

Destructive Behavior

When a cat becomes destructive, for example, tearing up the carpet or clawing the furniture, this is a sheer sign that he’s bored and looking for attention. This can also take the form of cats purposely knocking things over. 

Getting in Your Way

The most obvious sign that your cat is seeking your attention is when he gets right in your face, hops on your lap, or tries to maneuver his way into whatever you’re doing. This can also look like following you everywhere, weaving between your legs. 

Unusual Silence or Meowing

If your cat is usually chatty and goes silent on you, this may be a way of giving you the cold shoulder for not giving him any attention. Or, if your cat is usually quiet and suddenly becomes chatty, he’s trying to tell you something. 

Zoomies

Another clear sign your cat needs more attention is when he gets the zoomies. When cats are bored or looking for attention, they’ll run around, act crazy, and maybe knock a few things over. 

Becoming Aggressive 

Lastly, in a last-ditch attempt to grab your attention, especially if weakening between your legs doesn’t work, your cat might get aggressive and claw your leg or bite your ankles. While it works (how can you ignore that?), it shouldn’t be rewarded with positive attention. In this case, you will need to discipline your cat and walk away.  

How to Give Your Cat More Attention

Cat getting attention and being brushed

If I know anything about cats, I know they love two things: hunting and getting attention, especially from their “chosen person.” Here are 3 of the best ways to give your cat some love and attention. 

Cuddling

The first and easiest way to give your cat attention is by giving them some cuddles. While not all cats want to be mauled and snuggled, many cats love to just sit on the couch with their people. It’s just that simple. When the day is over, and you’re watching TV, invite your kitty to join you on the couch.

Playtime

Playtime is another great way to give your cat some attention while keeping them active. Grab a cat toy and play for 20 minutes to help him release some energy while bonding with him.

Grooming

Lastly, cats love getting brushed (when they’re used to it). You can spend some time grooming your cat to help with bonding while keeping his coat shiny and your house free of hair! Most cats will sit for hours for a good brush. 

Do Cats Get Bored Easily?

Indoor cats are much more prone to boredom than cats that go outside. After all, inside, there’s nothing to hunt, less to explore, and less to do. Without a variety of things to play with or watch from the window, a house cat can get bored quickly. 

When cats are too used to having nothing to do, this makes them lazy, which causes obesity. Feline obesity is extremely common. The only way to prevent it is by keeping your cat active and entertained. 

Keeping Your Cat Entertained

Like I said, indoor cats can get bored pretty easily, which leads to destructive behavior and weight gain. So, here are some ways you can keep your cat entertained. You can also get more ideas on how to entertain your cat here

Variety of Toys

Cats need a variety of different toys to keep them stimulated. Once they’re bored with one, they can move on to another. However, it’s important that you don’t over stimulate your cat as well. Anywhere between 5-10 toys is recommended for indoor cats. 

A Box

You’d be surprised how many times I’ve gotten a new toy for my cat, only for him to be more interested in the box it came in. Seriously, cats just love boxes. They can spend hours scratching and jumping in/out of a box. Then, they sleep in it. 

Self-Play Toys

Having toys that your cat can play with on his own is really handy for times when you’re busy or not at home to give him attention. My cat George’s favorites are the Catit Senses 2.0 Circuit and his catnip-stuffed mouse.

Window or Catio

Have a window with a view or a cat-proofed patio to give your cat some enrichment while you’re away. You can even put a bird feeder by the window for your cat to watch the birds without scaring them or subjecting them to… Well, you know what cats do with birds. 

Another Cat 

Lastly, a great way to keep your cat constantly entertained is for him to have a pal. Sometimes, it isn’t possible. But, even being socialized and bonded with another pet can help prevent your cat from getting bored or lonely. 

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