• Wed. May 29th, 2024

How Much Attention Do Cats Need? Here’s How to Tell


May 4, 2023
owner stroking and scratching orange cats face


owner stroking and scratching orange cats face

Independent, aloof, solitary—people say cats have all these traits. But even though cats don’t need as much one-on-one time as some other pets, they still have a social side. Cats love attention just as much as any other pet when the time is right. Every cat will have different social needs, but most cats need at least 20 minutes of attention from their owners per day.


How to Give Your Cat Attention

Every cat loves different types of attention. Many cats love being petted or scratched, but others might not love touch quite as much. Some cats are lap cuddlers, while others hate being picked up. And most cats could use some daily exercise with toys like feather wands or laser pointers. Spend some time figuring out what your cat loves most. It’s essential to give your cat some of this dedicated, active attention every day.

Cats also like to be social in less obvious ways. You might notice your cat coming to sit a few feet away from you and stare off into the distance. It might seem like your cat is purposefully ignoring you, but this is actually a common way for cats to spend time with their loved ones. You might also see your cat meet your eye and blink slowly or curl up next to you and fall asleep—both of these are ways for your cat to show that it cares about and trusts you.

Portrait of a young beautiful woman in a yellow shirt hugging kissing with a gray fluffy cat sitting
Image Credit: Olesya Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

The 4 Ways to Tell if Your Cat Needs More Attention

Every cat has different emotional needs, but luckily cats are pretty good at asking for attention when they need it. You just need to learn your cat’s language. Here are some of the most common ways your cat might ask for attention.

1. Meowing at You

Cats meow to communicate with humans, and sometimes that is asking for attention. If your cat isn’t asking for anything in specific, a meow is probably a call for you to give them some love.

2. Winding Around Your Legs

Cat rubs against human legs
Image Credit: Nataliya Derkach, Shutterstock

Does your cat have a death wish? If your cat tries to make you trip, you might be annoyed at the moment. But cats love to rub up against you as a way of bonding. If you have a minute, sit down and give your cat some scratches.

3. Destructive Behavior

It’s hard to tell when a cat is being destructive because it’s a cat and when it’s trying to get your attention. But sometimes, cats that are feeling ignored will act up on purpose to get you to notice them. Cats that are undersocialized also tend to have pent-up energy that can lead to destructiveness.

4. Waiting for You to Come Home

Cat inside house looking out the window
Image Credit: rebecaml, Pixabay

Is there anything cuter than seeing your cat at the window watching for you? If your cat is home alone for most of the day, it will probably miss you by the time you get home. If your cat comes running when you pull up or waits at the door for you, see if you can work a few minutes into your schedule to say hello when you get home for the day.


Last Thoughts

If you’re a cat owner, you’re responsible for more than just food, water, and litter. You want your cat to feel loved and cared for. It’s easy to fall into a rut and stop paying attention to your cat when you’re busy. But luckily, cats don’t need much time. Spending just a few minutes every day to pet, cuddle, and play with your kitty will go a long way toward helping both of you feel happier.

Featured Image Credit: Eliz A, Shutterstock

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