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How Much Attention Do Cats Need?

How Much Attention Do Cats Need?

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Every cat is unique and they all have their own needs and habits. However, spending about 20 – 30 minutes a day with your cat, giving it your full attention, will be enough for most cats. 

Your cat might need less attention, or even more, or it might depend on the day. My cats need more than that, almost every day! But then again, they might have just gotten used to it. 

I know I might have spoiled my cats a bit by cuddling them more than necessary. I just couldn’t help it, and now my cats are used to getting a lot of attention every day, some more than others, but still. 

As each cat came to our home, I cuddled them more and more. I just wanted them to get along and get used to living together in my house. I got carried away and now I spend a lot more than 20 minutes per day petting my cats.

Since there are six of them, I feel like I spend most of my time, when I’m at home, with them. There’s always one of them snuggling up to me or taking a nap in my lap. Anyways, let’s see how much attention will keep your cat satisfied for the day. 

Factors That Influence The Amount Of Attention A Cat Needs

Happy kitten likes being stroked by woman's hand

The biggest factor affecting the amount of attention your cat needs is its life stage and health. If your cat is healthy and young, it won’t need too much attention. The 20 to 30 minutes per day, I mentioned earlier, will suffice. 

However, if you have an older cat or if your cat has developed some health conditions that require more care, overall, you’ll need to provide it with more attention as well.

In their paper on Loving Care for Older Cats, Dr. Levine and Dr. Goldstein from Cornell University explain that as cats get older, they require more attention. They say that the same goes for cats with chronic health issues. 

In an article about the Special Need of the Senior Cat, from Cornell University, we see that stressful situations in your senior cat’s life will require you to provide it with more affection and attention. 

Common Signs That Show Your Cat Craves Attention

White fluffy cat with multicolored eyes sitting and meows

When a cat wants your attention, it can be hard for them to express it. However, every cat will find a way to show you that they need your attention. You just have to look closely and observe your cat’s body language and behavior. 

Your Cat Acts Aggressively

When laying between your legs doesn’t work, your cat may become violent and scratch or even bite your ankles in an effort to catch your attention. While this is effective, you shouldn’t act on it. In this instance, you must scold your cat and then leave.

According to a study on Feline Behavior Problems, which focuses on aggression, it is better to ignore the cat and not give in to its needs. Not providing your cat with the attention it seeks is a better method for dealing with aggression. 

Even though it pains me to say it, that is the only way to teach your cat not to ask for attention by biting or scratching. Don’t worry, your cat will soon find a different way of asking for attention. 

Your Cat Is Meowing Too Much Or Is Unusually Silent

This depends on your cat. If your cat is usually pretty quiet and then all of a sudden, it becomes very vocal, then it’s trying to communicate its needs with you. 

On the other hand, if your cat is normally vocal and “chatty”, and one day it just falls silent, this may be its way of ignoring you for not paying attention.

See also: Why Is My Cat Meowing So Much? Causes & Ways To Stop It

Your Cat Is Misbehaving

When your cat jumps straight up into your face, jumps on your lap, or attempts to join whatever you’re doing, this is the most common indicator that it wants your attention. They can also communicate this by following you around and flopping in front of your legs

Also, when a cat misbehaves in different ways, such as chewing the rug or scratching the sofa, it is a clear indication that your cat is bored and seeking attention. This can also manifest by your cat purposely knocking things down. 

Check out this hilarious video I stumbled upon, it made my day!

Your Cat Has Got The Zoomies

Finally, a sign that you probably already know is when your cat gets the zoomies. When this happens, you know your cat is begging for attention or is extremely bored, or both of these combined. 

This is when a cat runs frantically around the house, acting crazy, and most usually, also knocking things down (like a full glass of water off the table) and so on. 

Ugh, I hate when this happens, maybe that’s why I spend most of my time at home cuddling my cats. Lol.

How To Provide Enough Attention To Your Cat

Young woman with her beautiful white cat at home

If there’s one thing I know about my cats, it’s that they love to eat, and they love, love, love all the attention they can get from us (especially from me). 

Cuddle With Your Cat

The most simple “method” of providing your cat with the attention it needs is to cuddle them. However, some cats don’t have “cuddles” at the top of their priority list.

Many cats enjoy simply sitting in the living room and being next to you while you watch a movie. Learn your cat’s preferences so you’ll know which form of attention suits it best. 

Groom & Bond

Cats enjoy being combed and brushed, well, maybe not at first. But once you teach them and they get that habit, they enjoy being groomed. Grooming is also a great way of strengthening the bond between the two of you. 

You help keep your cat’s fur clean and beautiful, you keep your house hair-free, plus, you’re bonding with your feline friend. It’s a win, no matter what angle you look at it from! 

I know, based on my experiences, that most cats will gladly sit in the bathroom for hours while you brush them. 

Playtime Is Always A Great Idea

Don’t forget playtime! Playing with your cats is always a fantastic idea, and a great way to provide your cat with the attention it needs every day. Whether it’s a feather wand or a ball, you can both enjoy your playtime together. 

Look for different toys and different materials so your cat can always have something new to play with, even when you’re not home. This is also a terrific way for you to relieve stress after a hard day’s work. 

Helpful Tips For Entertainment

Girl playing with her cat

Cats require different toys and many toys as well. In order to keep them entertained, you should buy or DIY different toys so when they’re done playing with one, there’s a different one they can play with. 

Toys, Toys, Toys, But Don’t Overdo It

However, be careful not to overstimulate your cat with too many different materials and scents. It is advised that indoor cats should have up to ten different toys. And as we all know, cats find amusement in the simplest of things. 

I think about how many times I’ve bought something, either for my cats or for me, and they ended up playing with the box or wrapping paper it came in. 

Cats And Boxes

Cats are known for their love of boxes. So, it’s always a good idea to have a box or two somewhere around your house that your cats can have fun with. I know my cats have spent many hours, sometimes a whole day, playing with a box. 

Jumping in and out, clawing at it, chasing one another, or even hiding inside. Cats are truly remarkable and interesting creatures! After playing, some cats also fall asleep in the box. Other toys, like interactive ones, or something as simple as a ball, are also good. 

This is especially useful for times when you’re not going to be at home. For that time, you can also install a window perch so your cat can relax in its personal space while looking outside.

Additionally, you can place a bird feeder outside near the window. This is a great way to help out little birds and save them from starvation, but it will also definitely keep your cat entertained for as long as the birds are there. 

Consider Adopting Another Kitty

Finally, having a companion is a terrific idea if your cat is friendly and sociable. Having a cat to hang out with while you’re not home will keep your cat occupied all the time. It is great for a cat to bond and spend time with another cat. 

Your cat will socialize better, and won’t ever be bored, anxious, or lonely. However, if your cat is used to being the only pet, it might be hard for it to get used to other pets in the house. 


Young woman playing with cat in home

How Long Can Cats Go Without Attention?

Most cats are ok with you being gone for work and being left alone for 8 to 10 hours. Just always make sure that your cat has enough clean water, food, and toys to keep it entertained. Never leave your cat alone for more than 24 hours. 

What Happens If You Don’t Give Your Cat Attention?

Your cat will probably either act aggressively or get depressed. Either one of these outcomes is bad. 

If your cat is anxious or depressed, that can easily lead to more health issues. On the other hand, if your cat chooses to misbehave, this can lead to it taking its revenge on your furniture or destroying items around the house.

What Is The Best Type Of Attention For A Cat?

This will solely depend on your cat, its personality, and its everyday lifestyle. However, some of the best ways to show affection and provide attention to your cat are playtime, cuddle sessions, and grooming. You decide which one suits your cat the best. 

Final Thoughts

How much attention do cats need can only be answered by observing your cat and their behavior. Only you know your cat’s body language, so pay close attention to find out what your cat might prefer. 

Don’t ever force your attention or love at a time when your cat doesn’t feel like it. Always read the room. Pay attention to your cat’s needs and let it lead the way. 

Also, if you’re going to make some life changes that mean spending less time with your cat, make sure to prepare the cat for it. 

Work on adjusting your cat to a new daily routine and if you’re ever concerned about your cat’s well-being, consult your vet. If you notice any behavioral change in your cat, or if it seems unwell or unhappy, talk to your vet or a certified cat behaviorist. 

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