My kitty is the center of the universe
October 13, 2009 11:50 AM   Subscribe

My cat is used to getting a lot of attention, but is now left home alone for most of the day. How can I ensure she doesn't feel too lonely?

My cat, Rani, is a tough old girl. She's 13 and for most of those years, my mom was home with her and lavished her with tons of attention.

Mom has now moved overseas and I have Rani. I work all day, so Rani's always home alone. When I get home, she's very clingy and wants lots of petting.

Is there something I can do so she stays occupied during the day and doesn't feel so alone? I've tried getting her cat toys, but she doesn't like any of them.

Thanks for any and all suggestions.
posted by reenum to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Bird feeder by the window. I was in a similar situation and felt bad for our cat right up till I staid home from work sick one time on the living room couch. Those birds spent ALL DAY buzzing her, eating from the feeder with abandon. There was even a squirrel who'd climb up a tree and make 5 foot leap to the 3rd floor balcony to get to the feeder. She ignored me the whole day except to turn around and meow in a sort of "Shut up I'm busy here" sort of way. I couldn't believe it! So... bird feeder by the window.
posted by jwells at 11:59 AM on October 13, 2009 [8 favorites]

At thirteen, she might be a bit old for a kitten as a companion, but perhaps another, older feline companion would be good.

If another cat isn't an option, then maybe a window box - the sort of enclosure that hangs out a window for cats to watch nature. Or a video of birds/bugs/prey cats like to hunt (I don't have this, but whenever the nature channel is on my tv, my youngest cat 'hunts' the prey critters on the screen).

On preview: maybe a window box enclosure combined with a bird feeder!
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 12:01 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

My older kitty used to wait at the top of the stairs for me when I came home. And when I left, I could hear him yowling for me.

So I got him a kitten. He's only a year and a half older than she is, though.

He sometimes still goes looking for me when I'm gone (according to my wife). But, all in all, he's far less lonely.
posted by Netzapper at 12:23 PM on October 13, 2009

Best answer: Talk radio.
posted by sunshinesky at 12:30 PM on October 13, 2009

Best answer: My older cat died in August and we've definitely noticed our remaining cat being more excited to see us when we get home from work. My husband sometimes leaves the television on for her, but I'm not sure it actually makes any difference.

Your kitty will adjust and be okay. Just give her lots of love when you're able to spend time with her. Cats do fine on their own.
posted by something something at 12:36 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Put cat in a room. Hide small treats in other rooms -- not in obvious places, but places where the cat would definitely find them. Release cat. Go to work.

Result: Cat will spend all day searching for, and finding, treats. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Occasionally, go through the motions (i.e. put cat in room, release cat), but don't hide any treats. Result: Cat will not become complacent in routine.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:39 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

This seems ridiculous, but if you have an answering machine type thing, turn the volume up and call your house to talk to your cat. My mom does this for her cat. I am using it as evidence to have her committed, but I won't tell anyone if you do it.
posted by AlliKat75 at 12:40 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

IANACP, but don't they sleep like 23 hours a day?
posted by Gungho at 12:54 PM on October 13, 2009

Agree with the 2 cat sentiment. I does wonders.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 1:05 PM on October 13, 2009

IANACP, but don't they sleep like 23 hours a day?

Yes, but you'd be amazed how much anger and neediness they pack into that remaining hour.

We got a second cat, and the two of them do a great deal to keep each other entertained whether we're there or not. We go away on overnight trips now, and when we return we get "Oh, you were gone?"
posted by fatbird at 1:14 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

2 cat solution works wonders, though be careful about getting a kitten with an older cat. As stated above, maybe an older cat. Also, yes, the more entertainment from outside you can arrange for them (bird feeder, etc).
posted by mkim at 5:58 PM on October 13, 2009

Buffington Indoor Cat Enrichment. This is written for veterinarians, but has lots of good suggestions and links to other good information.
posted by biscotti at 6:15 PM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

We leave on the radio at low volume. Talk stations like NPR, so the reassuring whisper of liberals will make the cat feel less alone. (Or something like that.)

One of our senior cats likes to yowl the house down these days if he thinks he's been abandoned, and this seems to help.
posted by vickyverky at 6:17 PM on October 13, 2009

get another cat
posted by bunny hugger at 8:54 AM on October 14, 2009

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