Cats Crave Human & Feline Companionship #PawCulture
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People who are “not in the know” may think getting a cat is a great pet to have if they:
- Aren’t home very often
- Don’t need to train their pet
- Are looking for a low maintenance furry family member
I am here to disavow you of these myths. As a pet mom to five, yes five, cats I know how much they crave human companionship even though they have their feline siblings with whom to interact and frolic. Granted, it’s easier to leave a cat home while you’re working because indoor cats will use a litterbox; unlike a dog who will need to visit Mother Nature a few times a day to do his or her business. But cats get lonely, especially “only cats.”
Never have I had a time in my life when I have only had one cat. The reason is that I worried the cat would be lonely. My cats and dogs get along, but I have yet to see them curled up together in a patch of sunlight the way I see the cats curled up together. I know the species can, and do, happily coexist, but our two dogs sleep together and the cats sleep in another area, curled up together. I feel better knowing my pets have at least one of their own species to snuggle with and to help take away any potential for loneliness when I am not home with them. (Read the rest of this post below the video)
Until recently we had three adult rescue cats at home. The kitten Oblina was introduced to the family so she can Ickis can grow up together. We brought in a Devon Rex kitten and we were determined to travel with him and take him to our second house — which is a four hour car trip away. We knew our other cats were such “houseplants” that the very idea of taking them in the car for their veterinarian’s appointments leads to panic and fear for all involved. Our other cats are not accustomed to traveling and had never been asked to, other than annual vet visits. With Ickis, though we didn’t want to leave a tiny kitten home with the clowder of adult cats when we were going away so into the soft sided carrier he went. Surprisingly, he curled up in the carrier, scooted under the blanket I had in there and slept the entire ride! It was a cat-traveling miracle!
Once we got to the house we wanted to take the dogs for a walk so they could stretch their legs after the long car ride. I got everything set up for Ickis — his litter, his food, his bed — and off we went with the dogs. Our feet hadn’t even hit the sidewalk when we could hear him crying inside the house. We looked back and he was pacing on the windowsill and crying. My “mom guilt” kicked in. I worried he was fearful because it was a new house so the hubby took the dogs for a walk and I went back into calm Ickis.
Long story short, we stayed at the house for a week and never once did Ickis calm down when left alone. He craved our company. He is such a social guy that being left alone was scary for him and heart-rending for him.
Lesson learned: Cats love their humans
If you haven’t lived with a cat you don’t quite realize what you need to train them to do… or not to do. Our two kittens are lovers of being on the counter and the kitchen table. We are not in love with them being on there. Training them to stay off the counter and kitchen table is something we work on daily.
Toilet paper should remain on the roll, not on the ground, am I right? In all of my years of living with cats I have never had one who insists on unrolling the toilet paper… until Ickis came along. He takes great joy in it. Training him to not do that is on the agenda.
Curtain acrobatics. Sure, I laugh when the kittens launch themselves at the sheers and spin around while scrambling to the top so they can sit on the curtain rod. Is it good for our curtains and sheers? Not at all. Note to self: Train them to not climb the curtains.
How can you train a cat? My best tactics to date have included:
- Positive reinforcement with treats or loving snuggles
- Diversionary tactics
I change up my training tactics on a regular basis because I’ve found they get bored (or maybe I am so predictable that they are reading my mind and refuse to comply! Hhhmmm) with the same method. Both are working quite well and we have fewer incidents of empty toilet paper rolls, curtains on the floor and pieces of litter on the kitchen counters (gross!)
Lesson learned: Cats require training
Thankfully, our cats have always been pretty healthy, even our thirteen-year-old DSH Parker. He was having a few kidney issues so we upped his wet food intake and made sure he has access to a moving water fountain and that seems to get him to drink more frequently and his kidneys are just fine!
As for maintenance of your cats, it includes:
- Making sure they are taken to the vet
- Cleaning their litter boxes (this needs to be done regularly, daily. Because we have five cats, we have three litter boxes, it’s a big investment in time and litter, but it’s worth it
If you work from home, or even if you don’t when you have a cat, computer time can be a challenge. My cats love the keyboard and love to lay across my computer — I think they are soaking up the heat from it. They climb on my shoulder, crawl around in my lap, chase my typing fingers. What I am saying is, it’s not always easy to ignore them and they do not seem to understand boundaries or deadlines. Imagine that!
My kitten, Ickis, also loves to play fetch. When he is ready to play fetch, I know I’d better be ready to play fetch as well because he is relentless with getting my attention… oh, he has claws and is not afraid to use them. Sure I could discourage him and get back to my deadlines, but if he were my human baby I wouldn’t do that. What’s a cat mom to do? I save whatever I was working on and devote myself to playing fetch with Ickis.
Lesson learned: Cat “maintenance” is a real thing
I love the article I found on PawCulture that asks the question, “do cats get lonely?”
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PawCulture. The opinions and text are all mine.
This article written by our Story Editor Robbi Hess.