How Much Attention Do Cats Need? 5 Tips to Keep Them Happy


Last Updated on: August 28, 2023 by Crystal Uys

While cats can live independently without human attention, they rely on us for love, companionship, and food when they live with us. Cats have a longstanding reputation for being reserved and requiring less time and effort than dogs. But most cats enjoy being with their favorite people and are happy when they feel safe, secure, and included.

When it comes to physical activity, cats have relatively modest needs; most are fine with around 20 to 40 minutes per day, split into two or three play sessions. While cats are more self-sufficient than dogs in some ways, they still require a good bit of time and attention!

In short, all cats need regular physical activity and daily love and attention. The exact amount and type of attention your cat needs is specific to them, so pay attention to their behavior. Scroll down to learn more about giving your cat the attention it craves.


Top 5 Ways to Give Your Cat Attention:

1. Playtime

Cat playing with owner
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

Cats do best when their basic needs for physical activity are met. Getting enough exercise helps them stay physically healthy and helps manage anxiety and stress. Most adult cats require around two or three short daily exercise sessions, and they get bored after 10 or 15 minutes of chasing things around. Playtime is usually the easiest way to get cats up and moving, and it has the added benefit of being a great bonding activity.


2. Grooming

woman brushing the Persian cat
Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

Most cats benefit from regular brushing. Shorthaired pets are usually fine being brushed a few times a week, but longhaired cats require more attention. Many cats love being groomed and may get excited when they see their owners with a brush. Establishing a grooming routine where you brush your pet at the same time every day or week will benefit your cat and keep it happy.


3. Training

clicker-training-cat
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

Some cats love training, and it’s relatively easy to teach most cats basic tricks such as responding to their name, shaking hands, or walking on a leash. Clicker training generally works well with cats since it allows them to identify precisely what you want them to do.

Reward-based training techniques are the way to go with cats; they’re usually motivated by treats and petting, and both at the same time are even better! To teach your cat to come when you call them, stand close by with a treat and call your cat’s name. Give your buddy the goodie when they respond. Over time, start standing a bit further away until your cat gets up and moves to you for their snack when you call their name.


4. Relaxing With Their Owners

cat-meditation
Image Credit: larisa Stefanjuk, Shutterstock

Most cats love to hang out with their owners, but not all enjoy being picked up. Cats often sit next to or on their favorite people when their humans are watching TV, reading books, or just sitting around chatting. Some enjoy cuddling up with their owners in bed; cats are notorious for sleeping on people’s heads and getting slightly annoyed when there’s too much human movement during their sleeping hours.

Whether your pet is a lap cat or prefers sitting beside you, cats enjoy spending downtime with their owners and feel secure when their owners are nearby.


5. Talking

Woman playing and talking with her cat
Image Credit: Mira Arnaudova, Shutterstock

Many cats love “talking” with their humans and respond with sweet meows when spoken to. Siamese cats are particularly prone to talking non-stop with their owners. When you come home from work or return from a long trip, your quiet cat probably becomes more vocal to greet you.

You may not have a talkative cat, but most felines enjoy humans talking to them, and even if your pet is quiet, it will appreciate your conversation.


How Do I Know If My Cat Is Getting Enough Attention?

Cats often start showing signs of stress and anxiety when they’re not getting enough attention. Stressed and anxious cats display various signs, from aggression to hiding. Nervous cats often become restless, shake, and exhibit hypervigilance. Excessive grooming is another common indication of feline anxiety. Unfortunately, cats that aren’t getting enough attention often become destructive.

young cat owner playing with her pet at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Do Some Cats Need More Attention Than Others?

The amount of attention any cat requires to be happy often depends on the individual, their level of socialization, and their companionship needs. But some breeds, such as Siamese, Burmese, and Bengal cats, often require more attention than others.

Siamese and Burmese cats generally need more attention to be comfortable. Most prefer to spend lots of time with their human companions and become anxious when left alone for long periods. Other breeds, such as Bengal cats, have serious exercise needs, commonly requiring more activity and interaction than other cats.

Older pets generally require less exercise but often prefer to spend more time napping close to their favorite people. Cats enjoy different types of attention; some prefer cuddles, and others crave playtime. Your pet’s behavior is the best gauge of whether they’re getting enough attention.

cat resting with owner on sofa at home
Image Credit: U__Photo, Shutterstock

Are There Ways to Keep Cats Occupied When You’re Busy?

By giving your cat something to keep themselves busy, you are supporting their mental health and reducing the amount of attention they need from you when you come home!

Food puzzles are a great way to give cats a fun, entertaining challenge. They require cats to use their paws and problem-solving skills to score treats or bits of kibble. There are many ways to get your cat in on the fun, from constructing DIY toys to purchasing commercial products from pet specialty stores.

Catnip-filled plush toys also give cats a fun way to pass a few hours. Cats often spend lots of time napping when left alone, so consider providing your pet with a bed and vertical perches to enjoy. They often prefer to snooze up high, so they can monitor and react to potential threats, making cat trees and shelves fantastic options.


Conclusion

Cats require daily love and attention. They need far more than just food and a litter box to be happy and healthy! All cats have basic physical activity needs, otherwise known as playtime. A few short daily sessions are usually more than enough, but cats also benefit from other sorts of attention like petting, conversations, and even being brushed.

Some cats prefer bonding with their favorite humans during playtime, and others would rather spend their evenings snuggled up next to their owners on the couch. Observing your cat’s behavior is the best way to determine if they’re getting enough attention.


Featured Image Credit: Wanwajee Weeraphukdee, Shutterstock

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