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Are cats loners? Do they need feline companionship to be mentally healthy?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

Are cats naturally loners? Do they need feline companionship to be healthy mentally? What is the best amount of time spent with your cat when you work and are away?

Thanks

Vicki Dodd.


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. Good question. Many believe that cats are loners however there has been research about cats that live in colonies and many believe that they are not loners. They function well in a group.

For domestic house cats, some may appear to be a loner or not loners depending on their social background. If a kitten was raised around other cats and understands how to communicate with other cats – they tend to be less of a loner. For cats that were taken away from their cat households and raised alone – tend to not be as social as they did not develop those social skills as a kitten.

Depending on how they were raised affects if they really like to be around other cats. Cats that are social tend to be happy around other cats. Cats that don't like other cats – may be happier alone. I don't think that a cat has to have feline companionship to be mentally healthy.

What is most important is that they have an interesting life. Make sure they have plenty of environmental enrichments – that means scratching posts, good litter boxes, high quality food, toys, cat perches, and windows to look out of.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra




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