How Much Attention Do Cats Need?

Cute furry cat looking for attention

All of us at Milwaukee Paws Pet Care are blessed to work with such an amazing and loving group of pets. We feel quite humbled to be able to go to “work” every day to care for animals who have stolen our own hearts and become a part of our own family, too! And we know we often focus a lot on the dogs and puppies we help care for, but there are many feline friends we have taken quite the liking to, too! While dogs bring a special light into a home, cats allow us to really learn to appreciate their affection and their individual and often quirky personalities! If you have a cat or two (or three!) in your household, then you likely know just what we mean!

If you’ve never gotten close to a kitten or a cat or have never had one growing up as a child, you should know what sweet, affectionate love and shenanigans you are missing out on! If you already have a cat, or have had one growing up, then you know exactly what it means to meet the demands of a fun, creative feline friend! However, this is often not an assumption when someone decides to adopt a cat, as so many assume cats are independent and therefore don’t need much attention or care. Even those of us who have cats in our homes may not realize just how much love and attention our own beloved cats need from us!

Cats require much more attention than the average person may expect. Cats, while often independent creatures, still crave attention and love, in addition to their obvious nutritional needs of fresh water, clean litter, and food. If you decide to bring a cat or kitten into your home, you should be prepared to spend at least 20 minutes a day giving your cat loving one-on-one attention. Obviously, each cat is going to have its own spunky personality, and some may prefer to spend hours alone, while others may have a stronger desire to play and spend even more time with its owners. If you’re wondering if your cat is getting enough attention, there are a few things we can watch out for.

Signs your Cat Is Not Getting Enough Attention:

Cats will often show you signs that he or she is not getting the love and attention he is seeking in several ways. Just as dogs and other animals communicate through verbal and non-verbal cues, our feline family members will also “speak up” or physically reach out to us when they’re in need of more of our loving attention. Ever notice your cat annoyingly come on your lap and get in the way of your snacks or drinks as you’re trying to you enjoy your favorite guilty pleasure on TV? Or maybe your feline companion feels compelled to jump on the kitchen countertops (a big no-no in our house) in order to get your attention while you’re prepping your family dinner. Other sneaky actions may include your cat purposefully knocking items off of shelves! Do you think that picture frame fell off by accident? Nope. We bet not. Your cat is trying HARD to get your attention, and you better pay attention. These are all your cat’s way of saying, “Hey! I’m here and I love you, and I need you to play with me!” If you’re like most American’s, then you may be busy working 40-50 hours a week, while your beloved pet may be stuck in the confines of home and is probably lonely as he waits for you to come home!

Other signs that your cat may be craving extra love and attention from you may include your cat pawing at your leg or arms. It’s pretty obvious when your cat reaches for your hands that he wants you to pay attention to him! Your beloved cat may also “meow” excessively around you. While the “meowing” may seem incredibly annoying or excessive, it’s your pet’s way of communicating to you, so please don’t dismiss these verbal communication cues! Your cat is using a healthy way to say, “Hello,” in hopes of getting a positive reaction from you.

When these verbal communication cues do not work, your cat may resort to using other ways to get your attention. A good example of this unwanted behavior can be seen when a cat claws at furniture! While most cats, even those with claws, are well behaved and know to only scratch at their designated scratch posts, a cat that is not getting the love and attention he needs may resort to clawing at your expensive sofa, loveseat or other favorite furniture. While he may have been taught to use a scratch post nearby, if he is being denied attention and love, he may feel he has no other option than to use negative behavior to get attention or reaction from his beloved owners. Of course, we as their owners know this isn’t right. But when your furry feline gets attention despite this negative behavior, he learns this is a new way to get your attention. (Parents out there- do you see this in your day-to-day lives as parents?) I know my hand is raised! While parenting babies and children is obviously challenging, we can all see just how tough and demanding it is to teach and meet the needs of our beloved pets, too!

When to Reach Out for Help:

If your cat is showing any of the sings above indicating he needs more love and attention from you, it may be helpful for you to enlist the help of a professional pet-sitter (such as Milwaukee Paw Pet Care) who can be there to provide extra love and attention to your pets when you are busy filling other important obligations. While dog-walking and pet-sitting are among our specialties, we are happy to meet many other complex demands in order to fit the individual needs of your special pets to ensure they’re getting the love and attention they need and deserve.


Adding Another Cat to Your Home:

While having professional pet-sitters available to help when needed can help your cat get the additional love and attention he craves, many pet owners have also found that bringing a second cat into the home to give the “lonely” pet a companion has helped! Your cat’s need for socialization and attention could be fulfilled by this new sibling, and your cat would be much less likely to beg for all of your attention as soon as you get home, hopefully also putting an end to their unwanted behaviors.

Not Already an Owner of a Cat?

While cats do need more attention that many may initially expect, they really are the ideal pet for busy working adults and families. If you don’t already have a cat in your home, it may be just the perfect pet to add to your family. Owning cats may be particularly fitting for those who consider themselves introverts, too. I’ve been an owner of cats for about as long as I can remember; I’ve never met a cat who hasn’t captured my heart in some way or another, and I can’t say I don’t attribute that at least partly to how sweet and innocent cats are towards their owners and families! Think about it a little further – most dogs are quite extroverted and ready to get in your face to get your attention and play! Cats, on the other hand, are often softer, more reserved, and are going to take their time getting to know you and your personality before they really open up their hearts to you. This likely is going to help you create a strong bond towards your cat(s), as you are going to be the loving human they know they can rely on and trust for consistent love, attention and other physical and emotional needs.

As I look back on my time as an owner of cats, I can remember distinctly how much they each seemed to appreciate me for the emotional and physical connection we were able to make together. Cats are often highly intuitive and instinctual, and each cat I have owned and cared for have taught me new ways to appreciate the bonding we’ve created together. I’ve always felt that my cats have been able to pick up on my own emotional needs and have somehow found a way to understand just when their kisses or cuddles would bring a smile to my face or lighten my mood. If your home is missing something, a playful, inquisitive and friendly feline might be just what you and your family need!

All of us at Milwaukee Paws Pet Care understand the demands of owning any pet. We also understand the difficult demands and responsibilities we are all juggling on a day-to-day basis, and we are here to step in when you can’t be there! We love pets of all breeds, shapes and sizes, and we are currently accepting new clients to join our Milwaukee Paws Pet Care Family! If you are interested in learning more about how we can help meet the needs of your furry family members, please reach out today! Our staff and myself are all dedicated to providing the highest quality care in the comfort of your own home, and we look forward to helping make a positive impact in meeting the complex needs of your pets!



  1. Lori Attardi on May 25, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    I wish I had read this article sooner. I had a kitty for 15 years. I was under the impression that cats were independent and liked being alone. I thought that they may want attention, but they did not need it. My cat gave me many of the signs, which in retrospect, I now know meant she was starving for attention. But I thought she was a basically contented cat who just wanted attention. So, even though I was home a lot I just ignored the signs and did my own stuff. In the end, She stopped eating and drinking and was miserable. I thought she was ill and had to have her put down. Now I know she was clinically depressed because I did not give her love and affection or play with her: (. I have learned a lesson the hard way and it breaks my heart. I wish I could turn the clock back.

    • Dawn on May 27, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      Hi Lori- thank you for sharing your story! Everyone of us learns as we go and can think back to things we would do differently if we had known better- myself included. Your willingness to share your story, is helpful for others! Thank you for being vulnerable. I have no doubt that your cat was well loved and cared for!

  2. Niki Hollenbeck on December 19, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Hi I save a ole guy he had been on the streets he had a cyst on face was shot with pellets and had mites so badly they ate the tips of his ears. We had him neutered he now lives in a bedroom with 2 windows and shelves all kinds of interactive toys. He has FIV and absolutely hates our dog. So I visit him for 2 & 1/2 hours every day mornings afternoons & nights . He is loving and playful. Am I giving him enough love

    • Lisa on September 13, 2023 at 10:49 am

      That’s great that you took him off the street and to me that is a nice gap of time you make for him im sure he looks forward to it. I have a feral cat who loves me and my son and lives in our garage( my roommate has allergies why she cat come in)I leave the door open for her to come and go as she pleases I make sure I spend atleast a hour or more a day with her everyday keep up the good work

  3. Niki Hollenbeck on December 19, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    I’m the one that commented above that saved the cat YELLA FROM THE STREETS. We had his cyst and pellets take. Out and had him neutered I call his bedroom a condo. I go over to his room mornings afternoon and night I spend 2&1/2 hours of quality time with him is that enough??? He hates my dog. So we keep him his own room I play classical music low and all kinds of interactive toys & he loves laying in the windows is this enough? I know it’s better then him living outside and the dangerous coyotes. And he is neutered too. And when I go in my 1 vacation that’s a wk should I board him or get a cat sitter???

    • Dawn on January 3, 2022 at 4:08 pm

      Hello Niki! While I am not a veterinarian, and therefore cannot speak to the care needs of your cats health issues, it sounds like consistent time with your cat is being offered. Keeping your cat safe and healthy is great! I would suggest offering forms of enrichment and toys that they can play with when you are not able to be with them.

  4. Daniel Howell on July 13, 2023 at 11:52 am

    In addition to their obvious nutritional needs of fresh water, clean litter, and food. If you decide to bring a cat or kitten into your home, you should be prepared to spend at least 20 minutes a day giving your cat loving one-on-one attention? Jesus I’ve gotten my little fur boy demanding at least a couple of hours a day. And still I abide

  5. princess Poppit s mom Dawn E Toney. on December 23, 2023 at 11:07 pm

    My cat ,her name is Princess Poppit she just turned 1 year
    Old she will flop in my dinner plate,flop on my face,she will lay in front of me trying to go on the restroom she will do whatever it takes for her to get the time and respect she deserves and wants to feel satisfied,and she will get it too.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.