Cats communicate with us humans in different ways when they want or need something from us. What stands behind all this and how do our cats try to attract our attention? How much attention does a cat actually need and how do we react correctly to these subtle messages of our darlings?
How much attention does a cat need?
It is difficult to give a general answer to this question, because it actually depends on the individual cat. There are relatively independent cats that only pick up a few strokes from time to time. But there are also conspecifics among them who follow you wherever you go and want to be kept busy and cuddled around the clock.
Basically you can say, that the basis is the basic supply. Daily fresh water and quality food, a cleaned litter box, games and cuddling units, as well as a place of retreat for their extended periods of rest, are part of the daily needs of every cat. In addition, each cat has its own special needs, such as being allowed to go stalking (outdoors) or to hang out with other cats.
The need for attention is also quite variable in a cat’s life. Young kittens, older and weaker or sick animals usually need more attention and affection from you. It is therefore difficult to give an approximate guide value. But the good thing is, your darling will already draw your attention if it is missing something or wants something 😉
Why do they want our attention? What do they want to “tell us”?
The reasons are as different as our cats themselves. But in most cases, you can recognize their concern by their body language. So what could your darling want?
- She wants to play.
- She wants affection and to be petted.
- She wants to go outside.
- She is hungry or thirsty.
- Her toilet is not clean.
- She feels underchallenged. This is physically and mentally possible.
- She is in pain, does not feel well.
- She is afraid.
What do cats do to get our attention?
To get our attention, our pets are quite creative and sometimes quite unyielding. Some of them send us clear signals or let us feel it more subtly. This can start with a loud meowing and end in a temporary touch of “going crazy”. In most cases, however, our cats show the following behavior when they compete for our attention:
- Current activities are disturbed: Whether you are reading a book or sitting in front of the computer, if your cat wants your attention, she will let you feel it. Jumps on your lap, rushes over the keyboard, nudges you or meows a sonata to you.
- Meowing: Some cats are very communicative and use their voice to send signals to call attention to their needs.
- Seek physical contact: A gentle nudge, a gentle snuggle, these are all signs to draw your attention to them.
- Knocking things over: Who doesn’t know it, loveable or playful kittens knock things over or throw them down with great joy.
- Urinating / Marking: Yes, this can happen as well. Especially severely underchallenged or unhappy animals, can tend to such behavior.
- Already learned is ignored: Your beloved friend actually knows that he is not allowed to jump on your bed, but suddenly does it anyway? Maybe your darling wants to tell you something.
- Unusual behavior: If you notice any behavioral changes in your cat, she may have health problems. These may not always be physical problems. A chronically underchallenged cat also shows symptoms such as depression and listlessness.
How do I react correctly?
No punishment: Both psychological and physical violence must be avoided in any case! In extreme cases this can also be punished by criminal law. A consistent “no” is much more constructive in this case. In general, however, you should encourage positive behavior (treats, praise) and ignore undesirable behavior. So tell your darling what she should do instead of just telling him what he should not do. You can read more about the topic how cats learn here: How cats learn
Do not encourage behavior: As absurd as it may sound to ignore a certain unwanted behavior, CAN minimize this behavior. But here it depends on the need of your cat. If she is hungry, for example, you are obliged to feed him (see Basic Needs).
Provide play time: Here it depends on the correct and species-appropriate kind of games.
Needs: A beloved and busy cat is a happy cat. What you should pay attention to exactly, you can read in the following article: needs cats
Contact experts: In case of serious behavioral problems it is worth contacting a cat coach. A visit to a veterinarian can provide information about physical changes/problems.
How much attention a cat needs, you cannot say in general. Every cat is an individual with different needs. If your cat is happy all around, it usually has little reason to get on your nerves. However, if your cat wants to tell you something, you will most likely get it. Whether you like it or not ;).