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Home > Cats > Cat Wants to Be Alone All of a Sudden? 10 Vet Reviewed Reasons & FAQ

Cat Wants to Be Alone All of a Sudden? 10 Vet Reviewed Reasons & FAQ

british short hair cat lying on the floor

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It’s common knowledge that cats are largely solitary animals. However, most pet cats enjoy the company of their humans, and in fact, have lived alongside people for thousands of years.

The first signs of cohabitation with humans is from around 10,000 years ago; in time cats were used to help clear up mice in grain silos in return for shelter, and cats and humans have loved each other ever since. If your beloved cat (usually stuck around your ankles and sitting in your lap day in and day out) suddenly wants to be left alone, it may be a cause for concern.

This article will go through 10 possible reasons why your cat suddenly wants to be alone.divider-cat

The 10 Reasons Why Your Cat Wants to Be Alone

1. They Are Unwell

Any sudden change in your cat’s behavior should always be taken seriously. For example, if your cat is usually social but then suddenly decides to go off to be alone, it may be the only outward indication that you get that your cat is suffering from an illness or an injury.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, and if any behavior, such as hiding or wanting to spend time alone, concerns you, take them to your veterinarian’s office and get them checked over.

sick cat
Photo Credit: one photo, Shutterstock

2. They’re in Pain

If your cat hides from you, it may be in pain. Cats in pain exhibit very minimal outwardly visible symptoms, which would be a sign of weakness in the wild.

Even though cats are predators in nature, there are still animals that would prey on cats in the wild, which is why like some other animals, they hide any injuries or illness very well.

The signs of pain in cats can include:
  • Licking excessively over an area
  • Biting, yowling, or meowing
  • Hunched posture
  • Hiding away
  • Limping

If you suspect your cat is in pain, please take them to a veterinarian’s office as soon as possible.

3. Pregnancy

A pregnant queen (female cat) will often go to a quiet, warm, dark place to give birth. Suppose you have a pregnant cat and haven’t made them a nest box to give birth.

In that case, they may go off to a place that doesn’t make much sense to you, such as under the bed or in the airing cupboard on top of a nice warm towel, but this would make a lot more sense if your cat lived within its natural habitat.

Cats, like many animals, will give birth away from the prying eyes of predators, where they feel safe and relaxed. That’s the best place for them since queens have to spend a lot of time with their kittens when they are born, nursing them, and helping them poop.

pregnant cat standing behind bob wire outdoors
Photo Credit: fabian saragoza, Pixabay

4. They Might Be Scared

Some cats are naturally more skittish and nervous than others, so if your cat suddenly runs off if you make a sudden movement or loud noise, it might be because they’re just more scared and anxious.

On the other hand, if it’s a new development, they might have gone through some recent trauma, such as an incident with another cat or a dog attack, or if they’re afraid of something in their surroundings which makes them want to hide. Cats will instinctively look for places to hide when they are scared; this is the same for many animals, known as the fight-or-flight response. Often hiding up high or down low under beds.

5. Your Cat May Be Stressed

Some cats hide away if they are stressed out, and if there are loud noises around you, such as fireworks, lots of people, music, or anything of that nature, your cat may be too stressed to stay in the room with you.

It’s important not to force your cat to interact with people or yourself if stressed, as it can cause many more problems. Be on the lookout for health complications from stress such as cystitis (frequently passing small volumes of urine often with blood) or overgrooming.

If your cat is stressed, consider using a pheromone diffuser such as a Feliway diffuser. This plug-in can help them feel more relaxed and happy in the home. It can calm anxiety and create calm spaces in your home. Ask for help in reducing stressors for your cat from a registered behaviorist or veterinarian.

stressed white cat on the floor
Photo By: Hunt Han, Unsplash

6. They Could Be Playing

Some cats are naturally more playful, and if your cat runs up to you to rub up against your legs before sprinting off, they may be trying to play. Cats hunt creatures by hiding around corners and ambushing their prey.

You can take this to the next level by using a laser pointer or a feather toy on a string, but make sure they always have something to catch at the end of the game; if they don’t complete the hunt, they can become frustrated.

7. They Might Be in a Sour Mood

Just like us, some cats might be grumpy, hungry, or otherwise disgruntled, and they may not want to be around people at the moment. Keep a close eye on this, as there is usually a reason why your cat doesn’t want to interact if it’s typically an interactive kitty.

grumpy cat lying on the grey couch
Image By: Monika, Pixabay

8. They’re Getting Older

Just like people, cats go through transitional stages in their lives. For example, a kitten will grow into an adolescent cat, which comes with hormonal changes and brain development just like it does for teenage humans and may cause your cat to take more time alone.

Equally, as your adult cat ages into a senior (elderly) cat, it may start to experience some aches and pains associated with age, as well as dulled senses, which can be quite distressing for your cat. As a result, they may need more alone time to collect themselves and just relax (as some older people often do).

9. They Might Sense Another Cat

Cats have very sensitive hearing and a keen sense of smell, so if another cat has taken a look around your garden or has entered your home, your feline family member will be able to sense it.

If they feel like another cat is encroaching on their turf or territory, your cat may feel pushed out, as resource guarding is vital to cats. They feel like they need to protect their family, home, and what they see as the most important facets of their life: their food, water, and litter tray. If another cat lurks around, it can cause them to slink off to be alone to avoid conflict.

angry domestic cat growling
Image By: pixbull, Shutterstock

10. They Want Some Alone Time

It may be that your cat wants to be alone suddenly just because of one simple fact: they want to be alone. If your cat does not want to play and interact all the time, they may get annoyed and want to relax, enjoying their own company. Cats sleep large portions of their day and many prefer to do this away from the hustle and bustle of the home.

They will come and find you when they want petting and chin tickles, but it’ll be on their own terms.divider-cat

How Can I Remedy This Behavior?

If you’ve taken your cat to the vet and determined there’s nothing wrong with them, providing them with safe places to hide can help build their confidence and reduce their anxiety and stress.

Cats love to be up in high places, which allows them to survey their surroundings if they’re sitting on a high vantage point. Using cat trees with platforms or shelves with ramps on the way up can help cats to feel safe.

Providing them with a place to hide on the ground level and allowing them space to withdraw can all help your cat feel more comfortable being in the room with you and spending time with you.

How Do I Know if My Cat Wants To Be Left Alone?

Once you know how to read it, a cat’s body language is very clear. Looking at how they’re acting, what their face looks like, and what their body is doing can show you if they want to be alone. It’s in both of your interests to listen to your cat’s body language and let them be on their own if it’s safe for them to do so.

If you’re concerned about your cat’s behavior in any way, take them to a veterinarian’s office.divider-cat


If you have any worries about your cat’s behavior (particularly a sudden behavioral change) or if you’re concerned that your cat wants to be alone a lot of the time, you should always take them to your veterinarian’s office and get them checked over.

There can be quite a few reasons why your cat wants to be alone, ranging from your cat just enjoying some time alone to them trying to hide an injury from you. It’s always best to get them seen by a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Featured Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

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