Every cat owner knows how special their bond is with their kitty. But cats are independent animals, and that can lead us to wonder whether our kitties notice and care if we’re not there. Below, Cat in a Flat finds out the signs of whether your cat has missed you when you’ve been away.
The human and cat bond
Everyone knows the expression “man’s best friend”. We know that dogs and humans can forge extraordinary bonds. And that dogs will often show signs of extreme excitement and joy when reunited with their owners. But what about cats? When their shows of emotion are less obvious we can find ourselves asking the question – does my cat miss me when I’m not around?
It’s true, cats are more independent than their canine counterparts and can appear aloof and indifferent to their owner’s affections. However, cat owners know that it’s wildly inaccurate to think that kitties and their humans don’t forge deep bonds. According to many academic studies, cats are deeply attached to their owners and see them as vitally important caregivers. A study by Oregon State University even showed that cats prefer socialising with their owners to food!
Signs that your cat has missed you
While some cats may appear completely un-phased by your absence, there are plenty of signs that indicate they are happy to see you. Some of them might be a little subtle, but pay close attention to the behaviour, expressions and body language of your cat, and you can learn to interpret them.
Affectionate behaviour and extra purring! A good sign that your cat is happy you’re back is if they show physical affection such as head butting, purring, rubbing against you and stretching.
Shadowing behaviour. If your cat is stuck to your side when you return, rubbing up against your legs or meowing this is their way of trying to seek your attention. Your kitty might well follow you around the house when you return asking for your time and lots of fuss.
Destructive behaviour. Cats that don’t appreciate being left alone will occasionally demonstrate destructive behaviours. Scratching curtains, furniture or toileting outside the litter box is often a sign of boredom and lack of stimulation when they are left alone.
A cat disappearing act! Quite often, when owners go away, their cats seem also to disappear. Whether they are hiding or are having their own vacation, disappearing can be a sign that a cat is distressed and misses their owner.
Illness. Some cats become unwell with the anxiety of their owner’s absence and the change in their daily routine. Illnesses such as feline cystitis, diarrhoea, vomiting or over-grooming can be signs of a stressed cat. Cats can become particularly stressed if their owner is away for a long time.
Dealing with feline separation anxiety
If your cat becomes stressed or anxious when you are away, here are some ways you can help them cope.
Before you go away make sure you have everything in place for your cat’s care. Cat-proof your home and make sure your kitty is up-to-date on medication and health checks. Preparing well for your absence means there’s less chance of an incident while you’re away.
Toys! It is a good idea to rotate toys to prevent boredom. Even better, introduce a few new toys when you are about to go away. Puzzle feeders, scratching posts, and vertical perches are great distraction tools for your cat. Environmental enrichment is essential for your kitty’s happiness, so ensure there is plenty of engaging things to do while you are absent.
Calming cat pheromone diffusers. Veterinarians recommend calming cat sprays and diffusers such as those from Feliway. These cleverly release calming cat pheromones that help to reduce fear or anxiety in your kitty.
Keep your cat’s routine the same. If you are going away for an extended period of time it is essential to keep things as regular as possible for Mr Whiskers. Cats don’t like change so a familiar routine will help calm nerves during a potentially unsettling time.
Book a cat sitter. Reserving a cat sitter has a wealth of essential benefits for your furry friend. Not only will they ensure your cat has fresh food, water and a clean litter box, they will also provide love, cuddles, playtime and belly rubs while you are away. You can even book an overnight cat sitter for really anxious kitties or those who need more care.