Do cats value their individualism and primarily live by their own rules? Absolutely. But does this mean that the presence of humans is entirely indifferent to them and that we’re just cat servants? Absolutely not! Contrary to popular myths, cats can form strong bonds with their humans and not only enjoy our company but also long for us when we’re away from their surroundings. How can we recognize our cats miss us and how can we help our furry companions when we need to leave them alone for a while?
Can a cat miss their human?
Of course! We must approach attributing human-like traits and emotions to cats with caution, but by observing their behaviors, it’s easy to notice that cats do form strong attachments to their humans, and our company provides them with a sense of security. While some cats are more independent than others and may handle temporary separations from humans more easily, the straightforward answer to the question is: yes, cats can miss their humans. But how can we, as their Carers, recognize this longing?
How does feline longing manifest?
A cat Carer is an essential part of a cat’s daily routine – a trusted friend to whom they entrust a degree of their safety. Cats know what to expect from us, recognize our behaviors, and partly adjust their daily rhythm to ours. Strangely, from a feline perspective, we’re, in a way, members of the cat family and elements of the feline territory. This is evident in their need to rub against us and “mark” us – cats send a signal that they feel comfortable around us, trust us, and see us as part of their world.
So, what goes on in a cat’s mind when a human disappears? When we go shopping, to work, or travel without our cat? A cat will always notice that their human has vanished, although their reaction will depend on the length of our absence, the circumstances under which they’re left alone, and their feline character and self-assuredness. Short absences are usually seen as opportunities for the cat to take a catnap, especially if we’ve conditioned them to our regular departures. However, longer separations can be stressful for a cat, and it’s essential to prepare them for such instances.
During your absence, a cat may wait by the doormat, stare at the doorknob (particularly if they hear activity in the hallway), peek out the window, inspect the rooms in the house, and spend time wherever they can still detect your scent. When you return, a cat who has missed you will likely rub against you, purr, perhaps meow, stick to you like glue, greet you with vigorous scratching of their favorite scratcher, or jump into high-energy play mode. If your absence is exceptionally distressing for your cat, behavioral issues may arise, such as peeing outside the litter box, destructive behavior (especially if we haven’t provided adequate enrichment for their territory), or even health problems.
When you need to leave home…
As cat Carers, we have responsibilities toward our furballs, but even the best fabCat can’t be home 24/7. It’s essential to acclimate cats to the idea that humans leave the house from time to time, even for several hours. Start these preparations gradually from kittenhood, incrementally lengthening your time away and rewarding your cat upon your return. What else can you do to ensure your cat feels secure when left alone?
Enrich the cat’s environment – provide spaces for observation, climbing, scratching, and resting. Consider implementing interactive toys that can occupy your cat during your absence. MyKotty scratchers and cat beds are excellent for collecting your cat’s scent and offer territory-marking opportunities. Consider our KITTY-starter TOBI on the windowsill, the LUI scratcher in the living room with a view of the outside world, or perhaps the MIA cat house for your cat to sleep through the day. Visit www.mykotty.eu for some fabCat shopping.
Keep the space at home open. Consider the cat’s safety, of course. However, if your cat does have access to most rooms at home, and has their favorite spots there, make sure they can still get to them during your absence.
Establish a routine with your cat. The shift from home office to regular office has required many cats to relearn how to spend the day without their hooman’s presence. If you’re going through a similar change, ensure you adjust your cat’s schedule. It will probably affect your cat’s meal time or playtime and, as we know, cats don’t like changing up their routine. Think about gradually shifting your cat’s meal times and plan their free time while you’re away in a way that won’t leave your cat feeling hungry and frustrated, waiting for your return.
Consider hiring cat care. If you anticipate a more extended absence (due to long work hours, day trips, or other reasons), think about arranging for a cat sitter. This could be a neighbor who can check on your cat, replenish their food, engage in play, and provide companionship, or a professional pet sitter who can tailor their services to your cat’s needs. Such services are valuable right now as they maintain your cat’s regular interactions, follow their routine, and avoid the need to move your cat to a different environment, even if you’re going away for a week.
Don’t leave your cat alone
Cats are independent creatures, but even they know what it means to miss their human, their company, presence, and support. Cats are part of our families, and they love us, even if they show it in their unique, often cryptic ways. Let’s not leave them alone, completely unprepared, assuming they can just manage on their own. Even the most brave and self-sufficient cat who treats their hooman as a servant who gives food, cleans the litter box, and gives pets might feel unsure if we simply leave them be. Remember, fabCat, that by adopting a pet we take full responsibility for their life, well-being, and happiness. Every cat deserves not to miss their human for too long. 😺
How do your cats show that they’ve missed you, fabCats? We’re eager to hear your stories in the comments.