do cats get mad when you leave

by Linda Hall and Rita Reimers, Cat Behavior Experts

Linda was recently asked on Quora, “Will my cat be distraught when I leave on vacation?”. Sadly, cats hate change and do not approve of your absence. Your cat will know you are gone and may become upset.

Does my cat miss me when I go away?

Because our animal companions are creatures of habit, any change can be upsetting to them, even something as simple as taking them to the vet or moving into a new home. Despite their reputation as solitary and independent animals, domestic cats are actually highly gregarious due to their lengthy history of interacting with people.

Even though cats don’t miss their owners as much as dogs do, they can still find it difficult to adjust when you’re not around. Your cat may meow and want to cuddle when you get back, or they may act distant and uninterested. Your cat is trying to tell you that they missed you during your vacation in both situations!

What Causes Strange Behavior in Cats After an Absence?

It’s a common misconception that cats are too independent or distant to be bothered about their humans’ arrivals and departures, but that is untrue.

“Feline separation anxiety is very serious,” says Carol Osborne, DVM, founder and director of Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “Although it is a well-recognized behavior in dogs, a lot of people, including some vets, don’t realize that other pets experience it. Cats are social and form deep attachments to people.”

Cats with separation issues may act out when you’re gone.

Your cat may be acting strangely after a vacation for another reason: cats like routine, and when you’re gone, that routine is disrupted.

“Cats are creatures of habit, and when their people leave or if they are boarded, it can be highly disruptive,” says Taylor Truitt, DVM, CEO of The Vet Set in Brooklyn, New York. “When you return home, they [usually] are confused by yet another change of habit and the new smells you bring in. That can cause aggression.”

As Dr. Truitt mentioned, it’s not only the change in routine that can cause a cat to act out, but also the new smells you’ve picked up during your travels. When your return home, your cat may not realize it’s you at first. This is because cats rely on smell to identify many things, including the people in their life, says Pamela Uncles, a certified pet behaviorist at Companion Animal Behavior in Washington, D.C.

“Cats know who you are by smell,” Uncles says. “Your scent changes after a trip, which may cause your cat to react in different ways—including aggressively.” ”.

According to Osborne, some cats use biting, scratching, or even hiding from their parents as ways to express their aggression.

“They may also cry and otherwise vocalize,” she adds. “Destructive behavior is less common but does happen. ”.

How to Calm Your Cat When You Return Home

After you get back from vacation and notice that your cat is acting strangely or aggressively, gradually try to calm them down.

Russel Hartstein, CDBC, CPDT-KA, founder of Fun Paw Care in Los Angeles and Miami, says that letting your cat approach you when you return is the best thing you can do. He advises allowing your cat to hide or glare at you until they get used to you and your scent once more.

It also helps to have special treats ready when you get there, Dr. Osborne says. Give your cat some treats to show them appreciation before they become aggressive. She advises letting them enjoy the treat without you until they get used to it.

“Don’t reward the cats if they are aggressive,” she adds. “Reward them only when they behave well and are calm.” ”.

FAQ

Do cats get mad at you when you leave them?

Some single indoor-housed cats become anxious when left alone for long periods of time. These cats appear to be unusually sensitive to their surroundings, and may be very attached to their owners. Here are some signs of “separation anxiety” in cats: Excessive vocalization (crying, moaning, meowing)

Do cats feel abandoned when you go on vacation?

Your cat can feel quite alone during the loss of their normal routine when you are away. So: If you go on a holiday, ask your personal cat sitter to not only give your cat their usual fresh water, food and cat litter, but also sufficient time to play and attention.

Will my cat hate me if I leave for a week?

Though they may seem antisocial at times, the fact of the matter is that your cat LOVES you, and really hates it when you’re gone. Leaving your kitty alone for an extended period of time will likely cause serious anxiety, which can lead to destructive behavior.

Do cats feel sad when you leave?

Some cats may feel stressed when they are left alone but there’s lots you can do to help them. Although cats are usually quite happy to spend time in their own company, they can experience separation-related issues and loneliness when their owner is not home. This can lead to unwanted behaviours.