I love to travel, but my absence can be difficult for my cats. I also love to come home, and part of the reason that’s so good is that my cats go all out to show me that they missed me. Just the same, my returning home can be difficult for my cats too. See, everything that changes while I’m away isn’t necessarily bad in their view. (More on that in a minute.) First, here are the ways my cats show me they missed me while I was gone:
Jamie Bluebell, my gorgeous tortie, is absolutely ecstatic when we come home, even if we’ve only been gone for a few hours. If I’m coming home after a few days, even better. But the time gone doesn’t matter. It seems to be a tradition for her that she enjoys. When we walk into the house, she plops down in front of us and happily rolls around at our feet. This can go on for a few minutes.
Jamie has preferred places to do her dance. She’s most apt to do it right on the breezeway floor, her favorite spot (I have no idea why). There are times she can’t be bothered to be held or petted, but our coming home really unleashes something in this cat.
The cats are generally shut out of the bedroom at night. Yes, I know — my bad! But I sleep much better because of it. However, if I or we have been gone, the cats pursue their access to the bed even more tenaciously when we get back. They’re right at the door as we head to the bedroom, and they may very quickly slip in and protest a little more loudly than usual when I have to put them back out.
My minature panther, Rama Dassa Dude, makes a big show of posing on the bed and inviting me to snuggle if I’ve been gone. It’s his little ritual, just like Bluebell’s dance. I’ve learned to indulge the cats in their particular rituals. They seem to really appreciate it.
I bet this has happened to you, too. I come back from a trip, and the cats very obviously start showing off for me. It’s as if they’re putting on a show. They’ll playfight at my feet to demonstrate their prowess. They drag out toys to deliberately invite me to play. And sometimes, a strategically-placed toy will be waiting right in the middle of a doorway. Call me easily entertained, but I love this.
Ahh, but you knew there was a flipside, right? And there is. Sometimes it seems my cats wish I’d stay gone. Why would that be? They love me, but the subtle signs are there.
My cats positively squall when I come back home and begin feeding them. That’s because they get a lot more (read: too much) food when I’m gone. Sad to say, my partner is not as persnickety about serving sizes as I am. “But Dyson’s a big boy!” he’ll say. “He needs his food.” And thus, the cat diet begins all over again.
If I travel, my husband doesn’t usually bother to shut the bedroom door when he sleeps. Several cats and a person on a full-sized bed work better than two humans and several cats on a bed. So my husband usually can get adequate sleep, even with cats on the bed. However, they get attached to the bed, and don’t want to give up sleeping privileges when I get back!
Inadvertently, cat beds came to the rescue. We recently purchased some nice little cat beds. (An animal communicator advised me that Kieran wanted a red bed. I got him one and he loved it so much that I got another bed.) These are very popular. I think the cats may love these more than the human bed. They sure spend a lot of time in their new beds — perhaps because they can snuggle into the sides of these plushy contraptions and get more body warmth.
Every time I pull the suitcase out, I feel a little more guilty! It seems that the cats are understanding better and better what it means. I shut the bedroom door and try to pack out of their eyesight. But they know.
Still, it makes me insanely happy when I come home, and the cats celebrate with their cute behaviors.
How do your cats let you know they’re happy you’re back, or that they wished you were still gone. Share your stories in the comments!
More about cats and traveling:
About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of a short story collection about people and place. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.