Pet Parenting
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5 Ways My Cats Greet Me After I’ve Been Away Overnight

When I return from an overnight trip, my cats initiate conversation, demand snuggles, and are prepared with a "stranger danger" plan.

Angie Bailey  |  Jan 23rd 2017


The way my cats greet me after I’ve been away varies based on how long I’ve been gone from their eyesight. If I’ve made a mere Target run, they’re glad to see me, but mostly they’re like, “Oh, hi. What’d you bring me?” If I’ve been gone for several days, they can hold a mean grudge. Then there’s that in-between time, which has been more prevalent in the last six months: the overnight.

My boyfriend lives nearby, and we take turns staying at one another’s homes. I’m usually at his place a couple of nights a week. He picks me up on his way home from work, and then drops me off at my home office the following morning on his way back to his away-from-home-office. My cats tend to react the same ways upon my return from each overnight trip — here are five of the ways they greet me.

1. Smell my bags

"This is relevant to my interests."

“This is relevant to my interests.”

After returning from trips to not-my-boyfriend’s-house, my bags sometimes smell like other animals. Most of my friends have cats and dogs, so there’s plenty of “strange” for my cats to take in when I arrive home. My boyfriend currently doesn’t share his home with pets, so there’s no cat or dog scent on my bags; however, Cosmo and Phoebe take their time thoroughly examining the foreign smells that do exist. He lives directly across the Mississippi River from me, so perhaps my bags pick up an “eau de river” smell of smallmouth bass and floating sticks.

2. Run to food dish

"Look at me. I'm obviously wasting away."

“Look at me. I’m obviously wasting away.”

No matter how much food is sitting at the bottom of their bowls, they act like it’s a famine situation when I walk through the door. They stand by their bowls and stare at me. I’m sure their little heads have convinced them that I’ve been gone for days — nay — weeks! How have they survived on the mere crumbs that I left them for sustenance? They’re such brave souls.

3. Demand a snuggle

"You're MINE now."

“You’re MINE now.”

After they’re sure they won’t perish from hunger, they want a snuggle. They don’t shun me like they do when I’ve been gone for an extended period of time — quite the opposite. Their eyes follow me until I sit down, and then they descend on me like a pair of snuggle-hungry jackals. Even if I’ve sat down only to remove my shoes, they’re right there, ready to take what’s rightfully theirs. Also to maybe play with shoestrings.

4. Follow me

"Where ya going? I'll come too. Hi. Hi. Hi."

“Where ya going? I’ll come too. Hi. Hi. Hi.”

When my human kids were young, they’d be right at my heels the moment I came home from being away for any amount of time. They’d have a million questions for me, as well as endless details about what they’d been up to while I was gone. My kitty children are kind of the same way. They follow me as I hang up my coat, take off my shoes, unpack my bag, and go to the bathroom (of course). Phoebe has no shortage of meows to offer, and we have an ongoing conversation.

“What did you do while Mama was away?”

“Meeeee-oowwww”

“That sounds fabulous! What else did you do?”

“Mrrrr.”

“That sounds very exciting.”

Cosmo follows, but has nothing verbal to add. I’m convinced he telepathically communicates with me, though. Don’t ask me how I know … I just do.

5. Think I am an intruder

"Danger! Maybe."

“Danger! Maybe.”

I think the funniest way my cats greet me is the, “assuming I’m an intruder for the first few seconds” way. There’s a long hallway that extends from the front door to the living area. About halfway down the hallway is the door to my bedroom. When I open the front door and step inside, I see the cats heading from the living area to the bedroom. Just as they get to the bedroom door, they pause, notice it’s me, and then continue down the hall to greet me. If I were an intruder, they’d be under the bed in no time flat. They initially head that way, though — just in case. They definitely have a “stranger danger” plan. They normally lead with this plan when I’ve been gone for more than a night.

How do your cats greet you after you’ve been gone overnight?