5 Behaviors My Cats Exhibit When I Return From a Trip


Last week I wrote about my cats’ behaviors while I’m packing for a trip. This whole trip business is fresh because I recently traveled to Los Angeles for CatConLA. My kitties’ actions prior to my trips are predictable, but their routine upon my return is also foreseeable. When I walk through the door with my highly fragrant suitcase, I can count on them to greet me in a number of typical ways. I’ve gotten used to this homecoming because I’ve lived with Cosmo and Phoebe for more than 11 years. It’s still, however, funny and interesting to observe them going through their usual motions.

Here are five ways my two kitties behave when I return home from a trip.

1. Ignore me

"You're a stranger to me."
“You’re a stranger to me.”

This is usually the first in a series of responses to my “abandonment.” My kitties decide they don’t want anything to do with me and repel my attempts at a happy homecoming.

“Come here, Cosmo! I missed you, buddy!”

Crickets. Total crickets.

In fact, he’ll not only ignore me, he’ll run away from my general direction. It’s like he’s forgotten who I am during our short time apart. Sure, he’ll eventually come around … once he remembers who I am and that I’m the one responsible for filling his belly.

2. Shout at me

This is more of a yawn than a giant meow, but her chattiness sounds like her mouth is quite large.
This is more of a yawn than a giant meow, but her chattiness sounds like her mouth is quite large.

Phoebe is my talker. She always has so much to tell me, especially if I’ve been away from home, even for an hour. She meets me at the door and starts in with back-to-back-to-back meows. Some meows are quick and clipped, while others are drawn out or double-time mews. She’s either scolding me for being away from home, telling me she missed me, or going on and on about what happened while I was gone. I think it’s a little of all three. Then she follows me around the apartment, continuing her mew-nologue. If I engage her in conversation, she replies with answers. We can go back and forth like that for quite some time.

“And then what happened?”


“You don’t say! I can’t believe that!”

“Mew, mew, mew!”

“Well, that’s just incredible. I wish I’d been here to see it.”


Just like that.

3. Examine their gifts

"I think the haul from the last trip was better."
“I think the haul from the last trip was better.”

Many of my trips are to pet-related conferences and conventions, which means I return with a bounty of cat toys and treats for my kitties. I usually place all their presents in the middle of the floor and see which ones generate the most interest. They initially seem interested, and even play with one or two, but then walk away and start batting a straw or some other found object.

They have no idea how lucky they are to have a seemingly endless well of free crap. They want the straw.

4. Smell my bag and its contents

"Do I smell a ham sandwich?
“Do I smell a ham sandwich?”

Returning from a trip wouldn’t be complete without my cats thoroughly examining my suitcase and its contents. It’s like the carrier that returns from the vet, full of exotic scents and faraway smells. I’m sure the airport and plane offer wild and wonderful odors that stick to the bag’s fabric. Think about all the TSA agents and bag handlers who’ve touched the thing. My cats might even be able to pick up the lingering scent of the bag handler’s lunchtime ham sandwich at LAX. Who knows?

5. Snuggle

"Oh, I'll be here a while. I hope you went to the bathroom."
“Oh, I’ll be here a while. I hope you went to the bathroom.”

Finally, after I put away the bag (still packed — I’m not gonna lie) and fill the food bowls, and a sense or normalcy fills the home, Cosmo and Phoebe will wander over and demand snuggles. In fact, they usually want retro snuggles from the days I was away from home. A lot of cuddling goes on when I return from a trip … after an adequate amount of ignoring takes place, of course. They always come around.

How does your cat behave when you return home from a trip?

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