Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Do Cats Get Sad When You Leave for Vacation? Feline Feelings Explained

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

tabby cat leans its paws on the window

Do Cats Get Sad When You Leave for Vacation? Feline Feelings Explained

Ah, vacation time is finally here! It’s time to leave home, go somewhere fun, and totally relax. Unfortunately, you can’t bring your cat on this trip, so you’ll have to leave them behind. But will your pet be sad that you’re gone?

There are a lot of anecdotes and research into the canine/human bond, but far less when it comes to the feline/human bond. Cats have a reputation for being somewhat aloof, so many believe they don’t miss their humans when they aren’t around. But is that true, or do cats get sad when you leave for vacation or aren’t home for a while?

The truth is cats can get sad when you leave for vacation! It turns out the cat/human bond is a strong one. Here’s a look at the ways your cat might show their sadness and how to better prepare your pet for when you’ll be away from home.

Do Cats Get Sad When You Leave for Vacation?

Felines are fiercely independent, so it may seem at times like your cat can handle life on their own. But while they are independent to an extent, our kitties are also highly dependent upon routine. Cats are creatures of habit and greatly dislike when their daily routine is interrupted or changed. And your leaving for vacation is a massive disruption to their routine!

This disruption can leave a cat feeling stressed or possibly even dealing with separation anxiety. After all, cats are social creatures and are used to having you around and following your every move. Plus, cats do miss their owners when they’re away. There’s actual scientific research to back this up, as a study looked at the emotional attachments between felines and their owners and how cats dealt with being separated from their people.

So, yes. Your cat can become sad while you’re gone on vacation.

lonely cat sits alone on a bed at home and sadly looks at the window
Image Credit: Natalia Lebedinskaia, Shutterstock

Signs Your Cat Missed You While You Were Gone

Have you ever noticed your cat acting somewhat odd when you return from a trip? Maybe they run and hide from you or act like they don’t know you. Perhaps they act scared and lash out. Or maybe the cat just gets more affectionate than usual. These are all signs that your pet missed you while you were away!

Affection is one way your pet might show they missed you. A cat may welcome you home with lots of purring and headbutting. They may then curl up with you when you’ve finally settled back into your home. They might also not want you to leave their sight.

More often, though, you might find the cat running away to hide when you return from vacation. Don’t take it personally! Your cat is just a little scared because things are changing again; plus, you no longer smell like them. It will just take your pet a bit of time to get used to having you around again.

A cat who missed you a lot may begin seeking your attention the second you step through the door and might do so excessively. This could look like the cat getting between you and whatever you’re doing, meowing or even howling at you and pawing at you constantly. Stop what you’re doing and spend some quality time with your pet!

Ever walked into your home after vacation to find the place destroyed? Things have been knocked over. The cat has gotten into the toilet paper and strewn it about. In short, the place is a mess. While this destruction could have been caused because your cat was bored, it could also have been done because they were unhappy you were away.

Felines have many ways of showing their dislike of you being away from home!

Sad, calico cat sitting, looking through small front door window on porch
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

How Can I Make Vacation Easier for My Cat

If you want to reduce how much your cat will miss you while you’re away so they’ll be less sad, you can do a few things to help make the vacation transition easier for them.

1. Arrange for a pet sitter or friend to come to check on the cat each day.

Besides the fact your cat will need to be fed and the litter box cleaned, this allows them to have human contact while you’re away.

2. See if your pet sitter or friend will come to meet the cat a few times before you leave.

This will help your pet get used to the new person so they don’t just run and hide when the sitter comes over.

3. Teach your sitter or friend your pet’s routine.

Disrupting a cat’s routine as little as possible will go a long way in helping them feel safer and calmer while you’re gone. So, make a note of the times you feed them each day, when you play, and so on.

4. Ensure you have enough supplies for when you’re gone.

This includes food, litter, treats, and toys!

5. Cat-proof your home.

Your sitter or friend won’t always be there, and cats can get into a lot. Make sure nothing dangerous (like chemicals) is in easy reach, and put away anything you don’t want to see potentially destroyed.

Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Felines can get sad when you leave for vacation. Part of this is because your being away disrupts their routine, but the other part is because our cats form strong emotional attachments to us and miss us when we’re gone. There are plenty of ways to tell if your cat was sad while you were away; when you return, their behavior will readily give it away.

To help your cat be a bit more comfortable while you’re on vacation, take some steps to prepare your home and pet for your absence. Get a pet sitter, teach them your cat’s routine, and cat-proof your home!

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Magui RF, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.