Do Cats Notice When You're Gone on a Trip?

Missing you already.
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Felines may be too dignified to shout their love from the rooftops, but your pet could very well miss you while you are away soaking up the sun on that beach vacation. Naturally, Mittens will pretend he hasn’t noticed your absence when you return, but that’s because he’s a cat!

The Human-Feline Bond

The human-feline bond can soar to sublime heights, particularly if you and your pet enjoy lots of one-on-one quality time together. The relationship between felines and their people is very similar to human bonds and your pet relies on your for comfort and companionship, as well as food and shelter. Being an intelligent, sensitive creature, he will undoubtedly be aware of your absence when you go away on a trip. In fact, some cats become so emotionally attached to their owners they become distressed even when Mom or Dad goes out to work.

Personality Factors

Although your pet will certainly take note if you have gone on a trip, and probably file it away for future reference if you don’t send him a postcard, his reaction to your absence will be partly determined by his own personality and temperament. Some felines are deeply emotional, temperamental little souls, while others are more independent and resilient. If Bubbles copes well when left to his own devices while you and your partner are out at work, he is more likely to take your absence in his stride when you are away on that trip, particularly if he receives lots of TLC and attention in your absence.

Minimizing Stress

Being a creature of habit, Mittens is less likely to pine for you if he sticks as closely to his regular routine as possible. You can minimize potential stress by arranging for someone to look after him in his own home while you and your other half are on vacation, and ensure that his regular feeding and playtime schedules aren’t disrupted. If you can arrange for a family member or adopted auntie or uncle to take care of him, all the better because he will feel comforted and reassured by seeing a familiar face. Having more than one cat can also alleviate separation distress, particularly if your pets are good friends and enjoy playing and cuddling together. Your pet is also less likely to brood over your absence if you provide him with plenty of stimulating toys to play with and place a cat tree or climbing frame near a window, so he can watch the world go by while you do the same from that Parisian café.

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye to your pet before you leave for a trip can make a world of difference to how he copes without you, according to feline behaviorist Anitra Frazier. You can reassure Flossy that you will return to her through visual communication. Because felines have an ability to pick up mental images telepathically, Frazier suggests that you do this by picturing night turning into day and day turning into night several times while transmitting these pictures telepathically to your pet when you are together. At the same time, paint a mental picture of your pet's caregiver feeding, cuddling and playing with her. This will help to reassure Flossy that although you will be away for several days, she will be cared for in your absence.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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