HomeCat Behaviorattention seekingDo cats follow their owners?


Do cats follow their owners? — 4 Comments

  1. Thanks, Michael. In addition to what you correctly say, I think that Tootsie also learned that certain loud noises were associated with events where she could actually witness/ see the cause of the noise- like the trash bins being picked up from inside the complex- and because of that she learned that these events were not threatening to her.

    But, contrast that with thunder, which always freaked her out. No visible cause for that.

    Nothing like trying to read a cat’s mind, eh?! 😉

    I’m still interested in learning more about cats who follow their humans when they walk outside, as in the cases I mentioned. I gave three anecdotes, but I don’t know how common this is. I hope more readers will add their own experiences.

    • My cat loves to go out to the garden enclosure and he particularly wants me to be there with him. He squeaks when I turn up and rubs against me and wants to interact in the garden. He loves it. It is as if he wants me to join him in exploring what is going on. Perhaps he feels safer or he wants to share the experience. I am not sure.

      When he is in the garden he turns towards the window looking for me in the house. It is as if he is waiting for me to come out to join him.

  2. My dear departed Tootsie would go “walkies” with me. Tootsie, MC poly rescue cat. Tootsie got to go outside, but only when I was nearby. When I first adopted her (at age six) she was a very scared indoor cat. She would run away as fast as she could when I’d open the patio door, and started at every semi-loud sound.

    But she finally got brave enough to go to the doorstep of the open patio door, and then out onto the patio itself. And what happened was something I hadn’t predicted- she became a much calmer and more relaxed cat, even indoors. Loud noises (except for thunder) no longer bothered her.

    I live in a condo complex, and in the part where I live, there is a large square green open space, with the patios of all the condos there opening onto this space via a patio gate. And, on all four sides, adjacent to the patio gates, there is a concrete walkway. Tootsie started venturing onto the walkway next to the patio gate. I’d follow her out to the walkway, to see what she was up to.

    Then, for some reason I can’t recall, I said to her “Okay, Tootsie, let’s go walkies” . And, as I started walking along the walkway, she followed me, or walked with me, all around the square. So, that became a regular outing.

    But, back to your original point, Michael, no, Tootsie did not follow me around indoors in the same way. She did follow me indoors, to the extent that she kept track of where I was, and would always lounge about in the room where I was, or very nearby. But, she was never under foot.

    Oddly enough, I was thinking about this topic recently. The mother of a friend had a cat who would always follow her whenever, where ever, she walked outside. And, when I was in Ithaca for a sabbatical, I willing acquired a “rental cat” that came with my rental house. The family was going to Boston for a sabbatical, but didn’t know what to do with their indoor/ outdoor cat. They really didn’t want to take her to Boston because, odd but true, coyotes were killing cats. So when I said as a joke, not knowing anything about their fears of taking her to Boston, “I don’t suppose the rental house might include a rental cat” well, they jumped at the chance.

    The “rental cat”, Kiri, would follow me as I walked to work. But, she’d stop at the edge of the neighborhood, and was there waiting when I walked home.

    In all three cases I’ve mentioned, the cats were female. I’ve wondered if only female cats follow their “owners” in this way.

    • Thanks for a great comment Valley Girl.

      “she became a much calmer and more relaxed cat, even indoors. Loud noises (except for thunder) no longer bothered her….”

      This is because Tootsie was exposed to more stimuli. She became used to it. The indoor life is arguably too sterile. It is calm but unnatural. The best combo is indoor life and a nice large outside enclosure where a cat can receive the stimuli of nature and human activity in safety.

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