Do cats miss their owners?

Web surfers ask “do cats miss their owners?”

You’d think that there was no need to ask this question because cats are sentient beings with emotions who form friendships with other cats and humans.

Contented cat
Contented cat. This painting is by Scottish artist Gina Wright.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

If a cat owner is good and has formed a strong relationship with their cat, which is the norm, then it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that the cat will miss his owner.

As a cat owner myself I know that cats miss their owners. There are numerous signs.

For example, as I am retired I am at home a lot. If I go out for the entire day, when I return my cat is waiting there at the door or near by for my return.

He’ll show me clear signs that he is pleased to see me. He’ll come up to me and rub against me. He’ll purr. He’ll vocalise, perhaps. He’ll do a nose touch maybe. This is the cat-to-cat greeting. And so on. I can sense that he is pleased. And I don’t believe I am projecting my feelings on to him.

Even when he comes in after going outside he’ll make greeting vocalisations (he does not meow which is a bit strange) before and while entering the home.

He’s obviously happy to come back and see me. It is all common sense really.

We also know that cats can suffer from separation anxiety. In the old days when I left my cat at a boarding cattery (I no longer do this) she’d be extremely pleased to see me and would recognise my voice when I picked her up.

The above are positive signs of our cat missing us. Sometimes cats demonstrate negative or bad behavior (as we see it) as a result of being separated from us too long or consistently over a long period. My ex-wife worked and played too hard and left her cat alone for too long. He used to defecate on her bed. This was a sign of stress arising out of overly long separation. Her cat would not have developed stress symptoms if he did not miss her.

The key to answering the question is that cats do feel emotions. We don’t know the extent of a cat’s emotions but I think you’ll find that it is agreed that contentment and the opposite, discontentment, are in the domestic cats emotional repertoire.

We also know that cats form close bonds with their human companion. They are members of the family. Combine these two facts and we have to come to the conclusion that cats miss their owners when separated for too long as felt by the cat.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

9 thoughts on “Do cats miss their owners?”

  1. Of course our beloved companions miss us when we are gone. I have 4 deaf ferals that I rescued-2 were adults and 2 were kittens. They all show signs of missing me and they’re soooo glad I came home and wasn’t eaten be a giant or got lost outside. I have to greet all and each one needs his or her time with Mom. I, too, need my time with my “kids”.

  2. Every time I went on vacation, my previous cat, Masha, would spend the first two evenings sitting on a windowsill in a hallway, waiting. She did it even after my late mother, who was catsitting gave her food. After a few days, Masha would stop until the day I got back from vacation.

  3. All of my eight cats have responded in the same manner as Albert’s. I was home for two years and they are clearly not pleased (neither am I).

    And the connection is long-lasting even if the cat is not yours. My friend’s cat hadn’t seen us in years. He was in a completely different location from where we had spent time with him. He had formerly resisted us seriously when we cat sat for him in the prior location. He did not come home to eat when we rang his food bell and resisted our coming into the house after she advised to not let him out, throwing a lamp in front of the door so I had to climb in the window. He was the sole cat of my friend who was enormously close with him. He always slept with her. Much to our amazement, during our trip he slept with us. He was melded to us during the trip although we spent a good deal of the time touring. He died shortly after and I truly believe he was saying goodbye as well as spending time with old friends. I actually think we were not cat owners at the time.

    My current babies (6 years – duh) were adopted from a vet. We drive 2 hours to take them to her. They clearly remember her and are glad to see her. They saw another vet also 2 hours from us and were fine the first time, not the second as they appeared to know they were not going to her despite the fact they they had gotten along well with the second vet. We’ll see how they react to their adoptive mother and the trip next time we visit.

  4. Yes, and the deeper and more consistent the bond, the more pronounced the behaviors. I’m also retired and have spent all my free time with mine. But when I had Pete, one of my black cats, we bond-built every moment I was home from work, and it only grew once I retired. Any time I left in the car, when I came back I could see my house from the end of the block as I turned onto my street. I could see Pete run out to the street on our driveway, tail up in the air, looking in my direction. As I approached I could see him circle in excitement, never taking his eyes off me. And when I parked I could hear him meow loudly in high-pitched excitement to greet me, again when exiting the car not taking his eyes off mine… and of course I vocalized to him and dropped down to pet and pick him up asap. We were tight. And I know he spent every separated minute listening for my car, which he could discern from more than a block away – and to me it sounded like any other, but Pete could tell the distinction.

    1. A beautiful comment which says it all in answering the question in the title. Thanks Albert. I can’t leave my Gabriel for long because I know he’ll miss me. They do anchor us. They limit our freedom. It is a price worth paying.

    1. ๐Ÿ™‚ – I had to ask the question and answer because the general public does. There is a lack of knowledge. Although most people realise cats miss us.

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