Do cat owners know what their cat is up to when they are away at work all day? Do they think about it? Does it concern them?
This video of Kodi provides an insight into how some cats respond to their human companion leaving for work all day. How common is this form of feline behavior? Perhaps we need a study.
As you can see at the beginning of the video, Kodi has a cat companion but it does not stop him pacing by the front door with his comfort toy in his mouth for what seems like hours every day. A reporter describes Kodi as ‘clingy’. This is untrue.
His ‘owner’ is considerate and concerned and I guess can’t do anything about it but make a video showing Kodi’s distress.
An example of cat domestication failure
The video is sad. But this scene must happen millions of times daily across countless number of countries. Do you think we – humans in general – are doing enough to get cat domestication right?
Without wishing to be too pessimistic and negative, is this another failure of humans in the domestication of the cat?
Other ‘failures’ are declawing, feral cats, unwanted cats, cat abuse, cat meat, cat fur, extreme cat breeding, cat hoarding. There are other examples.
I failed when I was working
I am as much to blame as anyone else. When I was working I left my full-time indoor cat at home all day. I had hard days. I felt bad about it and she’d be there at the front door when I came home, curled up waiting patiently. It was heartbreaking. Although, fortunately I was able to take long breaks from work as I was a locum.
However, I was not doing a good enough job as a cat caretaker. Is Kodi’s problem a sign of cat domestication failure? The problem is that there is no solution for cat owners who work full time and live alone. And single people living alone are more likely to adopt a cat thinking that cats are self-sufficient and able to tolerate being alone all day. I am sure that is true.
Worse for dogs?
I have the impression that dogs suffer more than cats with separation anxiety. I don’t think it is good enough. We need to do something to resolve this.
Is it fair to say that single people who are away from home all day should not be allowed to ‘own’ a cat? Having two cats is not an automatic solution if one of them misses his human companion.
The books I have hardly mention separation anxiety in cats. But surely this is a big hidden problem that needs to be addressed.
Here’s a couple of comments to the video:
Turn on the radio by Erin Uber:
“I did petsitting for about 30 years. Some of my friends had dogs and cats who had severe separation anxiety. For some of them, turning on the radio when they left really comforted the pets, either to music or talk radio. You might try it, and see if it helps Kodi feel more at ease when you have to leave. Best wishes to you, and to Shorty and Kodi also!”
A story about a feral cat missing her caretaker:
“Many many years ago, a feral cat and her kittens appeared in my family’s garden. At first she was really terrified and aggressive, but after a few weeks, she got vagely used to us. A few months after she appeared, my mom and I went on vacation and we asked a neighbour to look after her. Upon our return, the cat was gone. The neighbour told us that she had been sitting in the garden, looking through the windows and searching for us. A little while later, she returned, but every time I talked to her after that, she would just turn her back on me and hide. I would never have thought that a feral cat would sulk so hard just for being left alone a few days! I think this is the best example that cats don’t just care about the food we provide to them.
In the years after that, she grew into the happiest, chattiest outdoor cat you can imagine, always glad to start a conversation with you.”