Cat Myths: Home Alone

Cat Myths: Home Alone by Layla Morgan Wilde

Cat Myth #836: Cats are independent and can be left alone even for days.

Cat-quote-loneliness-abandonment- black and white

The myth number is a joke but the subject is serious. Well-socialized cats crave connection with their human family. Some cats require more attention and like dogs can experience separation anxiety while pet parents are at work. Being lonely or bored can lead to destructive behavior or litter box issues. Leaving a cat alone for even 24 hours can wreak emotional if not physical damage. The number of times I’ve heard people say, it’s fine to leave kitty alone with some kibble for the weekend is staggering. No, it’s not okay.  Cat can get ill requiring immediate vet care. Water bowls get spilled, leaving nothing. The door the toxic products gets pried open with paw. Accidents can and do happen to cats and or the home in a blink of an eye.

And then there is the ultimate leaving, when humans die leaving their beloved cat. Cats do grieve. Cats can feel lonely, abandoned, fearful, insecure, anxious and depressed but emotions in cats are different than in humans. They don’t feel spiteful, guilty or embarrassed but we’re a long way from understanding feline emotions scientifically. In animals, fear is a behavior that’s both innate and learned. A rat is hardwired to freeze at the sight of its very first cat. Neuroscience is bound to reveal new insights in feline emotions but until then, let’s be cognizant of the basics.

  • Keep cats stimulated and happy with adequate inter-active play, places to perch and hide, vertical and horizontal space to explore and scratch, varieties of fun toys and all toxic or unsafe items removed
  • Prepare for trips or vacations in advance hiring a professional cat sitter or reliable friend/neighbor with an emergency plan in place.

This evocative poem sums up the rich emotional landscape of cats.

A Cat in an Empty Apartment
Wislawa Szymborska

Die? One does not do that to a cat.
Because what’s a cat to do
in an empty apartment?
Climb the walls.
Caress against the furniture.
It seems that nothing has changed here,
but yet things are different.
Nothing appears to have been relocated,
yet everything has been shuffled about.
The lamp no longer burns in the evenings.

Footsteps can be heard on the stairway,
but they’re not the ones.
The hand which puts the fish on the platter
is not the same one which used to do it.

Something here does not begin
at its usual time.
Something does not happen quite
as it should
Here someone was and was,
then suddenly disappeared
and now is stubbornly absent

All the closets were peered into.
The shelves were walked through.
The rug was lifted and examined.
Even the rule about not scattering
papers was violated.

What more is to be done?
Sleep and wait.

Let him return,
at least make a token appearance.
Then he’ll learn
that one shouldn’t treat a cat like this.
He will be approached
as though unwillingly,
slowly,
on very offended paws.
With no spontaneous leaps or squeals at first.

 

22 thoughts on “Cat Myths: Home Alone”

  1. I get lonely and can understand that Page dos too I I VISIT FOR A COUPLE F HOURS THREE TIMES A DAY, SHE CAN’T LIVE IN MY SPACE BECAUSE SHE CANNOT ACCEPT MY OTHER KITTY. wHAT T D. p

  2. I get lonely and can understand that Page dos too I I VISIT FOR A COUPLE F HOURS THREE TIMES A DAY, SHE CAN’T LIVE IN MY SPACE BECAUSE SHE CANNOT ACCEPT MY OTHER KITTY. wHAT T D. p

  3. First off I want to say awesome blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Thank you!

  4. I’ve just got this poem as a New Years present from my next-door neighbours. Normally, I am not a keen poen reader, but that one touched me to cry.
    Whenever I am away for a longer time, my very good friend does the catsitting,she is devoted to Barbarossa nad Lucifer, and I hope I mangage not to leave them alone.
    Sille, when you are no longer a teenie, as I am (72), there is always that danger hanging around like Damokles’ sword.
    My cats are vrery dependent on personal relationships, although they can talk to birds or mice outside, and they give in return so much,. they make my home happy!

  5. Hey Marg,
    There is an awesome animal communicator named Emerald Decour, my friend has been using her for yrs & she turned her on to me. I have had great insights into many of my cats behaviors that have helped me, help them through several challenges. You might find her helpful understanding what is going on emotionally with this kitty that you are fostering who’s pet parent died.

    Also, I have found Emerald very helpful when I have had one of my cats that were with a terminal illness; I found great splice being able to communicate with them, & they with me, leaving nothing left unsaid. I found leave in knowing when ” the right time was ” to help them cross -over to the rainbow -bridge. A time like that is difficult enough to go through, so this was extremely helpful for me & helped me find solace in a heartwrenching circumstance.

    I hope this information could help you help this poor kitty through her grieving & help her release her stuck emotions, & help her love & bond again with another human.

    Blessings ???

  6. The poem is so sad because my ex-husband recently passed away, and even thought his cats have a good home with me, I can tell they very definitely miss him. Cats like dogs do become bonded with their human companions.

  7. Oh yes, kitties definitely thrive on interaction and love. Moosey does not like when I am away. He loves Tracey, but he gets very depressed and mopey when I am not around…

  8. I know when Austin and I share moments of just engaging eye contact, that I could never leave him on his own for more than a few hours (that he is used to). Sometimes I know he stays close and stares at me just for comfort. He puts out his paw and touches my hand and I know we are fine. It is to do with consistency, continuity and love. He is safe and all is well.

    I couldn’t leave him alone for days. It’s an abuse of trust at the very least!

    Loved this post x

  9. Who could ever think that a creature as exquisite as a cat would not have the strongest of emotions! My babies need me just as much as I need them.
    Love fills the heart and connects the soul .Love Skeeter and Izzy >^..^<

  10. All I have to do is look into my little Abby’s eyes and I know she needs me. Her bond with me is complete, so this posting hit a very deep spot within me.

  11. Thank you for this! I hear this way too often. We get pet sitting calls where people will ask if we’ll come to check on their cat every couple of days. We’ll never agree to that.

  12. It is especially sad when a cat’s owner dies all of a sudden. I have a foster cat here that that is what happened and she is still mad at the world. They do get lonely. Great post.

  13. The Woman sometimes leaves us with only the Male overnight and that is horrible. We get a pet sitter otherwise, but I wish she would live in. Sigh. As a Siamese, of course, we can get particularly depressed and lonely for our person. She should just never go away.

  14. merlin …thiz bee veree troo…even tho eye wuz an onlee kitteh coz eye dinna toleratez other catz in me houz…me mom all wayz made sure eye had stuff ta see N due while her wuz werkin..pluss eye lurned ta use de computer…but ya dinna heer this frum me 😉

    Dude k

  15. I agree – I hate it when my human leaves town. We always have someone here – either her boyfriend or our cool live-in pet sitter. But I like having someone to order around, and no one else fits the bill so gratifyingly.

  16. Lucky I’m an indoor/outdoor kitty !
    During the day when my pawrents go to work, I can head to any human neighbour near by. or talk to da birds or go to see Smudge ( my kitty’s friend next door ) or nap.

    But I used to get stress once when my pawrents send me to the jail ..OOPS ! I mean Cattery for their holiday. Guess what I came home so weak. Only thing about it..I love my pawrents more and lose weight ; )

    I hope none kitties have to suffer with this things.
    Purrs

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