Cat Myths: Home Alone by Layla Morgan Wilde
Cat Myth #836: Cats are independent and can be left alone even for days.
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
|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,
Something here does not begin
|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?
Let him return,