Going out of town and have to leave your adorable feline companion behind? Trust me, it’s not as easy as you think. This is what I learned from my recent trip.
Over the weekend, I traveled to Florida with my family to visit my sister. Unfortunately, this four-day trip meant that I had to leave my two cats—Dallas and Austin—behind, which was anything but great. In the past, I didn’t worry as much while leaving them both home alone when I traveled, because they always had plenty of food, water, and each other’s attention. But as of now, they too have to be separated from one another because of Austin’s medical issue.
In the middle of last year, Austin received her first seizure. She also had two more toward the end of the year. Because of this, she has to take phenobarbital (seizure medication). Being that this medication has to be administered to her every day, she had to stay at the vet while I was gone. This also meant that Dallas had to be home all by himself.
Home Alone Without a Human or a Fellow Furry Sibling
As I placed Austin in her pet carrier to go to the vet, Dallas watched me in confusion, as if he didn’t know what I was doing with his sister. When I came back home without her, it appeared that he was aware that she was gone because he paced throughout the house and sniffed everywhere. Watching this already gave me a hint of how he’d react when it was time for me to leave.
It was horrible leaving Dallas at home by himself. He literally sat by his kitty gate and watched me walk out of the door. In his mind, he probably felt I would be gone for a minute, but would eventually return. I could just imagine how awful he felt when realizing I wasn’t returning at all.
Like a lot of cat owners, my cat always has plenty of toys and space to run around in. Because of that, I think a lot of us start to wonder if our house is now a mess or if our furniture has been clawed. Despite that, realizing that no one is physically there to watch or play with my cat hurts.
A Scary Environment Around Unfamiliar People
I’m sure a few pet owners have at least one pet who hates going to the vet. And if you have a cat like my Austin, they want to attack everything in sight until you take them home to be with you and the other people they know. If you love your cat as much as I do, you’ll notice exactly how challenging it can be.
As there are many people who have to take their pets to the vet to stay, it becomes a different experience to what they’re used to at home. Instead of their comfy beds at home, they have to stay in a cage for the majority of the time; though, I’m sure the vet still makes them comfortable. But by staying at the vet for long periods, I’m sure they mainly miss that constant touch from their own owners.
What makes me feel somewhat better while I’m out of town, is getting that phone call from the vet letting me know she’s okay. In the back of my mind, I always know she’s in good hands; but actually hearing it is all the more assuring. Though she’s usually scared in the beginning, I just know she’s calm after a while.
That Strange Behavior Upon Returning
When I come home from my travels, I can’t wait to see my cats. I also can’t help but notice their behavior when they see me. It’s normally extremely welcoming, but also a bit sad.
My cat Dallas had the house in a bit of disarray, but I wasn’t worried about that because that was to be expected. What was alarming was his constant loud meows and following me everywhere I walked. Dallas is normally a needy cat who always wants attention, but when he saw me this time, I could see just how lonely he was, which sadden me.
Surprisingly, Austin had a different response when she saw me. It’s as if she was growling, oh, you’re finally here. Hurry up and take me home. When she finally got home, it seemed like her personality just changed, as she kept loudly meowing and running throughout the house. Like usual, it took a while for Dallas to start loving her again because she had a different scent on her that did not sit well with him. But as of now, they’re both happy kitties!
Of course, it’s never easy to say goodbye to your fury babies when going out of town, but there can be simple ways to make sure they never develop separation anxiety. Even if they are solely close to you as their owner, see if you can bring a friend or family member to stay at your house to keep them company. If that isn’t possible, I’d look into installing cameras in the home that you can talk through so your pet can constantly hear your voice.
I’ll definitely be looking into some of these myself for the next time I go out of town. Regardless of what you do, make sure your cat never feels abandoned. Make sure they have the satisfaction of knowing that there is some type of presence there, even when you cannot physically be there.