Cat at home

We decided not to take our cats on vacation with us because we are, for the most part, sane. (No wisecracks, there.) The cats remained at home with someone to come minister to them  once a day during our trip.

Cats don’t understand vacation. Indoor cats, in particular, think of life as a vacation and spend entire days doing what we had to pay gobs of money to do: lounging around, sleeping late, eating food they didn’t have to prepare. They think leaving their home is a tragedy worthy of an epic poem (which they compose vociferously in their cat carriers) and after arriving in a new location, they promptly find someplace to hide from eagles and turtles. Behind the washing machine is a safe place, they tell me. Not a single eagle or turtle has ever gotten them back there.

The first time my Patient Husband was away overnight for a job interview, back when Cat#1 was barely out of kittenhood, I noticed her getting nervous as I got ready for bed. When I turned off the lights, she let out a heartbroken yowl. I didn’t need a translator for that one. It was clearly, “You forgot him! You always go before dinner and get him, but tonight you forgot!”

A lot of lawn has been mowed since those days. Our two older cats no longer care if we’re here, as long as food appears.

Jerina, on the other hand, had never been in this house without us before. And I admit, to my shame, that I hadn’t considered how our absence would be interpreted by a cat who already had been abandoned once by her owners.


Even after four months, she’s skittish. If I approach too quickly, she bolts, then returns. My Patient Husband has taken to calling her “Bweckfith” in a Sylvester-and-Tweetie voice because she acts as if, every time, he plans to eat her in cold blood. We joke that we should have named her Tasty Morsel.

When we returned, Jerina showed herself (highly unusual) and stayed out in the open. She looked distressed. She followed me around.

And then, when I sat on the bed, she got on my lap. She purred. She kneaded. She wouldn’t budge.

That was as plain an “I missed you!” as I could have imagined. She never sits on me (beside me, yes, but not on) and she doesn’t knead on me. But that night, she stayed beside me, cuddling me, kneading on me, purring.

Don’t go again.

She loves us. She’s only been here four months, and we have reason to believe her previous owners were mean, but she thinks of this as home. It’s a good thing. It’s a very good thing.


  1. Samantha

    I’ve had my cat for over five years now, and she does that to me when I come home from a weekend away. She has my parents to love on her, but they won’t allow her in their room. I’ve come home from my trips to find her laying on the recliner in the family room, staring at the door leading from the house to the garage. If she hears my voice before the door is open, I am greeted by a lecture at the door. No matter what though, she always tries to trip me as I come in, because she needs to reclaim my ankles as hers.

    1. philangelus

      How dare you keep your ankles to yourself? 🙂

  2. Jason Block

    Now this is a subject I can deal with. 🙂 When Sharron and I went to England, Taffy(no longer with her) wouldn’t eat for three days until Sharron spoke to her on speakerphone/ I am cat sitting right now and one cat, Ginger, meows loudly when I come in to feed her. I stay about 30 minutes a day watching TV on the bed and she will jump up and lay next to me.

    Cats DO get emotionally attached.

  3. philangelus

    I never doubted that cats get emotionally attached. But I didn’t expect based on her previous behavior that Jerina was *that* attached to us.

  4. Lookin^Up

    I had a cat for about 10 years, raised him from kittenhood. Despite than I’m human and he’s feline, we had a lot in common. He liked to go off by himself and sleep or whatever he was doing. The first time I panicked and thought Erastus had run away. But while I was watching TV about 4 or 5 hours later, he showed up and jumped on my chest to relax, purring. Similarly, when I’m gone for some time, he’d be sitting in the window waiting for me. Once after I was gone for several days, making sure he had plenty of food and water, he vocalized in no uncertain terms how upset he was.

  5. Diinzumo

    [sarcasm] But everyone will tell you cats are independent creatures who don’t care where you are, so long as there is food and water available. [/sarcasm]

    1. philangelus

      Hah! Actually, cats are independent creatures who don’t care where you are, so long as you’re right there. 😀

  6. AnotherFaceintheCrowd

    Well, not emotionally dependent isn’t the same as indifferent, but that’s a subtlety lost on many. 😉

  7. cricketB

    Have you heard the Stuart McLean (Vinyl Cafe) story of cat on vacation?