Do You Suffer from Separation Anxiety When You Have to Leave Your Cat?

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Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is a well-documented psychological condition in which an individual experiences excessive anxiety regarding separation from home or from those to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment. And while we usually think of separation anxiety in terms of pets being stressed about being separated from their guardians, I think it exists in reverse, too. For most of my adult life, I’ve felt anxious about traveling – and I actually like to travel. I’m not afraid of flying, and I enjoy a change of scenery, whether it’s visiting friends in familiar places, or whether it’s traveling to someplace I’ve never been before.

But traveling means leaving my cats behind – and that’s something I’m never completely comfortable with. And I’m pretty sure that many of you feel the same way.

I have the best cat sitter on the planet. Valerie comes to visit Allegra and Ruby twice a day, and she doesn’t just feed them and scoop their litter boxes. She plays with them, gives them plenty of love and attention, and sometimes, she even hangs out and watches television with them. She calls or texts me after each visit to let me know that the girls are doing well.

During a recent trip, a blizzard was forecast for our area. I was sitting by a pool in Florida, worrying about whether Valerie would be able to get to my girls. I know they’re not going to starve if they miss a meal, but I hated the thought of them being all alone for more than 12 hours at a time. Valerie, bless her heart, made a third visit the night before the storm to give the girls a midnight snack (which they thought was pretty cool!) She had a friend with a four-wheel drive car on standby for the next day, and managed to get to my house for both breakfast and dinner visits.

So obviously, there’s absolutely no reason for me to worry about the girls, right? But I still do.

People who don’t understand what it’s like to love a cat may accuse me of having a co-dependent relationship with my cats. And maybe I do. I miss my girls when I’m not home, but more than that, I worry about them being without human company for such long stretches of time in between Valerie’s visit, because they’re so used to having me around all day, every day.

I know that they probably sleep most of the day and night when I’m not home. They probably chase each other through the house for a few minutes, and they probably spend some time watching the goings on outside the windows. They probably don’t spend a lot, if any, time worrying about when I’m going to come home.

I’ve learned to cope better with being gone. Knowing that the girls are in such good hands with Valerie is a huge help. I try to let go of my need to be in control of the universe, and trust that they will be fine. And I connect with them energetically several times a day, sending them love and letting them know that I’ll be home soon.

I won’t let my separation anxiety stop me from traveling, but I rarely go away for more than three or four days at a time. I can’t remember the last time I’ve taken a real vacation of a week or more, the way I used to before I had cats. And while it sounds tempting at times to do that, I know I’d just be too anxious about being away from my girls to really enjoy it.

So tell me: do you experience separation anxiety when you have to leave your cats? How do you handle it?

 

127 Comments on Do You Suffer from Separation Anxiety When You Have to Leave Your Cat?

  1. Robyn
    April 19, 2016 at 11:17 am (1 year ago)

    Hi, thanks for posting your personal emotions regarding your separation anxiety over leaving your cats. I too suffer from this and its comforting to know that I’m not the only one. I’m supposed to be excited right now about a 3 day camping trip but instead, I’m feeling real anxiety in my chest over being away from my babies. They won’t even be alone during this time, as my roommate will be there 100% of the time to care for them. They love him and he is co-parent to them, but that doesn’t help me any! The cats and I have morning and evening rituals that I’m sure they will miss, because I know I sure do. I guess in the end, so long as they are well cared for, we will all survive the time apart. I do wish I could take at least one of my cats camping with me, but obviously that is not a good idea for many reasons I won’t go into here.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 19, 2016 at 3:23 pm (1 year ago)

      It sounds like you have the best possible situation with your roommate and co-parent caring for your babies while you’re gone, Robyn. I hope you can relax enough to enjoy your trip!

      Reply
    • martine lambe
      April 20, 2016 at 3:21 am (1 year ago)

      Hi same for me. Im going to Nice France for 3 nights, ill be home on the 4th day and im almost dreading it! My 4 babies are with me day and night, i work from home and cater to their needs 24/7. We have such a close bond. My sister and friend are taking it in turns to come twice a day to feed them and clean their litter trays. I live in a small rural community and my cats enjoy both indoor and outdoor life. I know theyll be fine but it still ruins any holiday i take. Lots of love from Ireland xx

      Reply
      • Robyn
        April 20, 2016 at 10:37 pm (1 year ago)

        I’m embarrassed by the amount of anxiety I have tonight in anticipation of leaving them in the morning for my camping trip. I know this is really not normal, and I probably need some counseling or something. I think I will be ok once I arrive at my destination though. Sometimes it helps when I play videos on my phone of my kitties! haha Last time I went camping, there was a campground tabby and I tried my best to get him to let me pet him but he wouldn’t come close enough. That did help ease my need for a kitty fix a little bit.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          April 21, 2016 at 5:46 am (1 year ago)

          I don’t think you’re the only one who feels that way, Robyn. Is it normal or not? It’s what you feel, so it’s real to you. If you feel that it’s interfering with doing what you want to do, then I would absolutely go for some counseling. I hope you can enjoy your trip once you get there!

          Reply
  2. allee
    February 4, 2016 at 12:16 am (1 year ago)

    Hi Ingrid, my cat is the Love of my life Love her more than anything or anyone, her name is Angel a blue burmese age 10. My whole life I have suffered anxiety I am in my 40’s and have been through a lot of emotional turmoil, Angel has been there for me, she is my constant companion, is always on me or by my side. I adore her as she does me, she is a very timid cat that hides if people visit, she likes my partner but doesn’t love him, I am the only one she cuddles, kisses, head bonks, sleeps with and purrs with. I live in Australia and last year decided I would really love to go to Florida and visit Universal Studio’s as a mad Harry Potter fan & also visit WDW. For 2 weeks, it has all been booked and the airfare is paid, I’m due to go in October, I have been convincing myself I can do this but now I am not so sure I can leave her due to my own anxiety & hers, I am pretty sure she will fret, I know she will taken care of here at home but I still don’t know if I can do it, I am scared of a panic attack at the airport if I continue to go through with it, I don’t know what to do. I know People think I am crazy I know and I don’t care about that but it’s nice to read here I am not alone and that there are many that understand, I don’t have not one person in my life that truly understands. Thank you to anyone that took the time to read this.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 4, 2016 at 5:45 am (1 year ago)

      I totally understand what you’re going through, Allee, but I also think it’s important that you try to work through this. I would contact a therapist for advice and support. There’s plenty of time for you to work through these emotions before you leave in October. I believe cats come into our lives to teach us, and perhaps, one of Angel’s lessons is to force you to work through this particular issue? All my best to you, I know it’s hard.

      Reply
  3. Jenna
    January 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm (2 years ago)

    I hate leaving my kitty too, im still in school and I’ve been sad so I got my cat about 5 months ago. Ive been with her everyday since I had her, now I’m leaving her with my mom for about a week and im absolutely devastated, whenever I was sad she was always right there, now I’m scared that when I leave she’ll forget me or feel anxiety. I sound absolutely crazy but I love my kitten more than anything, she was a rescue. I think it’s harder on me leaving her because I’ve spent every minute I could with her since I’ve had her.

    Reply
  4. Hannah
    December 19, 2015 at 10:58 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m a first time kitty owner and I love my little angel so much. I’ve just spent the evening with family and didn’t get away until late and from about half way through the evening I was already thinking about returning to my little kitty. I worry that she’ll get lonely on her own and also I get separation anxiety leaving her. I miss her soft fur and her squishy face. We’ve just got back and she was so excited to see me but because she’s being so playful my husband won’t let her stay in bed with us tonight. I love my husband and I understand where he’s coming from but I’ve had a whole evening away from her and tomorrow I’m out a lot of the day and I miss my fuzzy munchkin!

    Glad to know I’m not alone. My friend came round earlier and she always looks after our pets whilst we’re away. She said that she was looking forward to meeting the extra mouth she’ll have to feed when we go away. I said in all seriousness that we won’t ever be going away (at least for a long time) because I can’t leave her. She’ll be fine but I won’t!

    Reply
    • Rose G.
      December 30, 2015 at 11:39 pm (2 years ago)

      I have three fur kids and I hate leaving them. The guilt is horrible. One of them is a rescue kitty and he cries when i leave for work and greets me when I come home like I’ve been gone for weeks. If I travel, I usually fly so I leave my trusted friend/sitter my car to use (he doesn’t own one) to check on them twice daily. He plays with them and scoops and they like him. He also sends me text updates. It helps to know that someone I trust is watching them. I give a long list of instructions and emergency numbers as well. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Scott
    November 19, 2015 at 12:18 pm (2 years ago)

    I have a very similar situation to the author’s. We have the best girl and her mother who come over two times a day when we are away. They feed, play with, and hang out with them when they come over. They text us after every visit and even send us pics. We still leave a long list of instructions that includes the vet’s number.

    I know that they are taken care of in that way, but the thing that I can’t shake is…what it something happens when we are away. I’m not necessarily worried that they will get sick or something like that…I’m worried about things like what if someone breaks in because they know that we are away…or what if there is a fire during that time? We have lamps on timers in several rooms and that does make me feel a little better.

    My wife loves the cats as much as me and she thinks that I am being ridiculous. She just plays it off saying that everything will be fine. I know it’s my issue, but it is still real to me and bothers me a lot. When we go on a trip, I just want to enjoy myself…but I constantly worry about this. I just wish that I could look into a crystal ball and see that they will be fine when we return.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm (2 years ago)

      I hear you, Scott. There’s just something unsettling about being far away, no matter how good a care they get while we’re gone!

      Reply
    • maggie
      December 19, 2015 at 5:44 pm (2 years ago)

      I know how you feel because I am the same way. I miss them when I go to work and I worry what if something happens and I am not there to help them.

      Reply
  6. paul
    September 13, 2015 at 10:03 pm (2 years ago)

    Well this is my first time ever talking about something like this..Im a Australian bloke in his late 40s and have been sharing a house for the last year. The homeowner who owns the Puss in question is not particularly animal friendly and goes away quite a bit…consequently I have become very attached to Puss and now must leave the residence…I am experiencing a unexpected flurry of emotion and worry that Puss will be lonely and sad when I leave shortly. The owner is not nasty to Puss but affection is very short and far between…Puss sleeps on my bed every night and I worry about how she will cope when I leave…is this silly? I really don’t know..its just how I feel any advice would be gratefully received.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 14, 2015 at 5:49 am (2 years ago)

      I don’t think it’s silly at all, Paul. Unfortunately, short of asking your housemate whether you can adopt Puss, I’m not sure what to tell you. Since your housemate travels so much, perhaps he would be willing to consider that?

      Reply
  7. Lizzie
    September 13, 2015 at 12:24 am (2 years ago)

    Oh God… This is all me. I’m moving out of the country for work, my cats will stay at the family house with my parents and brother…but I feel sooo anxious. Heck I have to find a place to rent or sleep in a tent but I’m here reading up everything I can find to get my babies more comfortable.

    I know my mom loves them just like I do and my dad and brother are super protective of them but I am sick with worry.

    Reply
  8. jenna
    August 14, 2015 at 5:49 am (2 years ago)

    Hi ,
    i am so nervous i am leaving my fur baby for 3 months !!
    i live at home with my mum , dad and 2 brothers and our other cat so i know he will be well looked after and some things wont change but i am still so scared that he will have separation anxiety cause i am his mum , he sleeps on my bed and always comes up for a cuddle on the couch
    the longest i have left him has been 10 days and that was so hard i was getting my parents to message pictures and updates and they send me pics of him sleeping on my bed/ on my pillow

    and i dont want to say how nervous i am abput leaving him because people already think im a crazy cat lady

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 14, 2015 at 5:57 am (2 years ago)

      As you can see, you’re in good company here, Jenna. It sounds like this may be harder on you than on your kitty since he gets to stay in his familiar environment, but I know it’s so difficult, and for such a long time, too. All my best to you!

      Reply
      • maggie
        December 19, 2015 at 5:46 pm (2 years ago)

        OMG I know how you feel and yes you are in good company!

        Reply
  9. Jackie Younce
    July 19, 2015 at 2:12 pm (2 years ago)

    I worry constantly about mine. We actually took our 2 cats at the time on our honeymoon! Lol!! I have a mother in law that knows My cats are like children, so she sends me pics and video while we are away. Still, I can’t stand being gone more than a few days from them. I pray constantly. Material things can be replaced but my kitties cant!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 19, 2015 at 3:05 pm (2 years ago)

      You are so right, Jackie!

      Reply
  10. Diane
    July 18, 2015 at 6:31 pm (2 years ago)

    This is totally me. We live in Florida full time, travel to Maine 4 times a year for 7 days. I do have an absolute saint of a friend who moves into my house for the whole time we are gone. She’s a vet tech that I have known for 22 years. I fill the refrig for her, and she has her run of movie rentals. Kits have someone to play with, sleep with every night, and they love Nancy. This sounds perfect, but yes, I totally hate leaving them. I end up sick to my stomach for a week before leaving, with guilt of leaving them. The bond of love is so strong, that I don’t feel myself being away from them. I even have pangs of guilt just leaving them for the day to go to work. I do spend every evening playing, brushing and treating to ease my guilt. Don’t understand why this is so hard, but I wish is wasn’t. Just love my kitties!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 19, 2015 at 6:14 am (2 years ago)

      It does sound like you have the perfect situation with your vet tech friend moving in while you’re gone, Diane, but I completely understand that you’re still not okay with leaving your kits. As you can see from all the other comments, you’re in good company!

      Reply
  11. Jenny
    July 18, 2015 at 5:08 pm (2 years ago)

    Your article describes a person just like me. I do have a wonderful sitter who spends time with my 3 cats twice a day but, like you, I am rarely gone for more than 3-4 days at a time. My female just got over an illness and would not have not tolerated being medicated by anyone but me. And I would not consider boarding her, so I would have canceled my plans had she not gotten well. That’s just the way it is. I make no apologies for not taking longer vacations or for being devoted to my felines. I’m happy that way.

    Reply
  12. Amy
    July 15, 2015 at 10:04 am (2 years ago)

    I read this upon my return from six days away. . . . I relate to this article on so many levels. Like you, I have a wonderful Valerie; her name is Amber. I, too get daily texts and video. Still, I remain anxious in my absence. My Hogan followed me around the house for the first day, never leaving my side, when I returned. Did he really miss me? Or is he working on my guilt? I would like to travel with Amber, but I know how hard it is to find a sitter who loves a pet like the owner does.

    Reply
  13. Ilse
    July 14, 2015 at 8:22 am (2 years ago)

    It drives my boyfriend nuts that I take 2 days into our vacation to stop worrying about them – so yeah, I totally feel you 😉

    Reply
  14. Jane Malick-Nugent
    July 14, 2015 at 2:30 am (2 years ago)

    I thought that I was the only one with this issue. I have a very hard time when I am leaving my two cats. I have a wonderful sitter whom I speak to daily and that helps me a lot while I am away.

    Reply
  15. Pamela
    July 13, 2015 at 11:07 pm (2 years ago)

    It can definitely be worrisome to leave my cats unattended. Especially if it’s for more than a couple of days. I’m lucky to have friends and family who will come over and check on them. Give them some attention and love.

    Reply
  16. DebiOco
    July 13, 2015 at 10:10 pm (2 years ago)

    Yep, me too. Absolutely hate leaving my little girl, even for the day. Especially since we lost her brother, who died the day I left for vacation 2 years ago.
    Now my wonderful pet sitters are moving out of state. I was devastated when I heard the news! I’m searching for reliable, kitty loving sitters before my next trip.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 14, 2015 at 6:10 am (2 years ago)

      Oh Debi, I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine how horrible that must have been.

      Reply
  17. Steve Markoff
    July 13, 2015 at 9:03 pm (2 years ago)

    I really can’t go for more than a couple of days. Honestly I just don’t have a good time because I miss my 4 little cuties so much. It’s really not worth it because I miss them and my home more than the fun of being away. I have pretty much just doing very short trips now.

    Reply
  18. Ellen Pilch
    July 13, 2015 at 9:03 pm (2 years ago)

    I sure do, so much to the point that if I need to be gone more than a half an hour, they have a babysitter ( Grammie).

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 14, 2015 at 6:11 am (2 years ago)

      Your kitties are lucky, Ellen!

      Reply
  19. Sometimes Cats Herd You
    July 13, 2015 at 7:51 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m fortunate that my sister lives nearby and loves my cats like her own. She’s also the only other living person who can touch Ashton (sometimes!), so I know she’s in the best hands possible. I don’t worry as much when I know she’s catsitting them. Traveling with my sister is actually harder because I know my husband can’t do anything for Ashton. That’s the peril of having a timid one-human cat, I guess…

    Reply
  20. MittensMom
    July 13, 2015 at 7:39 pm (2 years ago)

    Absolutely! It has gotten even worse after having lost my 18yr old (to lymphoma) and two kittens (to FIP) in a six month span of time. It was so bad that I can count, on one hand, how many times I even went for a night out during the end of 2013 through 2014.

    I’ve gotten a little better. I managed a week in Mexico and only pestered people about my cats a few times (which was extra tough because my little one was still very shy around strangers so I worried about them not being able to see that she was ok).

    We all survived and my little one will now come out from hiding (from strangers) if they come bearing food.

    But, even just going to work makes me miss them immensely. I constantly take pictures of them so I keep a folder on my phone, and on my work pc, full of nothing but cat pictures. At work, I keep one of their photos up on an empty corner of my one of my screens, and will scroll through them from time to time throughout the day. (Consequently, my old boss used to think I was crazy; now he knows for sure!)

    Of course, when anyone dares to ask if I have children, they are subjected to the cat photo slideshow! 😀

    Ps-now pondering buying a few webcams to spy on their favorite hangouts when I an not home. Haha

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 14, 2015 at 6:12 am (2 years ago)

      Good for you that you managed to go away for a week, but I can understand that the worry never stops. And I agree, it’s really hard not to constantly pester the people who care for them in our absence!

      Reply
  21. Lene
    July 13, 2015 at 7:24 pm (2 years ago)

    I have to travel for work. I used to love traveling, and i still do, but when the travel date grows closer, I stay dreading the trip. I try to leave as late as I can, and come home early. I cannot day goodbye to Princess much, or I burst into tears. When I’m heading home, all I can think of is coming home to Princess. My vacations have mostly turned into staycations. And like the author, i have a great pet sitter too!

    Reply
  22. Kat
    July 13, 2015 at 7:06 pm (2 years ago)

    I have 2 furbabies – both cats. We are planning a 2 week long trip to the beach and I have made arrangements for my sister to come stay. She lives in a tiny apartment in 1 state over and loves coming to my house to visit. I know my black long haired baby will eventually come out and say hello. She is the one I worry about. I left her before with a friend and when I came home she had dried poo all over her backside. She had had diarrhea while we were gone and our friend didn’t really notice. Poor baby tried to clean herself and then got sick several places in the house. I hadn’t even unpacked the car before hubby and I were giving her a partial bath in the kitchen sink. We had to cut some of it out it was so dry and thick. So it was a traumatic welcome home for her.

    We have a neighbor who paid her housekeeper to come each day and feed her 3 cats. When she got home all cats were gone. She was devastated. Finally she found 1 of the three. I guess housekeeper didn’t keep her promise and cats were left outside overnight. We have coyotes in the neighborhood as well as a wild pack of dogs. Poor kitties. Hopefully they found a new home somewhere. The one that did come home had a bad wound on her leg and needed antibiotics to get over that. So glad my sister is coming over and I know she will love them as I do.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 14, 2015 at 6:17 am (2 years ago)

      I think having someone you trust stay at your house for longer trips is the best solution, Kat. How terrible about your neighbor’s cats – I can’t even imagine.

      Reply
  23. Carmen
    July 13, 2015 at 6:26 pm (2 years ago)

    I really don’t get vacations that much because I don’t like to leave my babies not even with my husband that I know loves them as much as I do but I feel is not the same… They are very attach to me and I’m to them… I don’t even like to be out for one night or many hours without them lol… but I have to travel at least once a year to visit my family in other country and BOY how I miss them… My husband in the other hand, has promised them that he would never take vacation without them… (3 years with my cats and his vacations are at home with them lol)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 14, 2015 at 6:18 am (2 years ago)

      Sounds like your husband is a very special guy, Carmen. 🙂

      Reply
  24. Mary McNeil
    July 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm (2 years ago)

    Not much to add here – just glad to know I am not alone in this !

    Reply
  25. Lisa
    July 13, 2015 at 5:12 pm (2 years ago)

    Definitely I have felt stressed, despite having a good sitter who lives in our building. Our cats eat four times a day (I don’t feed kibble so no free feeding. I paid our sitter well to come four times a day, however, next year when we go on vacation, I’m going to find someone to live here for the week. A friend of mine does that with her three older cats, usually it’s someone she knows and she pays them little extra. It works great. Our cat sitter said every time she came up, the cats were meowing like crazy, starved for affection. They are half Aby rescues so they are used to having people around, at least one of us is always home.
    Yup, someone to live here for the week next time, that’s how I’m going to handle my separation anxiety. It’s not only stressful for me but the cats as well, otherwise.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 5:29 pm (2 years ago)

      I like that idea, Lisa.

      Reply
  26. Jeanie
    July 13, 2015 at 3:42 pm (2 years ago)

    I don’t know how to cope with the separation anxiety — now that I’m single again, it’s much more difficult to travel at all because I worry so very much about my boys. I don’t want them to be alone for long stretches, and they’re not comfortable with anyone but me. It takes them days or weeks to even get used to someone else being around, even if I have a friend over for a visit. I blame myself for that as it seems to have started when I moved them from their first home. They love our new home, but are only content with me now. I just figure I won’t travel anymore…

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 4:17 pm (2 years ago)

      Maybe they still need time to adjust to their new home, Jeanie?

      Reply
  27. Susan
    July 13, 2015 at 1:05 pm (2 years ago)

    We are the same way about our cats! . Our cats are our children. You are so lucky to find someone so attentive to your kitties needs. We don’t go anywhere because we haven’t found anyone yet.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 4:16 pm (2 years ago)

      I just hope that Valerie will never retire, Susan.

      Reply
  28. Will Hodges
    July 13, 2015 at 1:03 pm (2 years ago)

    Boy, can I relate to this post! My wife and I just HATE to leave our two kitties. In fact, my wife recently returned from a 6 day family reunion, and I had to stay home to take care of the kitties, and keep them safe and peaceful during the very noisy 4th of July neighborhood celebrations. So glad I did, too. They were really stressed out by all of the noise and flashing lights in the sky.

    Last time my wife and I went out of town together, we left the kitties at a very respected cats-only grooming and boarding facility where they had their own big private room. Unfortunately, both kitties got really sick after staying there, and we had over $500 in vet bills to get them healthy again. So, the only way we’ll go out of town together now is if we can find an absolutely perfect cat sitter. The search is on.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 4:15 pm (2 years ago)

      Good luck with your search, Will. I hope you can find someone you’re comfortable with.

      Reply
  29. JoAnn
    July 13, 2015 at 11:28 am (2 years ago)

    I miss them. I worry about them and I have super kitty sitters. I worry about additional trauma to rescue cats who have already had their share. It’s good to know others feel the same way. I have a question for everybody. Where do you live and what do you pay your “very good” pet sitters per day? These folks are worth their weight in gold and I want to pay well.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm (2 years ago)

      I live in a major metropolitan area on the East Coast. My wonderful pet sitter charges $20 per visit and comes twice a day. I tip her an additional $5 per visit.

      Reply
  30. Dianne
    July 13, 2015 at 11:25 am (2 years ago)

    Miss mine terribly when away from them.

    Reply
  31. Bev
    July 13, 2015 at 11:14 am (2 years ago)

    My baby was the only one in her litter, and has never been around other cats. I would love to get her a sister, but I am afraid she would not adapt to that very well and it would really upset her. I think it would be easier to leave if she had a companion.
    Through my local shelter, I was lucky to find a vet science student that came to my home twice a day while we were gone. My husband and I are home all day long so I’m sure it is a big change when we are away. Having a cat to love has made me even more of a homebody.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 4:13 pm (2 years ago)

      I always found it even harder to leave when I only had one cat, Bev. At least I feel like they have each other when I’m not there. Of course, there’s never a guarantee that two cats will get along, so it’s a tough decision.

      Reply
  32. Elizabeth
    July 13, 2015 at 11:06 am (2 years ago)

    I, too, stress A LOT. Then I began having a friend’s son stay over and take care of our sweeties. We paid him what we could and he was a cat lover. It allowed us to breathe easy. I began to feel that we had to budget for a housesitter when we planned trips. I only have one cat now and he is used to my constant presence. Last family trip our friend’s son fell through. I was seriously considering staying home. Then I found an online resource for finding people to housesit and take care of your pets. I found an amazing person who was visiting family in our area and wanted her own place. She housesat and took great care of our sweetie in exchange for a place to stay. That’s right. I did not have to pay extra. YES! Exchanges like this do exist, and although it was unnerving to have a stranger in my house at first, we completely clicked and it worked like a charm. My cat loved her, he was very happy because she spent a lot of time at home, and we had a worry-free family vacation.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 4:11 pm (2 years ago)

      What an interesting solution, Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  33. Judi Daly
    July 13, 2015 at 10:51 am (2 years ago)

    I am so glad I’m not alone! I have never left Thunder in the 8 years I’ve had him–and I don’t think I can, unless it was an emergency. It is inconceivable.

    Reply
    • Carol Simmons
      July 13, 2015 at 11:31 am (2 years ago)

      we also have a wonderful cat sitter who visits, plays with, feeds, scoops for Annie. She is now14. The last time we were gone for 7 days. For the last 4days she would not eat or drink – so we will not go anywhere where she can’t go too.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        July 13, 2015 at 4:14 pm (2 years ago)

        I can totally understand that you don’t want to go anywhere without Annie after that experience, Carol.

        Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 4:12 pm (2 years ago)

      You’re in good company, Judi.

      Reply
  34. toni
    July 13, 2015 at 10:27 am (2 years ago)

    Wonderful post Ingrid. I love your honesty and adore how much you love your babies. I had to chuckle a little when you used the term “co-dependent”. I’ve been accused of this and find it comical and reassuring that you’re okay that you may be a little cd when it comes to your babies. *smiling*. I’ve always felt that being co-dependent is not always a bad thing.

    Looks like this is a very popular subject…it’s never easy to leave them.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 4:10 pm (2 years ago)

      If you know you’re co-dependent, is it really a problem, Toni? 😉

      Reply
  35. LizzieT
    July 13, 2015 at 10:21 am (2 years ago)

    Yes, I suffer from it!!! I once had to leave my 3 boys at my mothers for 9 months while I was out of state, and it contributed to daily depression. I was absolutely miserable during that time. My boys are my best friends; I work from home and we are together all the time unless I have to go run errands. During that time, I worry about them and I must admit, sometimes limit my activities so I can go home to check on them (one of them is ill). What helps? Nothing, other than being with them. My boys and I have been through a lot together, and I’m closer to them than any human. I hate to be separated from them. Yea, I know, I’m weird!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 4:09 pm (2 years ago)

      Doesn’t sound weird to me, Lizzie! You’re in good company.

      Reply
  36. Vickster
    July 13, 2015 at 10:14 am (2 years ago)

    I only go away on long weekends, and I am extremely lucky that my dh NEVER travels with me. So, he’s there to take care of everybody. Although he doesn’t scoop the boxes with the same regularity as I do, nor does he add the little extras I do to their food. AND the friendly ferals don’t mooch up to him the way they do to me, so they are human-deprived when I’m gone. But every cat gets water, food, shelter…and I worry about them all until I get back home. Oh yeah, I miss the hubby too…

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 4:08 pm (2 years ago)

      Your last sentence made me laugh, Vicky! 🙂

      Reply
  37. Laura
    July 13, 2015 at 9:38 am (2 years ago)

    Same here with my four. My situation mirrors yours, Ingrid. Rebecca comes to our home twice a day, is a cat lover, but I know they miss the presence of a human being 24/7. We ask Rebecca to alternate televisions on low volume to offer a distraction, and I hope this helps. The fact that they all literally dance a jig when we return home cements the guilt each time although I know they have been taken care of.

    Reply
    • Tammie Boyle
      July 13, 2015 at 5:38 pm (2 years ago)

      Laura, this is the first time I’ve heard of leaving the TV set on for cats. Does it seem to work? My friend has a dog and she always leaves the TV on for her.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        July 14, 2015 at 6:19 am (2 years ago)

        I think it can work well, Tammie. I don’t recommend leaving it on Animal Planet, though. Some cats will react to the sounds of other cats in distress.

        Reply
  38. Sarah Michelle
    July 13, 2015 at 9:30 am (2 years ago)

    I suffer from it too! My family lives in another state, so when I go visit them every couple of months, my excitement to visit is always laden with anxiety over my girl (to the point that I installed cameras in the house so that I could monitor her from my phone). Honestly the cameras have been a godsend! If anyone is interested, the camera system is called “Insteon” and I believe they work with IOS, Android and Windows. I absolutely hate leaving her and rarely take real ‘vacations’ because I would miss her too much. Home is truly where the heart (my little girl) is…. <3

    Reply
    • Jennifer
      July 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm (2 years ago)

      That’s what I need to do! Is it hard to figure out? How much ? That would definitely help my anxiety!

      Reply
      • Sarah Michelle
        July 13, 2015 at 1:32 pm (2 years ago)

        No it isn’t hard to figure out and helps so much! I think you can buy a starter kit for $180. You can also check your local Costco (that’s where I bought mine). Just being able to turn it on using my phone and see her sleeping soundly makes me feel better 🙂

        Reply
  39. Francine
    July 13, 2015 at 9:30 am (2 years ago)

    I rescued my two tortoishell sisters back in 2008 and I have never left them. They were traumatised when I got them and I promised myself that I would not put them through that again. When my husband passed away in 2011, they grieved for him along with me and slept on his old jumpers on his side of the bed. They are very ‘aware’ of absence. I know I could not enjoy a holiday leaving them behind and as I have no one that would be able to step in as house sitter, the matter is closed….I stay home with them, that’s the way we like it. Us three!

    Reply
  40. km
    July 13, 2015 at 9:09 am (2 years ago)

    Oh I’m guilty as well. I get anxiety when it comes to leaving my 10 furbabies alone let alone go on vacation. The only thing I comfort in is that my mom is home to take care of my cats. Because I have a few domesticated ferals that live in the house and only come out for us. When other people are over they hide so it would be very hard for someone else to feed them. And we have 3 different diets in our house for different age or health related issues. We also lock up in either feeding cages or separate rooms the cats so each on can eat their food and not root out by anyone else. So feeding is a hassle in our house with the 10 cats. And scooping litter boxes – we have 9. They get scooped and the floor swept daily. So if my mom ever becomes unable to care for my cats I won’t be going on vacation even though I love traveling for a long time.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 9:28 am (2 years ago)

      You’re lucky to have your mom take care of your cats!

      Reply
  41. Caren Gittleman
    July 13, 2015 at 8:51 am (2 years ago)

    I think that what you experience (and many others), is totally normal. I will say that when I was single and only had one cat (my Angel Bobo), I felt as you mentioned above, ALL of the time. I would be a complete wreck when I left, and I couldn’t stand being away from Bobo.

    Now that I have a dog AND a cat, and a husband lol, while I do experience anxiety (if I am gone and my husband is home), I am not nearly as bad as when I was alone. They adore him and vice versa. The anxiety I feel when he is home with them is that he won’t do things (or remember to do things), the way that I would (because I am a control freak lol)

    If he and I are BOTH gone, and if we are gone for even one night I always get a sleep-in sitter (usually my best friend)…with a dog it is pretty much a necessity. I refuse to board either one of them.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 9:29 am (2 years ago)

      I agree, Caren, being a control freak doesn’t help the situation…lol… I would never consider boarding, either.

      Reply
  42. Sherry
    July 13, 2015 at 8:42 am (2 years ago)

    Guilty! We rarely go away. I can’t seem to really relax worrying about the little guy. I have two people in my life that will check in on him, but he is so timid and used to me being home all the time, my heart breaks to leave him.

    Reply
  43. Nancy
    July 13, 2015 at 8:24 am (2 years ago)

    I hate leaving my kitties. My daughter who lives with us takes very good care of them, but I still worry about them and miss them terribly. I really don’t go if there is any way I can avoid it. I believe they miss me too.

    Reply
  44. Laura
    July 13, 2015 at 8:24 am (2 years ago)

    We have 7 cats, one who is diabetic. The last vacation I took was the summer before his diagnosis. It’s difficult & costly to find a pet sitter who will stay in the house to monitor his blood sugar, test and give insulin shots. Could I use a vacation? Sure! But when the cost of a pet sitter exceeds the vacation it’s sort of counter productive when you live on a budget. I don’t think I’d be able to fully relax & not worry, so we are scheduling staycations and working on home improvements instead.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 9:31 am (2 years ago)

      Staycations can sometimes be more relaxing than a real vacation, especially when you have a diabetic cat. It can be difficult to find a pet sitter who can handle diabetic pets,and you are absolutely right, the cost does add up.

      Reply
  45. Carla Sergi
    July 13, 2015 at 7:45 am (2 years ago)

    This is my first time commenting, and new to concious catsometimes I just go on a overnight, and even that’s anxiety provoking. But I leave out plenty of food and water. And extra litter boxes. I don’t have anyone that I can trust, nor the financial means to hire a pet sitter, so I’m always home with my babies, one time, speaking of insecurity, I went to visit a friend for the day, she had at her house all night, then told her I need to go home, she kept on trying to keep me with her another day. Until she revealed. That all she was trying to di, was get me out of the house more. I told her okay, but if that is what she was trying to do fine, but she could of said that, so I can prepare better, didn’t talk to her for 3 weeks, we okay again, I do go out for the day from time to time and come home.But after being out all day, I dmiss my babies terribly. On the overnight’s I hardly sleep, because my anxiety get’s the better of me, and the night drags out, sometimes I go in the bathroom crying, cause I want to go home soooo bad. And wish friends would stop inviting me overnight, But I do try hard, it’s just extremely difficult. I worry sooo much, and I to get tired of people saying to me, ohhhhh they’lll be alright they’re cats, they take care of themselves. I know that. But when ypu don’t have anyone. It’s horrible wish there was away to afford. It. I think it would make my life easier. But right now I can’t, I’m on disability, and make the bare, “AND I MEAN BARE”MINIMUM, only enough for rent, bills food for me and the babies, plus lucky enough to have a vet, who gives me a low discount on yearly shots. Other than that thank you for listening, it’s. Helped.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 9:32 am (2 years ago)

      It sounds like you’re being awfully hard on yourself, Carla. I think you need to do what you’re comfortable with. I completely understand that cats are family, and it’s hard when others don’t get it.

      Reply
  46. Janine
    July 13, 2015 at 7:38 am (2 years ago)

    I always used to worry about leaving my cats alone too. We haven’t left them in a long time as we don’t get vacations and my husband works 6 days a week. But when we used to go out of town, my neighbor would come by to feed my cats. I would have she was as good as Valerie and give them love too. But I really don’t know.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 9:35 am (2 years ago)

      When my former husband and I first moved into our new home and went away for the first time, we had a neighbor take care of Feebee, who was my first cat. We were horrified when we came home from what was thankfully only a weekend trip to find that apparently the neighbor had never cleaned out his food dish. There was a dried up nasty chunk of canned food in it. Thankfully, there was a bowl of dry food and water next to it, but clearly, the neighbor didn’t stop in more than once over the entire weekend. Needless to say, after that, we only traveled separately, or had a friend we knew we could trust stay at the house.

      Reply
  47. Sara
    July 13, 2015 at 7:11 am (2 years ago)

    I also suffer huge anxiety when I leave my two cats. I fear the worst (I used to be a vet nurse) and I feel that I am the only person who knows them best. I very rarely go on holiday despite having a number of options (cattery, friends and family, cat service). I did have to leave them for several weeks last year. And you know what? They were fine. I remember running down the path when I arrived home, arms outstretched in greeting. They went straight to their bowl.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 9:35 am (2 years ago)

      Oh Sara, I can so relate to what you’re saying about fearing the worst: sometimes, knowing too much is not a good thing, right?

      Reply
      • Sara
        July 13, 2015 at 6:08 pm (2 years ago)

        Yes, sometimes I think that ignorance is bliss

        Reply
  48. Nancy Faulkner
    July 13, 2015 at 7:08 am (2 years ago)

    Just as the article stated and, other posts, I hate to leave the kids home alone! So…. I don’t go. It’s hard to find someone who loves cats, and willing to take care of them. And have a person come into your home.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 9:36 am (2 years ago)

      I agree, Nancy, it’s really hard to trust someone to not only take care of your cats, but to come into your home.

      Reply
  49. Fur Everywhere
    July 13, 2015 at 4:44 am (2 years ago)

    I haven’t had the money to go anywhere in the past decade, but I know I’d be really worried about my babies if I ever get the chance to go to a conference or on a vacation. When I leave the house, I wonder what my kitties are up to and miss them even if I’m only away for a few hours. I don’t get anxious so much as I am curious as to how they’re doing during my errand-running. I know I’d be really anxious about leaving my babies for a few days, though. I’d worry that Carmine would be too stressed and would have a relapse of one of his medical conditions.

    I agree that non-cat lovers may not understand our fears, but that’s okay. So many of us love kitties and can relate to what each other is experiencing.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 9:38 am (2 years ago)

      I agree that it’s okay that not everyone understands how much we love our cats. One of the best things about going to pet related conferences is that you can talk to others about how much you miss your cats and nobody thinks you’re weird!

      Reply
  50. Summer
    July 13, 2015 at 4:06 am (2 years ago)

    When Sparkle was alive and she wasn’t doing well, my human had to cancel some trips because she was concerned about her. We have a great pet sitter, and she knows that Binga and Boodie are fine with her – as for me, more often than not, I’m on the trip with my human!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 13, 2015 at 9:39 am (2 years ago)

      I can totally understand canceling a trip if concerned about a cat.

      Reply
      • Margarida
        July 13, 2015 at 7:24 pm (2 years ago)

        I’m from Portugal. I’m a Fligth Attendant. I live alone. And I have a beautiful 9 month’s cat. She is with me since she was 2 weeks old, so… I suffer from a terrible anxiety whenever I have to go.
        At first I ask some friends to come by. But she was always hidden when they were around. So, I went to talk to 2 different vets and ask for their opinion. They both tranquilized me. They say it’s better for SOL ( that’s her name, means SUN ) to stay alone than to have someone she is not very fond of. It’s less stressful. Since we are together, I’m been able to change all my big long flights for shorter ones ( yes, my wage is now much more reduced, but I don’t care ).
        I always leave my pijama in her bed and, as I have a beautiful garden with large Windows, I’m always imagining her looking for the birds and flowers and neighbors… And the other “street cats” that like to be feeded by me and are always around. She has a lot of toys to play with and the all House is her’s.
        I feel she’s a happy cat… She looks like a happy cat… She’s in a good health… But I still suffer from that terrible anxiety when I’m out.
        P.S. sorry about the English… Not my first language. ( I’m much better in Portuguese )

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          July 14, 2015 at 6:15 am (2 years ago)

          I admire you for how you deal with this anxiety constantly because of your job, Margarida, and that you made the sacrifice to reduce your hours for Sol. Have you considered getting a companion for Sol?

          Reply
          • Margarida
            July 14, 2015 at 5:50 pm (2 years ago)

            Yes, Ingrid, I did. But she’s so territorial! She’s so used to be the master of the house. What if they don’t “match”? I can’t imagine beeing out having her at home with a cat she doesn’t like.
            So, so far, It has to work this way.
            Thank you for your comment

          • Ingrid
            July 15, 2015 at 6:04 am (2 years ago)

            You’re right, Margarida, that would be even worse, and there’s never a guarantee that two cats will get along.

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