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Do Cats Miss Their Owners? (5 Signs They Do)

Oliver Jones

Many pet owners can relate to that bittersweet feeling of going on a vacation but leaving their pets behind. We can get emotionally attached to our pets, but sometimes it can be challenging to know if our pets feel the same way. Fortunately, there’s research that proves that cats can get emotionally attached and miss their owners while they’re away.

Cats may not show that they miss their owners in the same way that dogs do. However, there are some sure signs that you can look for to find out if your cat misses you while you’re away.

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5 Signs Your Cat Misses You

All cats are different and will express that they miss you in their own unique way. Here are some common signs that cats might show to signal that they’re attached to you.

1. Affectionate Behavior

Affection is an obvious sign. If your cats greet you when you come home, they’re expressing that they’re happy you’re back. Other ways cats show affection are the following:

  • Purring, trilling, and meowing
  • Curling up next to you or on your lap
  • Trying to groom you
  • Headbutting and rubbing against your face
  • Staying in the same room as you

Cats also use eye contact to express affection, anger, and fear. If your cat is close to you, stares at you, and blinks slowly, this is a display of affectionate eye contact.

cat sleeping on owner's lap
Image Credit: Karpova, Shutterstock

2. Seeking Attention

Some cats will try to get your attention whenever you’re home, and it can become excessive. They may paw at you or meow or howl persistently. They might also attempt to interrupt your work or get in between you and whatever object has your attention.


3. Destructive Behavior

Cats will often start displaying destructive behaviors when they’re bored and alone. They can chew or scratch furniture, urinate outside of their litter boxes, or bite others. If your cat engages in destructive behaviors when you’re not home, it may be a sign that your cat doesn’t like it when you’re not home.

A lot of destructive behaviors can have different root causes. Sometimes, cats show these behaviors because they’re sick or experiencing a new change or transition. Make sure to consult with a veterinarian or cat behaviorist to determine why your cat is being destructive.


4. Separation Anxiety

Cats can feel separation anxiety, and it’s especially common for cats that have an excessive attachment to their owners. Separation anxiety can look similar to destructive and attention-seeking behavior:

  • No longer using the litter box
  • Excessive crying
  • Destroying household items
  • Relentlessly seeking the owner’s attention
  • Excessive grooming
cat rubbing face on man's leg
Image Credit: AlenaBalotnik, Shutterstock

5. Depression

Cats can also begin to feel depressed if their owners are gone for too long, and they miss them. They may start to display some of these signs:

  • Lethargy
  • Excessive meowing
  • Stop grooming themselves
  • Changes in weight
  • Loss of appetite

Your cat may also show signs through body language. Depressed cats will tuck their tails, and their ears will like back on their heads.

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Do Cats Know You Love Them?

Research shows that cats are capable of developing attachments towards their humans. The bond may not look like a bond between a human and a dog, but cats can be social and even prefer human interaction.

Cats can develop different attachment styles, and your bond with your cat can strengthen in several ways. If you want to show your cats love in ways they understand, there are several things you can try.

Treats

First, give your cats their favorite treats. Many cats are food-motivated, even the pickiest ones. You just have to find a treat that they love. When you feed your cats, it shows them that you’re someone who provides for them, and they can learn to trust you.

calico cat having treats
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

Play

Discover how your cat enjoys playing. Some cats have a lot of energy and will want to chase a laser pointer or play with a wand toy. Other cats might be more relaxed and may just enjoy being in the same room as you.

Find out what your cats enjoy and be someone who can provide that sort of enjoyment to them. They’ll quickly learn to appreciate your presence and a strong bond will develop over time.

Learn How Cats Communicate

Everyone likes to feel understood, and cats are no exception. They’re constantly communicating with their actions and body language. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to learn what they’re trying to say so that you can respond appropriately.

For example, an agitated cat will have its ears flattened, and will wag its tail. If you notice these signs of agitation, you can help your cat feel calmer by removing the source of agitation or creating a more calming space for them.

As you learn to understand your cat’s communication methods, it will learn that it can trust you to meet their needs.

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5 Cat Breeds That Get Attached To People

It’s important to note that early socialization with humans can significantly impact a cat’s attachment and affection for people. Therefore, despite the cat breed, some cats may prefer being around people because that’s what they’re used to having.

However, some cat breeds have the reputation of preferring the company of people. If you want a cat that enjoys being around people, consider some of the following breeds.

1. Birman

Birman cat on black background_Ysbrand Cosijn, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Ysbrand Cosijn, Shutterstock

These fluffy cats typically enjoy socializing, so they don’t mind meeting multiple people. They’re also very good-natured and gentle, so they usually do well in homes with young children. They can also form strong bonds with other household pets, such as dogs and other cats.


2. Maine Coon

beige fawn maine coon cat on the move walking
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Maine Coons are gentle giants. They outgrow smaller dog breeds and can grow to an impressive length of 40 inches long and weigh up to 18 pounds.

Despite their large size, these cats are very sweet and intelligent, so they tend to be easy to train. Maine Coons usually get along with anyone, but they definitely develop the strongest bond with their owners and prefer their company above anyone else.


3. Manx

Manx
Image Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock

Manx cats are one-person cats, meaning they tend to develop a strong bond with one or two people. Some cat owners have Manxes that act like puppies. They’re incredibly playful, and some can even learn to fetch.

These cats are great for families because of their loyalty, and they don’t mind being around kids or other pets. They tend to be shy around strangers, and it’s unlikely they’ll warm up to a new person.


4. Ocicat

ocicat
Image Credit: dien, Shutterstock

These cats are relatively brave and tend to be social. They will even greet strangers at the door, and they generally do well with children and other pets. As social as these cats are, they’re somewhat of a one-person cat. They’ll form a strong bond with one or two people and prefer to stick close to them and shadow them around the house.


5. Turkish Angora

Turkish Angora lying on the carpet
Image Credit: AntMak, Shutterstock

Turkish Angoras are also one-person cats. They’re also very intelligent, so they’re easy to train once they form a bond with their owner.

These cats love to play, and they tend to be more vocal than other cats. Therefore, they’ll make it very obvious when they feel like they deserve more attention from you.

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Final Thoughts

Cats have a reputation for being aloof and independent, but they’re actually capable of showing love and affection. Some cat breeds even prefer to be a part of the action and be around people.

We just tend to miss the cues that cats give us. So, start observing your cats and see what sorts of behaviors they display while you’re home or when you’ve just returned home. There are a lot of messages they’re sending us. Receiving and correctly interpreting these messages can lead to forming even deeper bonds with your cats.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.