You love your cat and your cat loves you. That’s why separation can be quite hard on our kitties (and us!). So if you come back to collect your pet and it is acting a little differently, it’s probably down to a few simple things. Cats don’t like change, they are creatures of habit and are very comfortable in their routine. Your separation and having been in a new location may have had an effect on your pet. If the abnormal behaviour persists the reason may be medical and it would be best to get your pet checked out by a vet, however, before you panic, give your cat time to settle back down at home and back into a routine. Cats need time to adjust to change, just like us!
Before you go away
If you are planning to go away on holiday, leaving your feline friend in a cat hotel, it’s important to keep your schedule as normal as possible beforehand so you don’t alarm your kitty! Remember to feed your cat at the usual times and make sure to keep your own stress at a minimum. Cats are very clever and they can sense if you are anxious or upset. If they sense something is wrong they will pick up on your stress, and it will stress your cat out too, and that wouldn’t be good terms to part on. Do your best to keep your own schedule as normal as possible Kitty will notice all the extra shopping trips and the unavoidable chaos that accompanies the preparation to go away. Another tip to use in order to keep your cat as calm as possible before you go on holiday is to pack slowly. Up to 2 weeks before you go away, set out your suitcases, then slowly over the two weeks fill them with everything you will need. This gives your pet plenty of time to investigate and accept the change in their own time. It also means you will avoid frantic packing as your vacation date approaches, minimising the stress on both you and your cat.
Returning your cat to normal after being on holiday
When you return from your (hopefully wonderful) holiday, you will be ecstatic to see your best feline friend for a reunion. However, do not be surprised if your cat doesn’t reciprocate your feelings. Cats take a while to adjust to new situations Whilst you may be ready to go back home, your cat has just become used to being at the cattery, and it will take them a few days to settle back down into a routine.
Speaking of routine, it’s important that you don’t overfeed your cat or give him/her excessive amounts of treats. While their unusual reaction to you may have made you feel bad, don’t overcompensate by overfeeding, although a few extra treats to make kitty feel appreciated is fine. If you feel your cat has lost weight due to stress, (this is hard to tell without going to the vet), you needn’t worry. Feed your cat at normal times with their usual amount of food and your cat should bounce back within a few weeks. If the weight issue continues to concern you after this time, please seek advice from your vet.
Give your cat undivided attention for a few minutes every now and then during the days when you return from holiday. While you are busy unpacking and getting everything straight, your cat will also be busy exploring and reacquainting his/herself with the house again. It’s important to help build your cat’s confidence with affection and play, and to let them know that things will be returning to normal now that you are both back at home. Playtime will be essential in distracting your kitty from the fact you were separated, helping them to more quickly re-adjust to being back with you.
If you feel your cat is still stressed after a few days, don’t worry, they probably just need a little extra support in knowing that your bond is still strong and that they are safe. For extra help in calming kitty, you can purchase calming drops or plug-in scents at your local pet store to help relax your feline friend. Additionally, you could put on some calming or natural music. There is scientific evidence behind a cat’s mood being influenced by music. Soothing music will also help you to relax too, which kitty will sense and take on board, helping reduce stress for both of you.
Take a look at how you’re feeling after your return from holiday, as you may have noticed by now, our cats are super sensitive to their owner emotions and mood changes. Perhaps find time during the day for some self-care, whether it’s meditation, reading a book or even partaking in your favourite indoor hobby. You may find that if you are relaxed and calm your cat will soon follow your mood. Keep these things up alongside your normal routine and soon enough your cat will readily reacquaint itself with both you and his/her surroundings.
All in all, remember to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Everyone’s cat reacts differently to their time in a cattery, and the experience can differ each time. Be patient, prepare to give your cat time to regain confidence. Get back into a normal routine, and remember, the more stressed you are, the more stressed your cat is going to be. You know your cat best at the end of the day, so if you feel something is further amiss with your cat, please take them to a vet as soon a possible.