As any pet parent will tell you, cats don't like it when their humans leave the house. Whether cats destroy your belongings or their own, they're good at getting their point across!
Cats are very exact in their actions, so make no mistake: she'll let you know she's unhappy that you're gone. You'll discover the signs, like ripped curtains or the remnants of your favorite pair of shoes, of her displeasure all over the house.
Here are five cat shenanigans you may find upon your return home!
1. Shredded Toilet Paper
This classic move occurs at least once in every cat-occupied home. Kitty loves to scratch–it's instinctive, PetMD says. And she also loves to play, and a toilet paper roll provides a two-for-one punch. When she sees that toilet paper, especially a brand new roll, your cat's probably thinking, "Ah, look at the new toy mom put out for just for me." In addition to shredding the paper, industrious cats also may unravel the paper and carry it from room to room. It's their way of rolling out the white carpet for you, so to speak.
This carnage can include a catnip mouse ripped open with its stuffing strewn about the room, a destroyed bird toy with its eyes clawed out, small rubber balls adorned with teeth marks, or a chewed stuffed hedgehog, its demise capped off with a swim in her water dish. Cats benefit from having engaging toys around while you're gone, but those playthings can and will become the outlets for her annoyance.
3. Stolen Snacks
True story: When one cat's parents weren't home, she jumped on top of the refrigerator, stole a bag of potato chips, and dragged the bag under the bed for a late-night snack. Other cats may open kitchen cabinets, helping themselves to whatever they find, such as crackers or that catnip you were planning to give her as a treat when you got home. And because cats don't clean up after themselves, you'll find chewed-open food bags and crumbs everywhere. So, if you suspect that your cat might be a little thief in waiting, it is probably a good idea to secure your food by more than just leaving it up high off the ground. Cat's are climbers and putting food on top of the refrigerator is seen more as a challenge for them, rather than a deterrent.
4. Damaged Furniture
Your cat loves your awesomely comfortable couch as much as you do, but that won't stop her from clawing it. After all, if a pet parent loves something, cats destroy it (or so it seems)! Your furry friend also knows that she'll get your immediate attention this way. Scratching the rug and furniture is simply your cat's way of saying, "If you had stayed home from work today, you'd still have nice things." This can help be remedied with a little training and an alternative scratching post to let her frustration out on like your own DIY cat scratch posts.
5. Knocked Over Stuff
Another way your kitty will get your attention is to knock over anything and everything she can get her paws on, such as drinking glasses (extra points if it's a full drink), picture frames, laptops, and valuable ceramics. It's a form of play for cats. And with their keen ability to jump to high heights and their desire to watch stuff come crashing down, cats will find your most treasured item and cats will destroy it. They'll do this while you're at home too, so imagine what can happen while you're away. For this reason it is a good idea to secure anything you find valuable. Not only will this help prevent it from getting broken, but it will also help keep your cat safe and unharmed.
Finally, it is crucial that you understand that cats do not understand punishment. Never scream or discipline your cat, as she will not be able to connect her actions with your punishment. This could cause her actions to become worse or even cause urinary problems brought on through feline stress.
You'll have to leave your home at some point, whether your fur baby likes it or not, so it's best to prepare yourself for the mayhem you may find when you return. But remember, it's her way of saying she loves you! A little love and some training can help keep your house intact while you're away.
Christine O'Brien is a writer, mom, and long-time pet parent whose two Russian Blue cats rule the house. Her work also appears in What to Expect Word of Mom, xoJane, Fit Pregnancy, and Care.com. Find and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @brovelliobrien