Buddy gave me the cold shoulder after I returned from Japan and it lasted all of 30 seconds before he couldn’t contain himself and began rubbing up against me to mark me with his scent.
Cats have scent glands all over their body, including their cheeks and foreheads, and scent is one way they establish familiarity and “ownership.” They’re comforted by the presence of their own pheromones, which is why products like Feliway — an artificial cat pheromone in a spray bottle — can help anxious cats chill out.
When a cat rubs up against a human or another cat, they’re essentially saying “These are my people!”
Or in Buddyspeak: “This guy is my servant! My servant has returned!”
Upon my return from an extended absence Buddy will not let me out of sight and will cry loudly and incessantly if I so much as use the bathroom without allowing him in, as is tradition. And this time around he puked when I returned, as is tradition.
I suspect it’s his way of processing relief, similar to the way some animals shake when overcome with anxiety or emotion. I try to remind myself that if it feels like I’ve been away a long time, for Buddy it must feel like a much longer time has elapsed — and there’s no way I can communicate to him that I’ll be back soon, so there’s an additional element of anxiety-provoking uncertainty.
Regardless, the king is happy again. Long live the king! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a plate of turkey pate to serve…