Here’s an interesting – if a little sad – video showing a cat after the owner leaves.
It’s usually inappropriate and very likely highly inaccurate to anthropomorphize the critters in out lives. What seems like an expression of sadness or joy might very well mean something entirely different… for example, my cat Fingers occasionally makes this horrifyingly mournful sound, as if she was grievously wounded. And it’s always associated with her carrying around a toy (or, on occasion, an actual mouse). What sounds like “woe is me” is apparently more like “look what I caught.”
With dogs, their emotions are likely more readily understood for the simple reason that we have spent the last 15,000 or so years hammering them into creatures that conform to our worldview. What appears to be a happy dog is almost certainly a happy dog. But a cat? Their reactions are not ours. And like any good higher animal, the reactions of one cat are not necessarily the same as another cat… they are individuals. So I can state with reasonable confidence that while my cats are likely satisfied cats, only Buttons would I rate as a usually “happy” cat. That feller really does enjoy life on a level most humans would envy.
But the fact that I cannot necessarily promptly read a cat doesn’t mean that their happiness is irrelevant. There are times I come home and find them waiting for me… and they are *not* out of food. So perhaps cats do miss their humans. Cats are more social than a lot of people give them credit for being. That’s why I will probably always have two or more cats if I have any cats. If there’s even the slightest chance that the cats in the videos are as lonely as they seem to human eyes and ears, it would be cruel to force that loneliness upon them.