We don’t think twice about leaving our kitties at home alone. We tend to think of cats as fairly self-sufficient creatures, but how self-sufficient are cats? Is it safe to leave them alone in the house for a day, three days, or a week? Are cats prone to feeling lonely? Because cats typically sleep between 13 and 18 hours per day, there is typically no issue with leaving them at home alone while you are at work.
On the other hand, there are certain additional safety measures that you ought to think about taking whether you have a young cat, an older cat, or a cat that was just recently acquired. How long can your cat be left by herself before she becomes in danger? Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re going to be away from home for an extended period with your cat to ensure that it maintains both its physical and mental health.
How Long Can You Leave a Cat?
How long is it safe to leave a cat alone? The length of time that you can leave a cat at home alone is mostly determined by the specific feline in question as well as the nature of your bond with your feline companion. If you have recently given a new kitten a forever home, she will require some one-on-one time with you at your residence so that she may become acquainted with your schedule, establish a daily routine, and learn what kinds of actions are acceptable in your space.
During the first few weeks that you have a new cat in the house, it is important to keep an eye on how your existing cats are adjusting to the new member of the family so that you can make sure everyone is happy and healthy. The first few weeks are extremely important for you and your cat to bond with one another and start building a friendship throughout this period.
Cats that have been part of your family for a few months or years may be quite content staying at home alone for 8 or 10 hours, but they still run the risk of becoming lonely, bored, or stressed during that time. Be on the lookout for warning indications, such as excessive grooming or using other places outside the litter box to relieve themselves and consult your vet if you notice any changes in your cat’s eating or elimination routines.
Every animal, even cats, requires a constant supply of food and clean water; hence, any pet that is left alone will require access to both of these things, in addition to a clean litter box. In addition to these fundamentals, your feline friend will enjoy having safe methods to occupy herself, such as jingle toys, a cat tree to climb on, or even a paper bag that rustles when it is shaken.
Do Cats Experience Loneliness?
Cats, despite popular belief, do experience feelings of isolation if they are left alone for extended periods. The findings of numerous studies demonstrate that domestic cats are sociable beings capable of developing close relationships with their human caretakers. Cats might experience depression if they do not have the company of another cat to fulfill their social demands.
They could also suffer from separation anxiety. Unhappily, feline separation anxiety frequently goes unrecognized until it reaches a severe level. Cats do not suffer from separation anxiety as dogs do, therefore they will not destroy your entire home or make your neighbors miserable by barking and wailing excessively. On the other hand, your cat may become more attached, stop using the litter box, and meow more frequently than usual.
What Not to Do When Leaving Your Cat Home Alone
When you have a long day at work or even an extended weekend trip, you probably don’t give much thought to the fact that your cat will be home alone for a significant portion of that time. Plan to hire a pet sitter, ensure that they have plenty of food and water, and then you should be set to go. It is crucial not to overestimate a cat’s ability to handle being left alone for an extended period, even though they may be better prepared than their canine counterparts to do so. Cats are sociable animals, and because of this, they will miss you if you leave the house.
Make Sure You Book a Pet Sitter
Because it’s only going to be for the weekend, or because she seems to be doing OK when you get home from work late at night, you might be inclined to let your cat suffer through it. However, for both your mental health and the health of your cat, you should look into hiring a pet sitter.
Find a professional pet sitter who seems trustworthy and can provide recommendations if you regularly work 10–12-hour days or if you are going on vacation. This is especially important if you work long hours regularly. It is always a good idea to have a backup pet sitter lined up in case your primary pet sitter is also unavailable when you need her services.
In addition, inquire within your community for the name of a dependable pet sitter, or make arrangements with a close friend who also has a pet to trade favors.
Do Not Neglect to Empty the Litter Box
Nobody wants to use a restroom that’s covered in germs. A messy litter box is the last thing a cat that is already anxious wants when you are gone since it might add another layer of stress to the cat’s experience. Be sure to clean out the litter box for your cat before you leave and give the pet sitter instructions to do so daily while you are gone. If this is not an option for you or you are frequently out for extended periods, consider placing an additional box or two in various rooms throughout the home.
Do Not Store the Toys
It is tempting to put everything away before leaving your cat alone because it is wonderful to return to a clean house. However, it is important to remember that your cat will be just fine. Your cat needs opportunities for enrichment while you are gone, as a bored cat will find her forms of pleasure if necessary. However, your cat needs these possibilities.
Place a handful of the toys that you know will get your cats excited in different parts of the house that they will frequent throughout the day. While you are gone, you may ask your pet sitter to keep your cats active by having them participate in interactive play sessions with the sitter. This will ensure that your cats get plenty of exercise. To be safe, you shouldn’t let your cats play with wand toys that have strings when you aren’t around to observe them because these toys could pose a choking hazard or get wrapped up around your cat.
Keep Your Shades Open
Another regular activity that needs to be completed before you leave. After all, drawing the blinds or shades can lower your monthly energy costs and prevent those on the outside from peering inside. One of the many reasons why you would not want to do that is because a window perch can provide an infinite supply of entertainment for cats. If your cat enjoys watching the birds and squirrels outdoors as well as basking in the sunlight, you should keep some of your blinds or curtains open so that they can make the most of the natural light.
Don’t Drastically Reduce the Heat or Air Conditioning
If you are going to be gone for a considerable amount of time, there is yet another option that will save you money, but it could also be a risky one. If a cat already has a preexisting health condition, then it may be more likely to suffer from heat stroke or another complication. It is acceptable to leave the house at a temperature that is a few degrees warmer or cooler than normal; nevertheless, because indoor cats are accustomed to having their environment controlled, you should strive to maintain the temperature of your home within a range that is suitable for them.
Keep the TV or Radio On
While you’re gone, some cats may find solace in watching TV, while others may find it soothing to listen to talk radio or peaceful classical music. If your cat is easily anxious, providing them with some form of entertainment even if it is at a volume that is quite low may help keep their nervousness at bay until you return, or a pet sitter checks on them.
Don’t Leave Food Piled up All at Once
While you’re gone, it’s important to make sure that your cat has easy access to a large quantity of high-quality food. If you give your cat enough food for a weekend’s worth of eating, however, she may gorge herself and get sick, or she may run out of food on the last day of your trip if you give her too much. Instead, you should have your pet sitter feed her according to her typical routine and give her treats hidden in a variety of food toys and other locations to hide them.
Keep Your Cat’s Routine the Same
In the same way that you look forward to your cup of coffee in the morning and your lunch break every day, cats need and thrive on predictability and habit. If you know that your cat is prone to anxiety, you should look for a pet sitter who will try to keep your cat’s typical schedule as much as possible. For instance, if you feed your cat three times a day, you need to make sure that continues to take place. You need to make sure that your pet sitter comes to your home daily to check on your cats, play with them, and clean the litter box by the schedule that you provide them with.
Avoid Boarding a Cat That Would Benefit More from In-Home Care
You should keep in mind that there are occasions when it is in your cat’s best interest to board her in a kennel. This is especially true if she suffers from a medical condition that requires her to be medicated or monitored consistently. If you are going to be gone for an extended period, you may want to think about boarding your cat at a boarding facility that provides your pet with a spacious apartment and organized playtimes so that she may get the necessary amount of social interaction while you are away.
Having said that, it stands to reason that the majority of cats are more content and relaxed in their own homes, where they are surrounded by familiar smells, toys, and hangout locations. In the end, it is up to you to decide whether or not you will board your cat or keep her at home with you. Before deciding whether to hire a pet sitter or board your cat, it is important to consider your cat’s social and physical requirements as well as the length of time you will be gone.
It’s no joy to have a stressed-out cat, but it’s also no fun to be a stressed-out pet parent. It is important to keep in mind that your cat will probably be just fine while you are away and that entrusting her care to a stimulating environment and an experienced pet sitter or boarder is an excellent approach to ensure that your feline companion will be well cared for while you are away.
Keeping an Eye Out for Kittens and Elderly Cats
The age of a cat is a factor that should be considered when determining how long it should be left alone at home. Kittens are naturally inquisitive animals, which means they can put themselves in harm’s way by clawing, pawing, or ingesting potentially harmful items such as unsteady vases or deadly houseplants. If you need to leave young kittens unattended for an extended period, it is recommended that you kitten-proof one area by providing it with a litter box, food, toys, and clean water.
If you have to leave your kitten alone for longer than 12 hours, it is preferable to find a friend or neighbor who can check on her periodically. Request that the individual check on the food for your pet and provide her with fresh water. Your cat sitter should also wander around your house to check that your kitten has not become trapped in any tight spots or shut herself up in a room or closet if your cat has access to various rooms in the house.
Even while senior cats are less prone to get into mischief, they may have a harder time coping with the challenges posed by their surroundings. If you have to go out of the house during the hot summer days and leave your cat home alone, make sure she has a nice, cool area to sleep in and that she has access to multiple bowls of water placed in various rooms throughout the house. If you are going to be gone for an extended period, get a pet sitter who can check on your cat at least once per day because senior cats are more prone to disease than younger cats.
Is a Cat Safe to Be Left Alone for the Weekend?
This puts you over the threshold of twenty-four hours, which is the maximum amount of time that is recommended to pass without interaction with your cat, according to the majority of veterinarians. The decision of whether or not it is safe to abandon your cat for the weekend should therefore be made on an individual basis. There is a good chance that any mechanical food dispensers will not have enough food to last for a whole weekend.
Cats are creatures of habit that thrive on the stability that comes with following a set schedule. They could be used to you being gone all day, but they might start to feel stressed and nervous if you or someone else, like a pet sitter, don’t come back when they anticipate you will.
If there is an abrupt shift in temperature while you are gone, your cat may become overheated or underheated, either of which can have negative effects on its health. It’s also possible that you’ll find yourself concerned about the well-being of your cat when you’re away from home. Whether you’re going away for business or pleasure, you may find yourself preoccupied with thoughts of the things that could go wrong while you’re gone.
Can My Cat Be Left Alone for 4 Days?
It is not a good idea to let a cat alone for longer than three days. Even if you have a food dispenser that dispenses food automatically, plenty of water, and tons of litter pans, leaving your cat alone for four days is still too long. They could develop unwell as a result of the stress of being left alone, run out of food, or start using other places besides their litter tray to relieve themselves if they find it to be unclean.
How Can You Improve the Safety and Enjoyment of Your Cat’s Time at Home Alone?
When you leave the house, it’s important to make sure that your cat has access to a sufficient supply of food, water, and enrichment activities so that they can spend their time alone in as much comfort and safety as possible. Think about utilizing an automatic feeder that will administer little amounts of food at predetermined times throughout the day. In addition to that, check to see that there are a variety of water bowls located throughout the home. Your pets will still have something to drink even if your cat accidentally knocks over one of their water bowls.
You may also provide your cat with scratching posts, a birding station, and other fun things to do while you’re gone so that they can keep themselves entertained. You can also assist keep your cat entertained by keeping a variety of toys that you know your cat like hidden away in a drawer and only bringing them out when you know you will be gone for an extended period. Puzzle feeders are another fantastic option for providing enrichment for your cat while you are away, particularly if you hide them in areas that your cat won’t find until you return home from your trip.
Cats can find comfort in the company of other cats; therefore, if you only have one cat and you frequently have to leave it alone, you should give some thought to finding it a companion. Once they are acclimated to one another, however, most cats find that sharing a home with another feline is a pleasurable experience.
You may also obtain pet cameras that will let you watch what your cat is doing when you are away from home. These cameras can be purchased online. Some of them will even let you communicate with your cat using the microphone that is built into the device, dispense goodies, or alert you to any unusual behavior that your cat may exhibit.
Choices for Your Cat While You’re Away
When you have to go away, whether, for a little business trip or an extended holiday, there are many things you can do to ensure that your cat is both secure and happy in your absence. If you are going to be gone for more than a day, it is prudent to make prior preparations for the care of your cat. If your trip will be more than a day, you should make these preparations.
Cat sitters will either come to your home regularly for a predetermined amount of time or they will make themselves at home and look after your cat while you are away. They can give medications, maintain the food and water bowls, and clean the litter boxes. You might be able to locate a neighbor who is prepared to check on your cat once a day for free, but if you’re going to be gone for an extended period, it’s probably best to establish an official arrangement with a cat sitter.
When you need to be away from home, you can bring your cat to a boarding facility known as a cattery and leave them there while you are gone. Catteries can be unpleasant for some cats because they are not in their natural environment and must spend time near other cats. You are in the greatest position to determine your cat’s personality and whether or not a cattery will be suitable for them.
You also have the choice of bringing your pet along with you. Some cats adore the stimulation and new experiences that come along with going on a road trip, while others find the environment to be too upsetting.
Even though they may present an air of disdain and autonomy, we all know that cats adore their owners very much. Cats have a strong need for human company and should never be left alone for longer than twenty-four hours at a time.
The question of how long it is safe to leave your cat for less than 24 hours does not have a right or incorrect answer. The response to this question will be determined by the cat’s age, state of health, and temperament. You’ll have to exercise your best judgment in light of the circumstances. No matter what you pick, you must ensure that they have access to food, water, a secure place to sleep, and enjoyable activities.
Employing a pet sitter can assist offer an additional degree of reassurance, in addition to the use of pet cameras, which are an excellent method to keep an eye on your cat while you are away. You can be sure that your cat will be delighted to see you when you arrive home, even if they don’t show it, no matter what decision you choose in this situation.