Cats are often recommended as good pets for busy people because of their curious and independent nature. However, that doesn’t mean you can leave your cat alone indefinitely! Not only do cats need food and water, but they also crave cuddles, playtime, and general companionship – it’s why they make such great pets.
As a cat owner, it’s important to be aware of not leaving your cat alone for too long. Wondering how long is too long? In this article, we’ll discuss how long you should leave your cat alone, as well as things you can do to keep them entertained when you’re gone.
How long can I leave my cat alone?
The amount of time you can leave your cat alone for will depend on your pet’s unique needs and personality, as well as their environment. Adult cats can be left without company for a day, but it’s recommended that somebody comes in and checks on them if you’re away overnight.
As a pet owner, you need to be able to provide fresh food and water, as well as toilet facilities such as a litter tray. Even with automatic feeders, you should get someone to drop in – what if your cat has an accident when you’re away?
Kittens require more attention and should not be left on their own for long periods of time. Small kittens under the age of six months can only be left alone for four to five hours. Kittens between the age of six months and one year can typically handle being alone for eight hours, but shouldn’t be left alone overnight.
Do cats get lonely?
Many people falsely assume that cats don’t need company because of their independent nature. However, this isn’t necessarily true – while cats do like to explore on their own, they do best when they have someone around to provide love and companionship.
Contrary to popular belief, cats can actually miss their owners when they are left alone for a long time. This is because they form such strong bonds with their caretakers. When cats are left alone for long periods of time frequently, they can develop depression or anxiety – just like humans!
Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Cat Alone For More Than A Weekend
Two full days is the maximum amount of time that you can leave an adult cat alone – and even this should be reserved for emergencies or a very occasional trip. You should have someone checking in your cat for any trip that is longer than a day.
There are a number of potentially negative consequences that can happen if you leave your cat alone for too long. These include:
- Your cat’s food and water can go stale. Additionally, they could run out of food or water, which can leave your cat uncomfortable and unhappy. Going without food or water for too long can have dire consequences. Even if you fill a water bowl full, there’s a chance they could tip it over and be left with nothing.
- Your cat’s litter box could fill up. Not only can this create an unpleasant smell, but it can also result in your cat doing their business elsewhere in the house, resulting in an unpleasant mess to clean up.
- The weather could change drastically. If your cat is alone and they get too hot or cold, it could lead to severe health consequences.
- Your cat may get bored, which often lead to them being destructive. If you leave your cat alone for too long, you may come back to find that they’ve been chewing on cords or loose paper.
- Your cat could have an accident or develop a life-threatening illness. If you aren’t there to spot the signs and take them to the vet, they could be in a lot of pain, become very ill, or even die.
If you frequently leave your cat alone for long periods of time, this could also lead to anxiety and depression. Some of the symptoms that your cat may be unhappy include:
- Urinating on your clothes or other belongings
- Excessive meowing or unusual noises
- Changes in appetite or sleep schedule
- Clingy behavior when you are home
- Pulling out fur, unusual grooming behaviors
- Uncharacteristic hissing, scratching, or other signs of aggression
If your cat has been showing any of these signs, it may be an indication that they have been alone for too long, and that you need to spend more time with them. If you have been consistently spending time at home with your cat and they are still experiencing these symptoms, consider taking them to the vet to rule out any underlying health problems.
What should I do if I have to leave for more than 24 hours?
You have a few different options if you need to leave your cat alone for more than a day. The first option is to ask a family member or friend to watch your cat. Ideally, this should be someone who your cat already knows.
If you can’t find someone who already knows your cat, consider hiring an experienced pet sitter. You’ll want to make sure that this is someone with cat sitting experience that you can really trust. Have them come by at least once a day to make sure your cat is fed and gets some attention.
You may also want to consider leaving your cat at a pet boarding service. However, this should be avoided if possible. Many cats will feel stressed leaving their home because of all the new scents and sounds. However, a boarding service is preferable to leaving your cat completely on their own.
How can I make sure my cat is happy when I leave them alone?
If you regularly leave your cat alone during the workday, you’ll need to make sure you create an environment where they can be comfortable on their own. Start by ensuring they have access to clean food and water. You may want to get a water fountain and an automatic feeder to keep your cat on a consistent schedule. It’s also important to make sure your cat has a fresh, clean litter box.
If you’re going to be gone for multiple days, make sure your cat sitter knows exactly how much food and water to give your cat as well as how to change the litter box. You’ll also want to give them details of any medication, and your vet’s contact details in case of emergency.
If the weather varies where you live, consider how that will affect your cat. For example, if it frequently gets hot, leave the air conditioning or a fan on. You also may want to leave the heat on if it is very cold. Schedule frequent check-ins as necessary.
Make sure that any items that are potentially dangerous are locked safely away so your cat cannot get at them. It’s also important to make sure your cat has things to keep them entertained. Cat trees, puzzle feeders, and other toys can be very helpful, as they provide ongoing stimulation that can keep them entertained for hours. You can also consider leaving the TV or radio on for them if they enjoy it.
Finally, if you’re worried about leaving your cat home alone, consider getting a pet cam. Many modern pet cameras allow you to check the video feed on your smartphone at any time. A pet camera can give you peace of mind while you’re traveling or even just at work.
While cats are very independent animals, they still need the companionship of their owners! To keep your cat happy and healthy, you should always make sure they aren’t alone for too long.