You clicked on this blog post because you need an urgent answer to the question, “how long can you leave a cat alone.” We get it, and wondering this doesn’t make you a bad person. Life gets in the way sometimes and as much as you want to, you can’t always bring your cat along.
You need to know how long you can safely leave your cat at home. While some people think of cats are solitary animals, cat owners know that kitties form close connections with their human caretakers. Plus, our cat friends benefit from the care of responsible humans. To be safe, you shouldn’t leave your cat alone for more than 24 hours at a time.
How Long Can You Leave A Cat Alone?
The definitive answer is that you can leave a cat alone for up to 72 hours if you have to. If that’s all you’re looking for, then be on your merry way. However, you may be wondering how you can make those 72 hours bearable and safe for your cat? Also, what factors determine if a cat can go 72 hours alone?
That’s the advice we have for you in the rest of this blog post.
Factors To Consider When Factoring How Many Days You Can Leave Your Cat Alone
Although 72 hours is the firm maximum time you should leave your cat alone, the exact amount of time depends on their age, health, and personality. You should also consider the time of year and your home when deciding how long is appropriate for your cat.
While an adult cat is able to handle being alone for a day, kittens and younger cats benefit from closer attention and care. They are more likely to get into mischief while you are gone, so you shouldn’t leave them alone for 24 hours until they are at least six months old. Leaving. a cat alone at that age could result in a big mess in your home.
If your cat has health problems, you would want to take this into account. If they require medications, make sure they receive these meds at their scheduled time. They may be able to spend the majority of the day alone, but it’s important that you have someone who can check on your cat.
Personality of your cats
We probably don’t need to tell you this, but each cat is different! Some cats desire large amounts of human attention and interaction, while others are happy to spend longer periods of time alone. This can also vary greatly by the type or breed of cat.
Before you try leaving your cat alone for a full day, make sure you’ve left them alone for shorter periods of time. You will allow them to get used to being by themselves in a safe way.
Time of Year + Home Environment
When you leave your pets at home, you want to make sure they are safe and comfortable. It’s important to make sure your home is at a proper temperature while you are gone.
Therefore, consider the weather and if you have access to proper heat and/or air conditioning. Nowadays, you can even control your thermostat while away from home with Google Nest or Alexa.
How To Prepare Your Cat For A Long Absence
Once you’ve decided a safe amount of time you can leave your cat at home, it’s time to make preparations to keep them as happy as possible.
Provide Toys and Entertainment
While toys won’t replace human interaction, they can help meet your cat’s needs while you’re away.
Provide a variety of interactive toys that your cat can enjoy by themselves. Another option to provide stimulation and elevate boredom is to turn on the TV or radio. Plus, you can always create a perch so they can look out a window in your home.
While some cats are happy to eat out of a food dish, other kitties can benefit from some enrichment during feeding time. Puzzle feeders provide your cat with something to do during mealtime and help prevent them from becoming bored.
Along with entertainment, make sure your cats have a cozy place to relax, such as a cat tree or bed.
Clean Their Litter Box
Before you leave, make sure your cat has a clean litter box. If you have multiple cats, you may need to provide multiple litter boxes within your home while you are away.
Check Their Food and Water
Make sure your cat has access to fresh water and food while you are gone. Before you leave, fill their water bowl or water fountain, or leave a faucet dripping if your cat is a finicky drinker.
If your cat is used to being fed at a certain time each day, you can utilize an automatic feeder to keep a stable feeding schedule and provide enough water.
All About Separation Anxiety in Cats
One of the most common questions cat owners have when it comes to leaving their kitty alone is whether or not their cat will get lonely. While most cats will be fine if left alone for a short period of time, other cats suffer from separation anxiety.
Here are some signs that your cat might be extra sensitive to being left alone:
- A lack of appetite while you are away
- Lots of crying or meowing
- Urinating outside of the litter box
- Unordinary grooming
- Destructive behaviors such as scratching furniture
If your cat exhibits any of the above behaviors, take extra care to provide them with toys and entertainment. You might also want to decrease the amount of time you leave your cat alone.
Related: Separation Anxiety And Cats
Alternatives to Leaving Your Cats Alone
While it’s inevitable that you’ll need to travel away from your cat at some point, you don’t need to leave them home alone the whole time you are gone. There are multiple options for providing your cat human company while you’re away. Leaving cats behind can be difficult but there are options to choose what’s best for you and your cat.
Hire a Cat Sitter
If you want to keep your cat in the comfort of their own home, consider hiring a cat sitter. Unlike traditional pet sitters, cat sitters are experts in cat care and can alert you if something is off with your cat’s behavior.
Cat sitters visit your home every 24 hours to provide food and water, clean the litter box and offer playtime. They also provide you with peace of mind that your cat is okay while you are away.
If your cat is wary of strangers, have the sitter come meet your cat before you go away. With a few trust-gaining treats and an explanation of your cat’s habits, the sitter will be able to provide excellent care.
Take Your Cats to a Cat Boarding Facility
If your cat is okay traveling away from your home, you can take them to a cat boarding facility while you are away.
If you choose to board your cat, know your options range from small kennels to luxurious cat hotels. At the least, they make sure your cat has food and water but the nicest boarding facilities can provide caring interaction with your cat as well.
By now, you know that you should not leave your cat alone in your home for more than 24 hours. Leaving them by themselves for long periods of time may create behavioral problems or risk endangerment. How long you can leave depends on your cat’s unique needs. So makes sure you take those factors into consideration when deciding how long is too long.
When it comes time for you to travel, know that your cat doesn’t have to spend their time alone! A Comforted Kitty cat sitter will happily provide your cat with care and company while you are gone. Contact us today to learn more.