It may seem natural to leave your cats home alone as you think they are independent creatures. Sure, cats can be left alone longer than a dog, however, your presence matters to them. And this is not because you can fill their water, bowl, open a can for them, or clean their litter box. Cats are also social creatures, do not forget.
So the question is, “how long can you leave your cat alone at home? Well, veterinarians recommend leaving your cats alone at home for no more than 24 hours.
However, the length of time depends on some factors, including:
- Breed: Some cat breeds are more independent than others. So if you know your work keeps you away always, you can consider getting a breed such as Ocicat, Persian, Russian Blue, or Maine Coon.
- Age and Health: You may need to check on your cat every few hours if they are old with medical requirements. The younger ones may be fine all alone at home for the whole day.
- Personality: Just like humans, cats do have different personalities. A cat with an impulsive or neurotic personality can do well all one more than a snuggly or social cat that loves to curl up next to their owners.
That said, here’s a rough estimate of how long you can leave your feline friend based on age:
- Under 4 months: 2-4 hours (max time alone)
- 4-5 months – 5 hours (max time alone)
- 6 months – 8 hours (max time alone)
- Health grown-up cats – 24 -48 hours (max time alone)
It is important not to leave your feline friend alone at home for more than the hours given above. If you intend to stay beyond this time, ensure you get somebody to check on them.
However, there would be times that work or vacation or some other factors would keep you away from your feline friend. The good news is that you can keep some measures in place to help your cat not to miss you too much.
Useful tips on leaving your cat alone at home
Here are some steps you can take before leaving your cat alone to make your absence as low-stress on them as possible.
Start our slow
When you plan to be away for a long time, you can train your cat ahead to learn how to stay alone. You should start slow by leaving your cat half-day away first, instead of leaving them alone for a weekend or a week. You can have a sitter check on them during this period.
However, it is better to leave your kitty for a half-hour or an hour for a start and work your way up as you plan for that forthcoming trip.
Keep your cat occupied
A cat can become destructive and scratch on your sofa when they are bored. That is why you need to make sure they have plenty of entertainment before leaving them alone at home. This helps to keep your kitty mentally stimulated.
You can leave your cat’s favorite toys and comfort items scattered throughout the house, position their bed near a window, purchase a puzzle feeder, and invest in a cat scratching post or tree. Adding background noise like radio or TV can also help to calm the nerves of your anxious cat.
Offer your cat fresh food and water
Before leaving your cat alone at home, ensure you provide plenty of fresh food and water that can serve them for the duration of your absence. You can invest in an automatic feeder, or add some extra food in their bowl.
However, if you’re going to be staying for a very long time, say a vacation, you can get a sitter to check on them daily. This is important to ensure your feline friend gets access to fresh water and food every single day.
Train your cat to socialize
You would not have too much to worry about if you train your cat to socialize with other people and animals. It is easy to overlook your kitty after a long day at work, but you need to make sure they get adequate companionship when you get home.
You can try associating your cat with other animals or your neighbor’s kitties. This can be helpful if you plan to stay away from them regularly.
Look for signs of stress in your cat
Some signs like litter box changes, constant grooming, digestive issues, or excessive scratching or licking may indicate that your cat is lonely and or anxious. You should not take these signs with levity. Instead, you should speak with your veterinarian to determine the best solution.
Get a sitter or kennel
If you’re going on a vacation and you don’t plan to go with your cat, you need to get a reliable solution that works best for your kitty.
You can hire a pet sitter that has experience in bonding with cats, and have the person come over to learn about your cat’s daily routine, hobbies, and dislikes.
Even if you’re going on a weekend trip, a pet sitter is a great idea to consider.
However, if you would like to board with your cat, you can talk to your veterinarian about your available options. Most times, older animals with medical needs may do well at a kennel under the close supervision of a veterinarian.
Keep a close check on your cat
No matter how far you go or how long your plan to stay, always keep tabs on your cat. You can invest in indoor cameras that allow you to monitor the activities of your kitty in the house. Most times, you will find them sleeping or playing with their favorite toy.
Some pet-specific cameras allow you to have conversations with your pet and dispense treats to them throughout the day.
However, you may need to adjust any home security motion sensors, including glass break sensors and curtain detectors in your home. This helps to accommodate the presence of your pet and prevent false alarms from being raised.
Create a routine for your cat
You can train yourself to check in on your cat at a set time every day. This is one thing animals enjoy and they thrive well on habits. As you create the routine, your cat gets to know when to expect you.
Try to feed your kitty on a routine and schedule regular bonding with them every time you return. It helps them feel good in anticipation of a good treat when you return.
What is the important information a cat sitter needs?
If you plan to stay away for a long time and consider getting a cat sitter, here are some information that you need to provide to help them do the best job possible:
- Your name and address
- Your cat’s name
- Your cat’s feeding times
- Your cat’s personality traits
- Your cat’s medication information, if any
- Your cat’s best location to hide and sleep
- How often you do change litter
- Where your cat eats
- Your veterinarian name and number
- Where to find supplies, such as cat carrier
Ensure you discuss how long you expect the cat sitter to spend with your feline friend. You can also request a photo or text every day to see how your cat is doing.
We hope we’ve clearly answered the question, “how long can you leave your cat alone at home?” leaving your cat alone for a short time shouldn’t be much of a problem as cats sometimes love their space.
However, if you’re expecting to be away for a longer period, such as a work trip, holiday, or something, ensure you plan ahead to keep your cat healthy and happy. Well, your cat will still miss you anyways!