When planning a vacation or any type of trip, you may wonder how long you can leave your cat alone at home while you’re gone. Many people think of cats as loners, but those that have one know that isn’t always the case. While every cat is different, there are some guidelines you should follow when planning to leave your cat alone for a period.
How Long Can Your Cat Be Alone?
If you have an adult cat, most experts agree that it is okay to leave your cat alone for 24 hours at a time. This means you have little to nothing to worry about when leaving your cat during your workday or for an extended day trip, so long as you will be home at some point in the 24 hours. Cats sleep up to 18 hours a day, so they won’t have much time to get into anything in 24 hours. As long as your kitty has a clean litterbox and enough food and water, they’ll be fine to be left alone for a full day.
However, if you are going to be gone longer than 24 hours, you should have someone check in on your pet every day or so. A check-in for a cat isn’t super involved, but it will ensure they have what they need while you’re gone. Hire a pet sitter or ask a friend or family member to come by and clean out your cat’s litter box and make sure they have fresh food and water. This check-in will help ensure your cat hasn’t gotten into any messes while you’re gone.
Plus, cats are notorious for getting into sticky situations, so having someone check in on them every 24 hours can help them if they’ve gotten themselves stuck somewhere or gotten injured. It will also allow you to catch a sudden illness like a urinary blockage, which can become very serious if not caught early. Truthfully, setting up a check-in for your cat every 24 hours can be a lifesaving decision!
What About Kittens?
Kittens are much like any other baby, and they require more care and attention than their older counterparts. Your kitten’s age can drastically change how long they can be left alone. For example, if you have a kitten that is less than four months old, it shouldn’t be left alone for longer than two to four hours at a time. When your kitten is four to five months old, you can leave them alone for up to five hours at a time. Then, by the time they’re six months old, you can leave them for a typical eight-hour workday, but you still shouldn’t leave them for the full 24-hour period until they are around a year old.
These are, of course, estimates and can change depending on your kitten’s personality. If your kitten requires more playtime, you may want to check in with them more frequently to avoid any damage to your belongings while they get their energy out!
How to Help Your Cat Be Less Lonely While You’re Gone
Part of being successful in leaving your cat for an extended period is giving them activities to keep them out of trouble! Depending on your living situation, the best way to keep your cat from getting lonely is by getting them another feline companion to spend their time with. However, not everyone can commit to a second cat, so there are other great options!
Ensure that your cat has plenty of interactive toys they can play with independently while you’re gone. You can choose simple toys like balls or catnip toys, or you can get more elaborate battery-powered solo toys that will interact with your cat to give them the exercise they crave!
You’ll also want to make sure your cat has access to areas that have your scent, helping fight off any feelings of loneliness they may have. Giving your kitty a blanket, shirt, or other fabric that retains your scent can provide them with something to cuddle with while you’re gone, allowing them to feel more secure in your absence.
Of course, these aren’t substitutes for a cat sitter, but they can help fill in time gaps when someone isn’t checking in on your cat while you’re away. Giving your cat things to help pass the time and ward off loneliness can help their emotional well-being, which is key to having a happy and healthy cat to come home to!
Tips On Making Sure Your Cat is Safe While Alone
Sometimes leaving your cat alone is inevitable. If this is the case for you, there are some steps you can take, so make sure they are as safe as possible while alone!
Plenty of Food and Water
Making sure your cat has enough food and water is essential to being able to leave them home alone for any period. Giving your cat a water fountain with moving water is a great way to ensure they have plenty of water that they will like to drink!
If you have a cat who likes to overeat if given a surplus of food at one time, consider purchasing an automatic cat feeder. This will take the stress away of making sure your cat gets fed whether you’re home or not. If you’re a multiple cat household, you can even get microchip auto-feeders so only the assigned cat can eat their portion!
Make Sure the Litter Box is Clean
Cats can be somewhat finicky when it comes to their litterbox environment, but who can blame them. Ensure you clean out their litterbox daily to ensure they have a fresh location to use the bathroom while you’re gone. When your cat is unhappy with their litterbox environment, they can be much more likely to pee outside of their litterbox. If you’re not home, this can spell disaster for when you come back home – pee all over the house can cause damage to floors and difficult smells to get rid of. Do all you can to prevent this issue by keeping things clean!
Get a Camera
This isn’t a necessity, but you can get a pet cam if you would like to be able to check in on your cat while you’re gone. If you have a security system, this can be as simple as adding an indoor camera to your system. However, there are also pet-specific cameras that you can purchase, which are made to be on your pet’s level. These two-way systems can allow you to see and talk to your pet while they can also hear you! Plus, you can even get one that will give them a treat if you want to make sure they know you love them while you’re away!
While cats are known for being independent creatures, they still crave attention and love from their human companions. Making sure you don’t leave your cat alone for too long and setting them up for a successful solo time are both keys to having a happy, healthy, and safe kitty! The amount of time you can leave your cat alone depends on their age and personality, but you should always plan to have someone check in on them at least once in 24 hours! And when you come home, take the time to give your cat some extra love and affection that they were missing while you were gone!