Your feline friend may seem independent, but cats can get lonely, and they need their owners to give them everything they need to thrive. In this blog, our Grand Prairie vets discuss how long you can leave a cat alone and provide you with tips on how you can keep your kitty content and safe when you aren't home.
The Independent Cat Myth
If you are a cat parent then you know that our four-legged companions are a lot more sociable than their reputation might make us believe.
Do cats get lonely? Similar to humans, cats have a wide range of personalities. While some cats might be more aloof and prefer to be on their own, other cats are happy to meet their owners at the door when they come home from work every day and follow their owners around the house meowing. Therefore, some cats will adjust to being alone more easily than others purely based on their personalities, however, all cats need their people, and some more than others.
The Age of Your Cat Matters When Leaving Them Alone
Very old and very young cats tend to be more vulnerable and need more attention than middle-aged cats. As do cats with health concerns. So be sure to take extra care when leaving cats with health conditions, kittens, and senior cats alone.
Kitten & Young Cats
Kittens typically need to be fed 3 or 4 times a day until they are about 6 months old. Young cats also tend to get into mischief when left unsupervised. Kittens under 4 months old should not be left on their own for more than 4 hours at a time. If you know that your lifestyle means that your cat will have to be alone for longer periods of time, start training your kitten by gradually increasing the amount of time you are out of the house. Ask your vet for instructions on the best ways you can get your kitten used to being home alone.
When your kitten turns 6 months old, if you have to leave them alone for an extended period of time it might be best to have a family member or friend bring take your kitty to their home to take care of them. If this isn't feasible, have someone come by your home one or two times a day to check in on your young feline to ensure they are safe, have enough food to eat, and get a bit of social interaction to relieve boredom.
If you have a young kitty and need to be away from home for more than 2-4 hours pet boarding is the ideal solution. Many boarding facilities offer fabulous care for cats of any age, complete with lots of love and attention.
Senior Kitties & Cats With Health Issues
Older cats can be very sensitive to routines, which means that changes to their normal day can be stressful for them to handle. Stress can lead to an increased risk of health conditions and tummy issues. It's also common for senior cats to require extra feedings or medication throughout the day. This is why we don't usually recommend leaving your senior cat by themselves overnight. Lots of pet boarding facilities can provide ongoing care for animals that require a little extra TLC when their owners aren't home, this makes boarding a preferable option for elderly or unwell cats. If your cat must stay home alone, have someone visit your house twice a day to check on your senior cat.
Your vet knows your senior cat best, speak to your vet about how long they believe your cat can safely be left alone.
If you have a healthy adult cat, there are some circumstances where it's safe to leave them alone for 24-48 hours. Of course, this depends on various factors such as your kitty's personality, your living conditions, and whether your feline friend is used to spending time alone. If you are going to be leaving your kitty alone for one or two days ensure that the temperature of your home isn't too hot or too cold, that there is enough (dry) food left out for your kitty to eat when you're gone, and that there is lots of clean drinking water! We also recommend ensuring your cat's litter box is completely clean prior to your departure.
You can help prevent your cat from feeling lonely or getting into mischief by taking them to a trusted pet boarding facility in your neighborhood. Pet boarding offers you the freedom to leave home knowing that your kitty is safe and being well cared for while you are away.
Tips for Leaving Your Cat Alone When You are Away
Are you planning on being away from home? Below we have shared some tips that can help you make sure your cat stays safe while you are gone.
- We highly suggest having someone check in on your cat one or two times a day when you're gone, to see if they're safe and have enough food and water.
- Ask your vet if they have any concerns about your cat being left alone. They know your cat's health concerns and are best suited to give you advice on your cat's wellbeing.
- If your cat is particularly fussy about their litter box you may want to leave 2 fresh clean boxes of litter for them.
- Provide your cat with enough food for the duration of your time away. You may want to invest in an automated pet feeder that can help keep the food fresher.
- Ensure your cat has enough clean water in a bowl that won't spill or tip over. You can get a cat water fountain at a pet store. They help your cat's water stay fresh and clean when you're gone.
- Consider leaving a radio or tv on so that your cat hears voices while you are away. It may help to relieve your cat's boredom.
- Check the weather and be sure that your thermostat is set so that your home will remain at a comfortable temperature while you're away.
- Take your cat to a local pet boarding facility. Cat boarding facilities can offer your kitty a clean and bright place to stay where they will be well cared for, and provided with plenty of human interaction.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.