How long can you leave a cat alone?

Sally Keegan

Most of our feline friends are independent souls, happy to explore the neighbourhood on their own or spend the day stretched out in a sunny spot. However, this doesn’t mean we can leave cats alone completely.

From the occasional cuddle to the odd chin tickle, it’s important for cats to receive enough human attention to make them feel safe and secure. Yes, this affection will likely be on their own terms, but it is essential for a happy and healthy kitty. This is particularly important when their much-loved owners are away, with research finding that behavioural problems can develop if your cat is without the proper companionship.

Knowing your cat needs you is music to moggie-lovers ears, but it does raise the question, how long can you leave a cat alone?

How long can you leave a cat alone?

Cat lovers know that every pussycat has their own personality, meaning the amount of attention they need and how long you can leave them for differs from cat to cat. While your pet pal may just need you to keep an eye on their daily routine, your neighbour’s cuddly lap cat may require a lot more attention.

However, no matter how independent your cat is, they should never be left alone long enough for their supplies to run out or turn stale. Of course, no one likes to be left alone without access to proper supplies but, as explored in our guide to cat anxiety, cat’s can be particularly distressed when they don’t have access to fresh water, fresh food, and a fresh litter tray.

Preparing to leave your cat alone

If your cat is independent enough to be left alone for a day or two, it’s important to prepare them properly...

Leave fresh provisions: It is possible to provide your cat with plenty of fresh provisions by using cat fountains and automated feeders. The fountain will dispense fresh water for your feline while a timed feeder will help make sure they can happily graze, not gorge. In households with multiple felines, microchip feeders are the best option — this will make sure the greediest guy doesn’t get all the grub.

Leave a litter tray, or two: Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, a litter tray should be provided in case the weather is bad or the creaky cat flap finally breaks. If your pussycat is particularly hygienic, you should leave multiple trays so they’re never subjected to walking in their own mess.

It’s also important to make sure that any litter trays are not positioned by a window where another cat may be able to watch; this can cause your kitty stagefright, leading them to go to the loo somewhere inappropriate.

Keep them entertained: If your cat has too much time on their paws, they are likely to become bored, stressed, or get up to no good — especially the young ones. So, it’s important to leave your clever cat with toys that stimulate their minds while you’re away. The best toys for cats home alone are interactive, from shop-bought games to homemade puzzle feeders made from a cardboard box and your kitty’s favourite kibble.

Make them feel safe: Even the coolest cat can feel a little nervous when their owner is away, but there are a few extra things you can do to make them feel more safe and secure. From using plug-in diffusers that emit calming cat pheromones throughout the day, to playing comforting sounds such as the radio or music composed specifically for cats.

Make sure the home is safe: Of course, before leaving your cat alone, it’s important to make sure your home is as safe as possible. Here are a few things to check:

  • Snoozing spots: Does your cat nap in a peculiar place? If it’s not safe for them to snooze in unsupervised, be sure to make it inaccessible before you go away
  • Harmful objects: Safely store away items such as wires, sharp objects, or glass ornaments
  • Harmful food: Double check all harmful human food is kept out of paws’ reach
  • Poisonous plants: Do not leave your cat alone in the home with potentially fatal flower like lilies, which can cause acute renal failure for cats

Check in on them: Along with these provisions and precautions, we recommend asking a friend or neighbour to check in on your cat. All they need to do is pop in to make sure everything is still in place for you pussycat and, if they’re really kind, they could even give your feline some fuss.

However, if you’re looking for true peace of mind while you’re away, then cat sitting could be the answer. Whether it’s one night, one week, or a whole human year, there are plenty of pet lovers at TrustedHousesitters who’ll happily stay in your home and keep your kitty company while you’re away. Sitting purely for the love of pets, the members of our caring community never charge, so you can be sure your cat is safe at home with a true cat lover like you.

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