While cats are generally known for their independence, they can feel lonely and require their owners to provide for their well-being. Today, our Jackson vets explain how long cats can be left home alone and provide you with tips on how you can ensure your kitty has everything they need while you are gone.
The Independent Cat Myth
Cat owners often wonder if their feline friends get lonely when left alone. Like people, cats have diverse personalities, and their reactions to solute vary. Some cats enjoy their independence, while others eagerly welcome their owners home with meows and follow them around the house. While individual personnel plays a role, all cat requires some level of companionship.
Your Cat's Age When Leaving Them Alone
Cats that are very young, very old, or have underlying health issues tend to be more vulnerable and require more attention than healthy middle-aged cats. So remember to take extra care when leaving kittens, senior cats, and cats with medical conditions alone.
Kittens & Young Cats
On average, kittens must be fed 3 or 4 times a day until they are about 6 months old. Young cats also tend to get into more trouble when they aren't supervised. Kittens under 4 months old shouldn't be left on their own for more than 4 hours at a time. If you know your cat will need to get used to being alone because of your lifestyle, start training them by gradually increasing the amount of time you are out of the house. Ask your vet for specific instructions on getting your kitten used to being home alone.
Once your kitten is 6 months old, if you have to be away for an extended amount of time, we recommend having a friend or family member take your cat to their house to care for them. If that's impossible, have someone pop by your place once or twice a day to check in on your young cat to ensure they are safe, have enough food to eat, and get some 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 high-quality care for cats of any age, complete with lots of love and attention.
Healthy Adult Cats
Sometimes, leaving your healthy, middle-aged cat alone for 24-48 hours is okay. This depends on factors like your cat's personality, your home setup, and whether your cat is used to be alone.
If you're leaving your cat for a day or two, ensure your him is comfortable, leave enough dry food and clean water out, and ensure the little box is clean.
Consider using a treated pet boarding facility nearby to keep your cat from feeling lonely or getting into trouble. This way, you can be confident your cat is safe and well cared for when you're away from home.
Senior Cats & Cats With Underlying Health Conditions
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 result in an increased risk of health conditions and stomach problems. It's also common for senior cats to require extra feedings or medication throughout the day. For these reasons, leaving your senior cat alone overnight may not be a good idea.
Many pet boarding facilities offer round-the-clock care for animals that require a little extra TLC while their owners are gone, making boarding an ideal option for cats who are unwell or elderly. 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 kitty can be left alone safely.
Tips for Leaving Your Cat When You Need to Be Away
If you are planning to be away from home, talk to your vet to find out if they have any concerns about your cat being left alone. Your vet knows your cat's health concerns and is in the best position to give you advice on your cat's well-being. Meanwhile, here are a few tips to help make sure your cat stays safe while you are gone:
- We strongly recommend that you have someone check on your cat once or twice a day while you are gone to ensure your kitty is safe and has enough food and water for the duration of your absence.
- Consider leaving a radio or TV on so your cat can hear voices while you are away. It could help alleviate your cat's boredom.
- Ensure that your cat has plenty of clean water in a bowl that will not tip over and spill. Cat water fountains are available from pet stores. These handy devices can help your cat's water stay fresher and cleaner while you're gone.
- Provide your cat with enough food for the duration of your time away. You may want to invest in an automated pet feeder to rotate the food and keep it fresher.
- If your cat is particularly fussy about their litter box, you may want to leave 2 clean and fresh litter boxes out for them.
- Check the weather and be sure that your thermostat is set so your home will remain at a comfortable temperature while you're away.
- Bring your kitty to a local pet boarding facility. Cat boarding facilities can provide your feline friend with a clean place to stay where they will be well cared for and given lots 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.