How Long Can You Leave A Cat Alone?
Many people assume that cats are isolated creatures. While this is accurate to some extent, cats can get pretty lonely just like us. Humans are typically busy beings. Sometimes, it’s hard to align our personal lives with our pets. For instance you may be raising a family, working, or going to school. These are all factors that can contribute to your cat’s loneliness. You may not notice your cat’s loneliness until it becomes apparent.
A busy life isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, the number one goal is to make sure this life isn’t affecting your cat’s health in a negative way. Cats are pretty self-aware animals. In other words, they do a good job of taking care of themselves. Leaving them alone for a few hours won’t do any harm. That being said, there are definitely some limits to your cat’s alone time.
How Long Can I Leave My Cat Alone?
Cats normally have no issue with being left alone for 8-12 hours. Therefore, work or school shouldn’t be a major concern for you if you’re worrying about your cat’s isolation. Generally, most vets say that your cat shouldn’t be left alone for more than 24 hours without someone popping in to check on them. However, there have been moments where cats have been left alone longer. Some owners have left their cats for 36 hours without any issues. However, this isn’t recommended. You should never exceed this amount of time unless you have someone to check on your cat. So, no, you won’t be able to leave your cat home alone during a weekend getaway. How long you leave your cat alone will depend on a lot of different factors. There are things to take into consideration before you decide to leave your cat by itself.
1. Food and Water
Feeding and hydrating your cat should be the top priority should you decide to leave them alone for awhile. No, you can’t just give them an excess amount of food and water in a bowl. Leaving your cat with one large bowl of water will result in the water becoming dirty. All cats have a regular food schedule that you need to abide by in order to avoid any confusion. Giving your cat food that doesn’t follow their schedule can lead to overeating, which can lead to more serious health problems. More importantly, cats need fresh water in order to stay hydrated. If you don’t have someone who can regularly feed and water your cat, you might consider of investing in an automatic feeder or a pet water fountain.
Cats need a clean litter box. We obviously wouldn’t want to do our business in a full toilet. The same logic applies to our cats. Your cat will most likely stop using their litter box once its full. Instead, they’ll choose their own place inside the house to perform number one or two. It’s important to have someone that’ll be available to scoop your cat’s litter. However, if this isn’t an option for you, there may be another one.
You could try purchasing another litter box for your cat to use once their first one is full. This will prevent your cat from leaving a mess all over your rug or bed while you’re gone. If you decide to do this, it’s crucial to make sure you use the same kind of litter in both boxes. Differentiating litters may confuse your cat and they might end up not using their litter box completely.
Cats get bored just like humans. Sure they love to sleep and lounge around the house, but research shows that cats need mental and physical stimulation. Finding a way for your cat to play will divert their attention from your absence. Cats don’t go on walks. They rely on games and toys for exercise. One of the greatest things about playing with a cat is that they can do it alone. Generally, they have a lot of fun playing by themselves. There are many ways you can set up indoor activities for your cat while you’re out of the house. For instance, cat perches, scratcher toys, interactive lights, and cat towers are just a few toys that will keep your home-alone cat occupied.
4. Sadness and Anxiety
Even if you fulfill all of these tips, your cat may still be unsatisfied. It’s no secret that cats grow an attachment to their owners. However, this attachment varies among cats. There are a lot of cats who have share an extremely strong bond with their owner. However, these powerful bonds may cause separation anxiety. Does your cat follow you around from room to room? Does your cat sulk at the door when you leave? If this happens, your cat has probably grown some sort of over-attachment to you. In the event of these circumstances, there are many things you can do in order to reduce the amount of stress and anxiety your cat feels when you’re gone.
- Scratching Posts will provide your cat with a distraction while you’re gone. Furthermore, it’ll allow your cat to physically release any stress they’re feeling. Just like humans use stress balls to relieve stress, cats use scratching posts!
- Windows will allow your cat a good view of the outside world. By giving your cat a preview of the environment outside of your house, they won’t feel as enclosed.
- Keeping music or television on will make your cat feel less alone in the house. Quietness can be overwhelming sometimes, especially when you’re the only one in the room. If your house is filled with some sort of noise, your cat will have some sort of distraction to listen to.
What About Kittens?
Kittens are much different than cats. They need more attention, care, and maintenance than an adult feline. While you can leave your kitten alone for a short period of time, it’s not recommended. Kittens younger than four months should not be left alone for more than a few hours.