The mysterious felines we call our lovable pets have quite the reputation for being alone and loving being left alone. However, anyone that owns one or has owned a cat knows that is not the complete truth.
Rather, some cats are even more of a social butterfly than a dog is, and they would love nothing more than to be around their owner at all times. Cats, like dogs, form strong bonds with their humans and they can just as easily get distressed or lonely when left alone for too long.
But every cat and situation is different, and here are some widely accepted guidelines for how long you can leave your lovely pet cat at home alone.
Is it possible to leave your cat home alone while you are at work?
For this reason alone, many people opt to have a pet cat instead of a dog because of their low maintenance profile. It may be true enough during the day though, since cats are known to endure being left home alone longer than dogs. Mostly because their bathroom is indoors as well, so that no one needs to take them out for a walk.
However, the general consensus is that cats are content to be left home alone for anywhere between 8 to 12 hours. Even so, cats can still get bored and lonely in that short amount of time. One way to help with that is providing it with entertainment. Before going out for the day to work, leave out some safe toys and other activities for them to play with while you are gone. Even leaving on the radio or TV is entertainment enough.
Can you leave your cat alone overnight though?
Generally vets say it is okay to leave them alone for up to 24 hours at a time, as long as though they have a clean litterbox, constant access to fresh water and a full meal before you leave, they should be fine for the day, any longer is pushing it.
It is recommended if you are away for longer than 24 hours, to arrange for a friend or a sitter to visit and clean their litterbox, and give them fresh food and water. I mean, would you like to be left alone in a room with stale food, dirty water and a clogged toiled? Anyone in their right mind would not. So it is not fair to put a cat, or any pet through that either.
What’s more a cause for worry than your cat possibly getting ill or injured? They get themselves into messes constantly when people are around, imagine the mischief they would cause if left unchecked? Sudden illnesses such as a urinary blockage can also become serious quickly.
Neither kittens or older cats should be left alone
Both kittens and senior cats are more vulnerable and need extra care when you leave them alone. Kittens age 3 – 6 months in general need to be fed three times a day, every 4 to 6 hours at least. Additionally, kittens are naturally curious creatures that love to explore, or climb up curtains and eat something off the floor they should not. That can cause a lot of problems if left unsupervised. So if you decide to leave them alone, set up a kitten proof room and arrange for someone to check on them during the day.
Senior cats however, can be extra sensitive to changes in their daily routine. That stress can turn into an illness. To add to that, senior cats usually need extra feedings or medications during the day, and for these reasons they should not be left alone overnight.
The best way to leave your cat alone for a period of time
If you have decided to leave your feline friend alone for more than a few hours, you can set them up in a full proof room. Remember to feed them a meal a little before you leave, refresh their water and make sure to leave them with a clean litterbox before you’re out the door.
Do not forget to leave them stuff to be entertained, some cats are destructive when they get bored. Place scratchers, toys and other things in the room to make them busy. Toys like crackle balls, fluffy balls and catnip mice are a great distraction for cats while you are gone. Leaving the TV on low volume is also a great.
However, if you have an extra curious and mischief causing cat, make a cat safe space for them to hang out while you are away. Generally, bathrooms and laundry rooms make for great cat rooms. Just move their food and water bowl, and litterbox and toys and you’re set!