It’s true that the reason many people own cats to begin with is because they believe cats can be left home alone for long periods of time. They think leaving out a big bowl of food, another bowl with water, and scooping the litter box before they leave is enough. But after reading this article, I think you’ll realize that may not be so.
How Long Can I Leave a Cat Home Alone?
The truth is, leaving cats home alone for any longer than one day just isn’t a good idea. Here’s why:
Cats Get Sick
First, cats do get sick, and if no one is around for several days, your cat won’t get the help he needs until you return. Most veterinarians know at least one client who has come home to a desperately sick or dead cat. Read that sentence again…how would you feel if you arrived home to find your cat dead, then realizing he could’ve been saved if someone had been around?
Cats Shouldn’t Be Eating Dry Food
Most veterinarians will tell you that cats need a moist diet. Kidney disease is the most common result of feeding a cat a lifelong diet of dry cat food. A few crunchies here and there is ok, but the bulk of their diet should be moist (either fresh or canned food). Obviously, you can’t go on vacation and leave moist food out. For more information on what you should be feeding your cat, refer to this article, Best Food for Your Cat.
Most Cats Object to a Dirty Litter Box
Object. That means won’t go in it! Don’t act surprised when you come home to find the litter box overflowing, then a mess on the floor either near the litter box – or absolutely anyplace else in the house.
My recommendation is to arrange for someone to visit your cat at least once a day to feed him, scoop the litter box, make sure he has fresh water, and to spend a little time with him. If you have even one neighbor who has cats, it’s likely they’d be happy to check in on your kitty for you – especially if you offer to do the same for them when they’re away. Otherwise, a friend, relative, or a professional pet sitter could do a daily visit.
A far less desirable option is to board your cat. This is almost never ideal, because cats can become stressed when kenneled away from home. Stress leads to digestive upset, and a kitty who stops eating is very quickly a sick kitty. Also, most kennels require vaccinations that you wouldn’t normally choose for your pet. If you must board your cat, try to find a cats-only facility. Cats do best in a quiet, calm environment free of barking dogs.
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