Leaving Cats Home Alone

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. Leaving cats home alone has to be taken seriously.

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:

How Long Can I Leave a Cat Home Alone?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.

leaving cats home aloneMost 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.  I had a cat for 20 years who refused to use the litter box if it wasn’t clean.  Luckily for me, it was in the basement, because she’d poop on the floor next to the box!

leaving cats home aloneWhat to Do If You’re Leaving Your Cat Home Alone for Longer Than One Day

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. For help, read my article, How to Find a Good Cat Sitter.

Should I Board My Cat?

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.

Is It Ok to Leave a Cat Home Alone?

Cats are generally low-maintenance and can easily be home overnight without much trouble.  But if you’re going to leave your cat for any more than one day, it’s wise to arrange for someone to come over to check their food and water supply, clean the litter box, and make sure your cat is ok.

For more help on leaving cats home alone, read my article, Leaving Your Cat Home Alone – Tips for Comfort and Safety.

How Long Can I Leave a Cat Home Alone?I Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!  Debra 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Leaving Cats Home Alone”

  1. This is such a lovely post! I love cats, and I have a cat as well. In fact I love all the animals.
    You are right about the “tips” that you’ve provided us regarding to cats, and luckly fo me I am following them.
    One thing is different though – my cat doesn’t use Litter Box any more – instead she goes right to the toilet – very cool by the way.
    Thanks for the post, it was pleasure to read it.

  2. I must admit I’m a dog person but I do like cats and would never leave my cat for more than 12 hours.
    Most people do think it’s OK to leave your cat for a few days, in fact I knew someone who left their cat for weeks on end. My mum went in to look after it (despite not liking cats) but she was upset for the cat as it was obviously lonely. In the end, the cat found itself another owner not far away. They started feeding it and hey presto, new home. The owners came back to an empty house and mum had to tell them that the cat had moved!
    This is a lovely post with great information about what to feed your cat and what could happen if you did leave it for any length of time. Perhaps the possibility of your cat finding another home nearby would put cat owners off leaving their kitty for too long! Ches

    1. Thanks for sharing that story – it’s a VERY good point! I also know someone whose cat moved away. It wasn’t because of neglect though – I’m convinced it was to get away from their BRATTY kids! LOL! Thanks again for the comment. :

  3. That post was very informative. I feel bad cause my cats (3) are outside cats and I only ever feed them dry food. I did not know they are not suppose to only eat that. They are spayed except the one male and get flea treatment and hairball stuff but that is about it. We live on a small farm and they eat birds they can catch and rodents all the time. What advice do you have for farm cats. I do give them meat scraps sometimes.

    1. I can think of one idea to help in this situation, and that is to add water to the dry food you’re putting out. It’ll get mushy, but just the added water content would help immensely.

  4. People do tend to worry much less about leaving their cats at home long periods then their dogs, many feel just because you do not have to take your cat out to do its business you do not have to be home as often with a cat then a dog.

    This is very interesting information for me, I have always been a dog owner never owned a cat. I hope cat owners read your article and understand cats should not be left alone long periods its just not good for them.

  5. Thank you for giving me information about caring the cat. i owned a cat whereby i was not taking care of that cat,i usually leave it home for the whole day alone.For now you gave an idea on how to take care of my cat professionally.

    Thank you for driving me in a right path.


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