People generally view cats as independent, but the truth is, a cat left home alone can have as many issues as a dog or a person. They do get lonely. They can suffer with cat separation anxiety from missing their owner. They can get sick or injured somehow. And they can become frightened when left home alone. In this article, we’ll discuss ways to keep your cat or kitten safe and comfortable while home alone.
How Long Can a Cat Be Left Home Alone?
Here’s a rough estimate of how long you can leave your cat home alone based on age (according to PetCube.com)
|Under 4 months||2-4 hours|
|4-5 months||5 hours|
|6 months||8 hours|
|Healthy adult cats||24-48 hours|
Keep in mind that this is the maximum amount of time you should leave your cat home alone. If you have a young kitten, you might consider a crate (see info here on crate training) or confining the kitten to one room to minimize dangers. The images here shows a small crate I purchased for my new kitten, Whiskers. You can purchase a similar crate here. To purchase the little cat tee pee bed inside (perfect for him to hide in!), click here. For more details about leaving your cat home alone for long periods of time, read my article, How Long Can I Leave My Cat Home Alone? (includes video).
Make sure your cat’s basic needs are met – leave enough food and water, make sure the litter box is clean, and provide your cat with a safe, quiet place to sleep. Water fountains are a good idea in case their regular water bowl goes dry or is spilled. You can purchase a water fountain here. Automatic cat feeders can also be used to deliver food for your cat at regular intervals. You can purchase an automatic feeder here.
Next, kitty proof your home. Consider things that can get your cat in trouble while you’re gone such as dangling cables or electrical cords. Tie these up the best you can using cord keepers (twist-ties and rubber bands can be dangerous to your cat if swallowed). Your best bet when it comes to electrical cords or cables is to keep them out of sight as much as possible – if your cat can’t see them, he won’t be tempted to play with them. You can purchase cord keepers here.
Also look for things like dental floss, hair ties (things they can swallow), medications, household cleaners, lotions, sprays, essential oils, chemicals, plastic bags, sharp things, places where your cat can get stuck, closets and cupboards they can get into. Also take a quick look at this list of plants that are poisonous for cats. Make sure your cat can’t get into the trash cans – especially since they may contain foods that can be toxic for your cat.
Also make sure your heat or air conditioning is left at a temperature that will be comfortable for your cat, and make sure windows are closed or safe for your cats. For information about making windows and screens safe for cats, click here.
If you’re nervous about leaving your cat home alone, you can also consider purchasing a pet camera. You can find a selection of these here.
Do Cats Get Lonely?
Cats do get lonely if they are left alone for long periods of time. They are social and become quite attached to their owners. If they become lonely, they can get depressed, or even suffer from separation anxiety. Symptoms of separation anxiety in your cat could be excessive meowing, being more clingy, not using the litter box, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and anxiety. For more information on cat separation anxiety, click here.
Keeping Your Cat Happy When They’re Home Alone
Once you’ve covered their basic needs and safety, also make sure your cat has something to do while you’re gone. Having a cat perch next to windows is great, as are scratching posts and interactive toys. You might even leave the TV or music on for your cat. Having a bird feeder outside your window is awesome as well. Try to play with your cat for a few minutes before you leave.
Get a Pet Sitter
If you have to leave your cat home alone for more than one day (48 hours max), you should consider getting a pet sitter or a trusted friend or neighbor to come and check on your cat. Cats can get sick or injured, they require fresh water and a daily moist diet, they need a clean litter box, and, contrary to popular belief, they do need companionship and attention.
For more about leaving your cat home alone for longer periods of time, read this article, How Long Can I Leave My Cat Home Alone? (includes video). For cat sitters, you might try Meowtel. If you use my code, DEBRAS137310, I’ll donate a portion of what you pay for the service to animal charities.
I always say, just because your pet is still alive when you get home, doesn’t mean they were ok while you were gone! I hope this article has given you ideas on ways you can make being home alone safe and comfortable for your cat or kitten. Please feel free to comment if you have questions, or if you can share other things you do for your cat when you leave.
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