People who live with cats know that they are not as distant and self-sufficient as we think. Cats also demand attention and interaction, although they do not require daily walks like dogs. However, even an experienced owner can not answer the question “how long can I leave a cat alone?”, since it depends on various factors from the environment, the age of the cat and the personality. We will discuss in detail what you should consider during your absence and how your kitten can safely stay alone for days at a time.
Things to keep in mind when leaving a cat alone
Most pets can safely be left alone for a few hours or half a day without having to worry about their welfare. But make sure that your house is completely safe for this natural hunter.
Many items are normal to us, but they can seriously endanger the health of cats, such as dangling cables, poisonous plants (for cats), plastic bags and chemical cleaners. Check these things all the time.
Does a cat feel anxious when it has to wait for a long time? Yes, cats are social beings that connect deeply with people. The anxious feeling will arise from a long, unattended waiting that resembles humans as well as dogs. If their desire for companionship is not met, cats will be prone to get separation anxiety. Unlike the anxiety in dogs, it is difficult to spot the anxiety in cats until it is serious. The main symptoms include loud meowing, dislike to use the cat litter box and being clingy.
How long can I leave my cat alone?
How long your cat can be left alone depends mainly on its age, its living environment, its health situation and its personality. In general, kittens require more care than adult cats. Here is a relationship between age and maximum absence time:
• Under 4 months: 2-4 hours
• 4 to 5 months: about 5 hours
• 6 months: 8 hours
• Over 6 months: 24 to 48 hours
These maximum times should meet the conditions of a healthy situation, enough daily supplies and adequate entertainment.
• Check the physical condition of your cat before leaving it alone.
• Cover the basics such as enough food, fresh water and a safe place to sleep. Cats love the vertical high places, so a cat tree can provide cats with a comfortable place to sleep as well as entertainment.
• Clean the cat litter box and make sure the amount of cat litter is adequate during your absence.
• Check the dangers in your house, such as open windows, heating pads, and poisonous plants.
Ways to leave a cat alone for a long time
Beyond the maximum leaving time, you might need to consider other ways to keep your cat safe and sound. For example:
1. Cat sitter. Hire a reputable sitter or recruit your friend to keep your cat company as well as check food, water and the litter box. In addition, visiting people can effectively reduce your cat’s stress and anxiety.
2. Automatic feeder, water machine and pet camera. An automatic feeder can give your cat the planned amount of food at regular times. A water machine can keep the water flowing and fresh, which can protect kittens from diarrhea or vomiting. The pet camera is a device to monitor the real situation in the house, so you can seek help immediately if you discover accidents through the camera. Keep in mind that all devices can malfunction, so you should prepare a backup while you are away.
3. Find another companion. It is advisable to adopt or purchase another cat before you leave. Make sure they get along well most of the time. Although this means you have to prepare food, water and cat litter twice, the risk of separation anxiety is lower in households with several cats than in households with only one.
4. Boarding or kennel. If you have no time to choose a reputable sitter, boarding your cat in kennels, vet clinics or at your friend’s house is a safe option for owners who have to leave for weeks. You can easily find out about your cat’s situation through chats and videos.
5. Travel with your cat. If the options above can not reassure you, then take your cat with you, if that is possible. Most cat lovers take their cats with them on their journeys around the world. Now many airlines are friendly to emotional support dogs and cats. This means that you can take your cats on the aircraft at no extra cost. Additionally, cat-friendly hotels are popular in various countries. However, you should inform the hotel about your cat before booking. Also, make sure in advance that your cat is open to new people and new environment. Last but not least, it is best if you train your cat to stay in the carrier and behave well on a leash.