Although cats may appear independent, they actually crave human interaction and rely on us to provide them with all the essentials for a happy and healthy life. Our vets in Grenada share insights on how long it's safe to leave your cat alone and tips on ensuring their safety and happiness while you're away.
Do Cats Get Lonely?
Cat parents know that our feline friends are much more sociable than their reputation might have us believe.
Just like humans, cats have varying personalities. While some may be distant and prefer solitude, others may happily welcome their owners home and follow them around the house while meowing. Therefore, certain cats may adapt better to being alone than others, but every cat requires their owner's attention, albeit some more than others.
Age Matters When Leaving Your Cat Alone
Kittens and elderly cats tend to be more vulnerable and need more attention than middle-aged cats. So be sure to take extra care when leaving kittens and senior cats alone.
Kittens typically need to be fed 3 or 4 times a day until they are about 6 months old. They also tend to get into mischief when left unsupervised. Kittens under 4 months old should not be left on their own for more than 4 hours at a time. If you know that your lifestyle means that your cat will need to get used to time alone, begin training your kitten by gradually increasing the amount of time you are out of the house. Speak to your vet for instructions on how best to get your kitten used to being left alone.
When your kitten reaches 6 months of age, if you plan on being away for an extended period of time, it's recommended to ask a friend or family member to take care of your pet at their home. If that's not feasible, arrange for someone to stop by your place at least once or twice daily to ensure your cat is safe, well-fed, and has some social interaction to prevent boredom.
As cats grow older, they tend to become more sensitive to changes in their daily routine. This means that any sudden alterations to their schedule can cause them to stress and increase the risk of health problems and digestive issues. Senior cats may also require additional feedings or medication throughout the day. Due to these factors, leaving your senior cat alone is not recommended overnight. However, if your older cat is already accustomed to spending longer periods of time alone, having someone stop by your home twice a day to check on them could be a suitable solution.
Your vet knows your senior cat best, speak to your vet about how long they believe your cat can safely be left alone.
In certain situations, it may be acceptable to leave your healthy adult cat alone for a period of 24 to 48 hours. However, the decision ultimately depends on several factors, such as your cat's temperament, living conditions, and familiarity with being alone. If you choose to leave your cat unattended, ensure that the temperature in your home is comfortable, there is an adequate amount of dry food available for your cat to eat while you're away, and there is an ample supply of clean drinking water. Additionally, it is advisable to make sure the litter box is thoroughly cleaned before you depart.
General Tips for Leaving Your Cat Alone
If you are planning to be away from home, here are a few tips to help ensure that your cat stays safe while you're gone.
- Speak to your vet to find out if they have any concerns about your cat being left alone. Your vet knows your cat's health concerns and is in the best position to give you advice on your cat's wellbeing.
- We strongly recommend that you have someone check on your kitty once or twice a day while you are gone to ensure that your kitty is safe and has enough food and water for the duration of your absence.
- Check the weather and be sure that your thermostat is set so that your home will remain at a comfortable temperature while you're away.
- Provide your cat with enough food for the duration of your time away. You may want to invest in an automated pet feeder to ration the food and keep it fresher.
- Ensure that your cat has plenty of clean water in a bowl that will not tip over and spill. Cat water fountains are available from pet stores. These handy devices can help to help your cat's water fresher and cleaner while you're gone.
- If your cat is particularly fussy about their litter box, you may want to leave 2 fresh clean boxes of litter for them.
- Consider leaving a radio or tv on so that your cat hears voices while you are away. It may help to relieve your cat's boredom.
- Take your cat to a local pet boarding facility. Cat boarding facilities can offer your kitty a clean and bright place to stay where they will be well cared for and provided with plenty of human interaction.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.