While cats have a reputation for being independent, they shouldn’t be left alone for long. Felines need food, water, and companionship for them to stay happy. So how long can you leave a cat alone? The answer is no more than 24 hours.
As long as your kitty has a clean litterbox, water supply, and fresh food, they can go alone for a day. Anything longer than 24 hours will stress your cat, especially if your kitty has separation anxiety.
How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone?
Unlike dogs, cats have been stereotyped as solitary creatures. However, cat owners know that these furballs can be very affectionate and clingy.
The good thing, though, is that cats are low-maintenance. They can endure being alone overnight without making such a fuss to the point that will annoy your neighbor.
Adult cats can be left at home for up to 12 hours. You can extend it to 24 hours if your pooch has many toys, food, and water.
Remember that cats can get bored easily, so you should ensure that your kitty has a lot of entertainment when left alone.
If you have a kitten that’s younger than six months, you should never leave it alone for long. These youngsters need stimulation and supervision to remain healthy.
Also, cats with medical problems should never be left alone for long.
Is it okay to leave a cat alone for 2 days?
While most cats won’t starve to death within 2 days, most will become extremely agitated.
Solitude can take the best of your cat, no matter how independent it is. It may try to escape or topple things inside your home.
Moreover, cats without eating can not survive for too long.
Even if you say, “But I left my cat with food good for 2 days!” The truth is that your cat won’t know it. The kitty will see it as a big dinner than supply for several days.
Leaving your cat alone for more than 24 hours also increases its risk of diarrhea as the food can get stale, and the water can become contaminated.
Is it okay to leave a cat for 3 days?
It’s a big no. Leaving a cat on its own for 72 hours without anyone checking in is an act of neglect. Your cat will be extremely anxious and hungry.
When you let this stretch for the fourth day, you’re already pushing your cat to the limits.
If you have to go away for a few days, you must ensure that your cat is taken care of properly. Below, I listed some options that you can choose if you will be gone for several days.
Where can I leave my cat when I’m away for days?
The good thing is that there are a lot of options if you can’t bring your cat with you. The following are some of the best solutions that will keep your cat safe.
Friends or family
The first best choice is to ask a family or friend to take your cat for the meantime while you’re away.
Choose a friend or relative that’s good with cats. This will ensure that your pet will be in good hands.
It’s also good if your friend or relative has cats at home that your pet can play with.
Boarding facilities for cats
If you can’t find anyone that can take your kitty, your second best choice is boarding facilities.
Here, your cat will be kept in a kennel where it will be given food and water regularly. Some boarding facilities also offer regular activities for extended stays.
Overall, these facilities look like shelters except that the cats and pets are not up for adoption. Take note, also, that boarding facilities are not always exclusive for cats.
I recommend meeting the staff and asking friends and family members for recommendations. This is to ensure that your cat is in good hands.
If you want to give your cat a vacation of its own, cat hotels are great options. This may cost you more than a regular boarding facility, but the staff will surely pamper your pet like a VIP.
You may feel guilty leaving a cat alone on vacation, but you’ll know that your kitty is also having a good time with cat hotels.
During your cat’s stay, the pet hotel will keep your kitty busy. They also have cages specially made for the cat’s comfort.
Like hotels for humans, cat hotels come with special amenities and perks. Aside from boarding, cat hotels offer light grooming, feeding schedules, socialization opportunities, and more.
However, if your cat is anxious about being in a strange place, your best bet is to hire a pet sitter. The sitter will be the one to stay or check your cat at home, ensuring the furball is well-fed and safe.
Still, you should be careful who you trust as these pet-sitting apps have their own horror stories.
If all of the above is impossible, the last resort is to board your cat at the vet’s clinic. This is the best option for kitties that are suffering from serious medical conditions.
However, most cats are wary of vet visits, so you should avoid this if possible. But since your cat is in the vet, you will have total peace of mind that your cat is being taken care of.
Leaving a kitten alone for the first time
Take note that leaving a cat behind is different if we’re dealing with a kitten that has never been left behind before. The little furball is susceptible to separation anxiety, hypoglycemia, and fear.
If you need to leave your kitten for a short period, make sure that it has enough water, food, and toys.
Remember that you’re not supposed to leave a kitten for long. Only when your pet turns six months old that it can handle a regular 8-hour workday.
Tips when leaving a cat alone while at work
If you are going to leave your cat to go to work, you should keep the following tips in mind:
Consider the weather
Cats are not good at keeping their own body temperature, especially kittens.
During summer, leave the AC running at a moderate temperature because the heatwave might leave you with dire consequences to face.
However, during winter, your cat should have a source of warmth when you leave it alone.
Get a second litter box
Even if you have a single cat at home, you must get an additional litter box.
This will let your kitty eliminate on a clean spot if the other box is full because a filled-up litter box will discourage your kitty to use it and might inspire her to choose another place.
A second litter box is necessary if you’re going to be away for more than 8 to 10 hours.
Leave some form of entertainment
Shower your cats with interactive toys, scratching posts, cat trees, and more to prevent your kitty from scratching the furniture.
It will also help to leave the TV on to keep your cat distracted.
Leave plenty of water
Water is essential for survival and leaving cats without water can really be life-threatening.
Even without food, your cat needs a lot of water to stay refreshed. You can go for a pet water fountain because it keeps the water fresh and the continuous flow tempts the cats to drink more often.
However, if you are to be away for extended hours, you must have someone check your cat.
Get an automatic feeder
If you’re taking overtime work all the time, consider getting an automatic feeder. This will ensure that your cat will not go hungry even if you’re away.
A microchipped auto-feeder only opens up to a microchipped cat, which prevents errors and unscheduled feeding.
It is preferable to get two automatic feeders because even if one machine malfunctions your kitty will have an uninterrupted supply of food.
How long can you leave a cat alone? You should cap it at 24 hours at the maximum. Leaving a cat alone for too long may cause anxiety and health problems.
If you need to go away for a few days, it’s best to board your pet at a cat hotel, a friend’s house, or at the vet’s clinic. This will ensure that your kitty will be watched over properly.
Thank you for reading!
Marco Vasquez is a passionate animal lover and writer with extensive experience in the pet care industry. He has worked with various pets, including dogs, cats, birds, and fish, and deeply understand their unique needs and behaviors. Marco’s love for animals has driven him to become an expert in pet health, nutrition, and behavior, and he is always eager to share his knowledge and insights with others. As a member of the Petcosset team, Marco brings his expertise to help pet owners make informed decisions about the well-being of their little friends. He enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with his pets in his free time.