While most people are aware that dogs shouldn’t be left alone too long, we often forget about our other furry friends: cats.
Cats are good at playing hard to get and may seem like all they want is to be left alone, but this is a common misconception. Some cats are hugely social, and most kitties create strong bonds with their human parents, meaning they can get distressed when left alone for too long.
But how long is too long?
Every cat is different, and you’ll know your cat better than most. But this guide will hopefully shed some light on different scenarios and whether you should really be leaving your cat alone for hours at a time.
Can I leave my cat home alone while at work?
We’d all love to stay at home and snooze and snuggle all day with our feline friends. But sadly, our day jobs get in the way.
Some people will choose to adopt a cat rather than a dog because they can be alone longer – which is true. If your cat is an indoor cat anyway, they won’t be yearning to go outside to use the bathroom either.
As a general rule of thumb, adult cats can be left at home on their own for around 8-12 hours. But just like humans, kids, and dogs, cats can get bored and lonely even if left for just a few hours.
The best way to prevent your purry pal from developing separation anxiety or acting out when they can see you’re about to leave is by giving them plenty of entertainment. Ensuring your house is filled with fun toys and enriching activities will give them something to distract them while you’re away. Leaving the TV or radio on while you’re out can also help keep them calm.
On the topic of separation anxiety, pets typically have two fear phases where anxiety and fear can develop. You should speak to your vet or the specialists at Kelly Crossing Animal Hospital to see what you can do to alleviate stress and fear in these periods.
Will my cat be okay alone overnight?
As long as you leave plenty of food down (or use a timed feeder), fresh water, and a clean litter tray, it’s okay to leave your cat alone for a night, however any longer than 24 hours is pushing it.
If you want to go away for the weekend, it’s better to ask a friend or relative to visit your cat while you’re away or hire a professional pet sitter to keep them company. If your cat’s litter tray is left unclean, they might start going to the bathroom elsewhere – no exactly the welcome home you were looking for!
Even if the sitter doesn’t stay the whole time, someone nipping in to play, refilling their water, and cleaning the litter tray will help your cat feel comfortable at home alone. Having someone to check in on your kitty will also give you peace of mind that they’re okay.
The age of your cat will also determine how long they can be alone for. It’s worth asking your vet to see how long they feel is acceptable.