How Long Can You Safely Leave Your Cat Alone?
Let me start off by saying that there is no ultimate answer to this question. It all depends on the cat’s age, health, temper, emotional dependence on the owner and some everyday situations that could lead to injuries.
Generally, it’s safe to leave your cat alone for up to 24 hours. In some cases you might be able to leave the cat home alone for around 48 hours.
However, both of these timeframes require significant pre-planning on your end. And let’s not forget about cat-proofing your house or apartment.
Even notably athletic breeds can injure themselves when left untended for just a couple of hours. Cats do crazy stuff all the time, such as climbing onto draperies or finding hiding spots that they can’t escape from. And if you need to leave the kitty alone over longer periods of time… well, things get even more complicated.
Read Into Your Cat’s Behavior
Many pet parents think their kitties are absolutely independent and just want to be left alone. In reality, it’s quite the opposite.
Even if they don’t show it 24/7, indoor cats know that they are dependent on their owners and they do feel the emotional and physical need of their owners.
Think about your cat’s reactions whenever you’re leaving the premises and when you’re coming back home. Kitty might not want to snuggle with you, but is her behavior changing when you’re leaving her alone for half an hour in comparison to a few hours? How about when you’re abruptly ending each play session? Or when you’re late with her dinner?
Read into your cat’s tail positions and overall behavior.
It might seem like your cat isn’t interested in spending time with you, but that could be only because she’s sick and tired of not receiving enough attention in the first place.
Moreover, any form of destructive behavior could also indicate that the kitty is acting upon lack of attention. It’s absolutely possible that your pet isn’t hating you and that all it really wants is some quality bonding time. And if that’s the case, you shouldn’t leave your cat home alone for too long.
Preparing Your Home Before You Leave Your Cat Alone
Felines can survive on their own with no human pet parents. That’s a fact.
Unfortunately, regardless of their inborn feline instincts, indoor cats are accustomed to being fully taken care of. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make the kitty’s life easier and your absence – a bit more bearable.
Even when you’re leaving the cat alone for just a few hours, you should still cat-proof the house or apartment.
This means removing any fragile objects, especially from high spots, hiding any possible choking hazards, locking all doors and windows, cutting off the access to chemicals, detergents, sharp objects, leftover human food.
Curious and unpredictable by nature, cats of all ages can easily get themselves into trouble. Don’t take any chances when you’re away!
Enough cat food and constant access to fresh water are a priority. You can get a pet fountain for the latter necessity. Clean litter, a comfy cat bed, scratching posts and access to favorite toys are also a must. All of these things are absolutely crucial for your pet’s survival.
Keeping your pet well-entertained and occupied while home alone lowers the chances of any destructive behavior or injuries. Opt for leaving the TV on, providing an extra scratching surface, automatic pheromone sprays, interactive cat toys.
Additionally, you can shut the blinds if you think your pet might get too anxious about the outdoors and go crazy in the absence of your company.
Nothing can substitute the presence of the cat’s pet parent. However, you can still introduce the human interaction element into your cat’s days or nights without being physically there. Here are the most efficient alternatives.
- Pet cameras
Invest in a good pet camera. Some of these allow you to call your pet so that it can hear your voice. Others offer built-in interactive laser-chaser games and play recordings of your voice. Depending on what your budget is, you can get some pretty fancy tech toys.
- Cat sitters
Even if you’re residing in a secluded suburban area, you can still get a cat sitter. I have a guide on how to choose a reliable cat sitter and where to look for one, so go check it out if you’ve never hired a sitter before.
- Friends and relatives
Your cat is probably familiar with some of your friends and family members. Ask one of them to go check up on the lonesome kitty once or twice a day. Even just a few minutes of human interaction can prevent your cat from suffering from separation anxiety. And trust me on this one – all seemingly independent adult cats do miss their owners’ presence.