Even though cats are fairly independent and may act like they don’t need their human family around all the time, most pet parents know that their cat does in fact love their company. Sometimes though we need to leave our cats home alone whether to go to work or on vacation. As a concerned pet parent, you want to make sure your cat is fine, so you’re probably asking yourself, how long can you leave your cat alone?
How long can cats safely be left alone?
Most cats are just fine being left home alone for up to 24 hours, with the exception of kittens which shouldn’t be left alone more than 4 hours. If you need to be away longer, a pet sitter is a great option to check in on your cats!
What does your cat need when left alone?
No matter how long you will be away, your cat will need the following when home alone:
Leave out dry food for your cat, especially if your cat tends to eat small amounts throughout the day. If you’re worried about your cat overeating, you can consider an automated feeder that works with an app and will dispense food at scheduled times. If your cat eats wet food, feed when you’re home or when a pet sitter stops by.
Be sure your cat has plenty of water. Consider putting out extra bowls of water and/or using a water dispenser.
Clean the litter box before you leave and consider putting out a second litter box if you have multiple cats and will be away for a while. Litter boxes should be cleaned about once a day to prevent your cat from avoiding it.
Remove dangerous and/or valuable items
Put any toxic plants or other things your cat may chew on, like plastic bags, and breakable items in a closed room where a potentially bored or anxious cat won’t be able to get to them.
Prepare your cat for your absence
If you or other family members will be leaving home more often for longer periods of time, whether going back to the office or starting school or a new job, prepare your cat for the change.
Set a routine
Get up at your anticipated new time and go through the motions, including anything you do that would affect your cat, such as filling their water bowl or cleaning the litter box. This will help your cat adjust to new activity in the house.
Schedule feeding times
If you feed your cat at certain times, you may need to change the times with your new schedule. Ease into the new times so your cat has time to adjust.
Keep your cat busy
Although cats certainly do take a lot of naps during the day, they also spend time alert and active. Make sure they have access to a few windows and leave some cat toys out for them to chase around.
It’s okay to leave your cat home alone for up to a day, whether you have to go to work or go out and run errands. With a little bit of prep, your cat will be just fine at home in your absence. However, if you need to be away for more than a day, it’s best to have a friend or pet sitter check in and help care for your cat until you return.