How long can you leave your cat alone?

Cats are known for being solitary animals, but anyone who loves one knows this isn’t entirely true. In actuality, many cats are extremely social and want to be near you at all times. Cats can develop strong bonds with their humans and can get distressed or lonely if left by themselves for too long. 

That being said, every cat is different. Therefore, it really depends on your cat’s personality whether you can leave them alone or whether you need to find the best pet hotel to keep them content while you’re away. Here are some general guidelines for how long you can leave your cat at home alone.

How long can you leave your cat alone?

Leaving Your Cat At Home During the Day

In general, cats can fend for themselves for eight to 12 hours. One of the reasons for this is because their bathroom is indoors. However, cats may get bored or lonely even in this short period. Therefore, you need to provide entertainment for them. Before you leave, provide your cat with some toys and enrichment activities. You might even consider leaving the radio or TV on at a low volume. 

Leaving Your Cat Overnight

According to most experts, leaving your cat alone for up to 24 hours won’t hurt them. Provided they have a clean litterbox, access to freshwater, and they eat a full meal before you leave, they should be fine for the day. However, if you’re going to be longer than 24 hours, you should arrange for a friend or pet sitter to visit your cat, clean the litterbox, and refresh their food and water. After all, would you be happy if your bathroom was dirty, your water was stale, and you had no food? Obviously not. A clean bathroom is essential for both cats and humans, as is fresh water and food. 

Additionally, you have to worry about your cat suddenly taking ill or injuring themselves. Just think about the mischief that your cats cause when you’re home, and you can imagine the kind of jams they could get into while you’re gone. Therefore, it’s best not to leave them for longer than 24 hours. 

Exceptions to the Rule

We’ve established that 24 hours is the max amount of time you can leave a cat, but this doesn’t apply to all cats. Here are some exceptions:

      Your Cat’s Age

Kittens aged 3 to 6 months usually need three feedings per day, so every four to six hours or so. Furthermore, kittens are inquisitive and may climb things or eat things they aren’t supposed to. 

Older cats also need more attention. Senior cats can be extra sensitive to changes in their routine. For instance, undue stress may turn into illness in an older cat. Additionally, older cats may need extra feedings or medications. 

      You Cat’s Health

If your kitty needs medication at regular intervals, you can’t leave them alone for 24 hours. If they have medical issues like vomiting after eating, they also shouldn’t be left alone. 

Getting a Pet Sitter

Most cats can be left alone for between eight and 24 hours. But what happens in an emergency? What if you get stuck in a snowstorm and can’t get home? What if you have to extend your 24-hour trip into a 48-hour trip? Even if you plan to be home, things can change, so it’s vital that you plan ahead. 

Using a reliable pet sitter who can be there when you can’t ensure that your cat is taken care of. Pet sitters will visit your home and provide all your cat’s necessities and spend social time with them as well. 

Using a Pet Hotel

If you’re not comfortable having a pet sitter in your home, you might want to consider using a pet hotel. Pet hotels, like human hotels, come in all shapes and sizes. Some offer spa-like amenities, while others simply cater to an animal’s basic needs like their toiletry and feeding. Do your research to find the one that’s right for you and your cat. 

Final Thoughts

Some cats love their alone time, while others desire human attention. Regardless, you shouldn’t leave your cat alone for more than 24 hours. Furthermore, if you leave your cat alone for 24 hours, you need to ensure you leave them with clean litter, freshwater, and a full meal in their bellies. Otherwise, consider getting a pet sitter or setting your cat up in a pet hotel for the duration of your trip.


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