Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
If you didn’t already know, we recently got a new little one who took some time to get used to our home. Luckily, I work from home, so it’s fairly easy to keep an eye out for her, but it’s a great question to ask yourself is… How long can cats be left alone?
Not all of us are lucky enough to work from home and trust me the hubby and I like some time away from the adorable furballs to go out for dinner or theatre, but there’s always that little worry that our cats aren’t okay when we’re not there, especially when Beau was at his peak of separation anxiety & pica.
So… is there a set amount of time that you’re able to leave your cats alone without having to worry about them?
Like most things, it highly depends on the cat, but your adult cat should be fine to be left alone for 24-48 hours as long as they have a proper amount of food, water and litter. However, if you have a kitten younger than 4 months you should not leave them alone for more than 4 hours. At 6 months they can handle an 8-hour leave.
Make sure your house is filled with litter boxes, the recommended being an extra litter box per cat that you have. For example, we have two cats and have 3 litter boxes out. When Beau was alone with us we had 2 litter boxes. This makes sure that if you don’t get to the litter box fast enough there should still be an extra one that is empty (or empty enough) for your kitty to comfortably go. When we lived in our old apartment (which was much bigger), we actually had 4 litter boxes out for Beau alone. While yes, it made guessing which litter box was dirty a lot tougher, Beau was happy that he had a box to go in while we were in any room (he likes pooping in the room we’re in… what an oddling!)
If litter boxes are left dirty and there is no other resort for your cat, it might lead to them going outside of the litter box or getting highly stressed. If you’re someone who doesn’t like cleaning litter boxes, I would recommend looking into getting an automatic litter box. They do come at a higher price, but if they’re a good quality you’re going to be happier, especially if you’re not someone who can easily bend down to pick up litter. I was actually debating getting myself a litter robot because they look amazing, but at the moment it’s not in the budget. It’s definitely I’d want to invest in for my senior years (or earlier if I get lazy.)
Toys & Stimulation
It’s really important to make sure your cat/cats aren’t left bored at home alone. This can also lead to some other forms of destruction. This is where Beau lies on the spectrum. Because he’s a little basket case, we can’t leave him alone at home for too long without there being plenty of toys, and we always have music playing in the background so he doesn’t feel so alone. This can still be true of multi-cat households since one cat may not want to play, while the other is darting around the house. In the case of Beau and Kalista, Beau often wants to play with her, but she’s a lone ranger who wants to play on her own… so sometimes it ends with a hissing battle or a chase around the apartment.
Passive Toys We Love
Corks from Wine Bottles (make sure to wash them)
You may also want to invest in some slow feeders for your cats to keep them occupied. We used to leave Beau with food in his feeders when we’d leave the house so he would be distracted long enough for us to slip out. You can check out some of our favourites here, however, our current top 3 are:
Cat Trees & Places to Climb
It’s no surprise that when you’re gone your cat is going to want a place to sit or climb. Although they can be pricy, cat trees or cat shelves are a great way to keep your cat comfortable while you’re away. Some of the ones that have been catching my eye are:
SmartCat Cat Climber (Attaches to a door!)
If you’re away I definitely recommend getting an in-home cat sitter. Although independent, cats are still social and like interaction. While boarding may be the “easier option” cats don’t necessarily get all the attention they need or the room that they need. Remember, your little one will be left alone overnight and both of our little ones love curling up with us at night. Luckily, we have an amazing friend who comes over whenever we’re in need of a pet sitter, but asking a neighbour or a family member may also be an option for you!
Concerns about leaving your cat alone
Remember, while your cat can fend for themselves for a while, you may want to take some extra precautions.
Water Bowls Spilling
You will want to leave out lots of water bowls, just in case, your cat spills their regular water bowl all over the floor. You may want to think about getting a water fountain to make sure that their water is always filtered and that there is less of a chance that your kitty will knock it over. We have two Catit Fountains at all times in our apartment since we noticed that our kitties do drink more when the fountains are around. So, if you’ve got a kitty that is prone to UTIs, this is a great investment for you.
If you’re leaving your cat alone for more than 8-hours you really have to think about heat and cold. Make sure you leave a window open if your apartment gets hot during the day, or if you have AC think about turning that up.
If your cat is anything like Beau, you’ll know that he eats himself until he throws up. Beau is on a very strict diet because of this and gets fed 4-times a day to keep his Pica under control. If your cat is an overeater, think about investing in an automatic feeder.
This one I hope I don’t need to bring up because it should be an obvious one. Accidents happen. We have two very accident prone cats in our home. Kalista being a 6-month old kitten who runs around knocking everything over, and Beau is a cat who gets sick frequently. For example, Beau started peeing blood last week and if we weren’t home, we wouldn’t have been able to rush him to the vet to get the medication he needs. I personally, would never leave my cats unattended for more than 8-hours, knowing the trouble cases they can be, however again, this highly depends on your cats’ personalities and health tracks.