How Long Can You Leave Your Cat Home Alone?by Kathy Green • January 30, 2015
It is a fact that many people chose a feline companion over other pets as they believe cats can be left alone for long periods of time. It’s really a myth that cats can fend for themselves. Like all pets they need care and attention. When cats are left alone for longer than a day, our absence causes them stress and anxiety. Cats may be independent, but they don’t do well left alone for multiple days. They get lonely and anxious without their human companions—especially with the increasing time we’re away from them. Cats worry like we do and can feel abandoned and increasingly nervous the longer we’re away.
Many people are confident that putting down a big bowl of kibble, another of water, and leaving their cat alone at home for several days is ok.
If you are lucky, this routine may work, but you are playing the odds. There are many things that can and indeed do go wrong.
Why Cats Really Shouldn’t Be Left Alone at Home
• Cats do get sick! This situation can be dire if no one is around for several days. Your cat won’t get the help he needs until you return and sadly this can lead, on some occasions, to you coming home to a desperately ill or dead cat. Feline disorders like urinary blockages can come on suddenly and can be fatal in three days.
• An exclusive diet of dry food is not the best diet for cats. Evidence has been found linking dry food diets and feline lower urinary tract disease. evidence has emerged linking dry food diets and feline lower urinary tract disease. The moisture content in cat food plays a crucial dietary role in feline urinary tract health. You can’t leave fresh or canned cat food out when you travel because it will spoil.
• Cats can get lonely and certainly very bored when spending endless hours alone. This can lead to unwanted behaviour like biting, clawing and messing.
• Many cats object to a dirty litter box. If no one cleans it for several days, she might shun the litter box all together and find undesirable alternatives.
How to Care for Your Cat When You are Away from Home
1. A daily visit from a pet sitter (Petsitter.com) or house sitter, neighbour, family member or friend is the most important recommendation. Twice daily visits are even more desirable. The sitter should provide fresh food and water and stay long enough to play with the cat giving her attention and exercise.
2. Leave your cat fun toys for environmental stimulation when you are not around. As well, hide treats around the house that she can find while you are away. Cats also enjoy scratching posts and cat trees. These can provide hours of entertainment and mental stimulation.
3. Prepare notes about your cat to give to your cat sitter. Whether you chose an in-home pet sitter or to board your cat, you want to provide specific notes about your cat’s food, special diet, medications, allergies, temperament, and any special needs that your cat has. Leave your all your contact information—cell phone numbers, email addresses, places where you’re staying, hotel phone numbers, your veterinarian’s address and phone number, and the nearest pet emergency hospital address and phone number—in case anything should happen.
It’s your responsibility to keep your cat safe, healthy and happy, so why would you take a chance on something happening to your cat, compromising its health or well being?