How long can you leave a cat home alone?

Many of us are falsely under the impression that cats would rather be alone than hang out with their human counterparts, but this is not the case. Here, our La Mesa vets talk about how age has an impact on leaving your cat home alone and how you can safely leave your feline friend at home while keeping them happy.

Do cats actually enjoy being left home alone?

While many people believe that cats are suited to a solitary life, those who own cats know just how social they actually like to be.

So, do cats get lonely? Just like you and I, cats each have their own personality and preference. While some may wait patiently for their owners to go to them to cuddle and play, others won't leave their owner's side. So, some cats will likely adjust better to time alone than others based solely on their personalities, but all cats need their people and some more than others. So how long can a cat be left alone? Our veterinarians tell us more below.

How Your Cat's Age Affects Leaving Them Home Alone

Leaving your cat alone and how long you can leave your cat alone both depend on your cat. If they are a healthy adult you will have more flexibility than if your cat is very young, old or if they have health concerns. So be sure to take extra care when leaving cats with health conditions, kittens, and senior cats alone.

Leaving Kittens Alone

Up until they reach six months of age, your kitten will need multiple feedings each day. This needs to be taken into account with how long you leave them alone. Kittens are also notorious for getting into everything they shouldn't and you should never leave them alone for more than 4 hours if they are under 4 months old.

If you generally spend the day away from the house for work or other reasons, you will need to train your cat to adjust to your being away each day. Speak to your vet for instructions on how best to get your kitten used to being left at home alone. 

Once your kitten is 6 months old, if you need to be away for an extended amount of time, it may be best to have a friend or family member take your cat to their house to care for them. If that's not possible, have someone pop by your place once or twice a day to check in on your young cat to make sure they are safe, have plenty to eat, and get some social interaction to relieve boredom. 

If you have a young kitty and need to be away from home for more than 2-4 hours, pet boarding is the ideal solution. The staff at a boarding facility can offer your cat all of the love and attention they need throughout the day.

Cats With Health Concerns or Seniors

Senior cats have a difficult time when there are any sudden changes in their life or routine. These changes can lead to stress and other health concerns. It's also common for senior cats to require extra feedings or medication throughout the day. For these reasons, it may not be a good idea to leave your senior cat alone overnight.

Many pet boarding facilities provide round-the-clock care for animals in need of a little extra TLC while their owners are away, making pet boarding an ideal option for senior or unwell cats. If you can't board your cat then you should have someone stop by your house twice daily to provide care, comfort and stimulation for your feline friend.

Your vet can offer advice on how to create a healthy, fun and stress-free environment for your cat while you are away from home.

Healthy Adult Cats Left at Home Alone

As long as your adult cat is healthy and their temperament allows, you may be fine to leave them alone for less than 2 days when necessary as long as you have provided the basic necessities. If your cat is going to be left on its own for a day or two be sure that your home's temperature isn't too hot or too cold, and that there is enough (dry) food and water left out for your cat while you're away. It's also a good idea to make sure that the litter box is completely clean before you leave. 

The ideal solution for both you and your kitty will be to schedule them for a stay at your local pet boarding facility in La Mesa. Pet boarding offers you the freedom to leave home knowing that your kitty is safe and well cared for while you are away.

How to Make Your Time Away From Home a Success

If you are planning to be away from home, here are a few tips to help ensure that your cat stays safe while you're gone.

  • Speak to your vet to find out if they have any concerns about your cat being left alone. Your vet knows your cat's health concerns and is in the best position to give you advice on your cat's well-being.
  • We strongly recommend that you have someone check on your kitty once or twice a day while you are gone, to ensure that your kitty is safe and has enough food and water for the duration of your absence. 
  • Check the weather and be sure that your thermostat is set so that your home will remain at a comfortable temperature while you're away.
  • Provide your cat with enough food for the duration of your time away. You may want to invest in an automated pet feeder to ration the food and keep it fresher.
  • Ensure that your cat has plenty of clean water in a bowl that will not tip over and spill. Cat water fountains are available from pet stores. These handy devices can help to help your cat's water fresher and cleaner while you're gone.
  • If your cat is particularly fussy about their litter box you may want to leave 2 fresh clean boxes of litter for them.
  • Consider leaving a radio or tv on so that your cat hears voices while you are away. It may help to relieve your cat's boredom.
  • Take your cat to a local pet boarding facility. Cat boarding facilities can offer your kitty a clean and bright place to stay where they will be well cared for and provided with plenty of human interaction.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you are concerned about leaving your cat at home alone, pet boarding may be a good choice. Contact La Mesa vets today to learn more about our boarding facility.