How long should you leave your cat alone?

Cats have a reputation as being fairly aloof and independent. However, owners of cats may already know that this is not as true as it seems. Cats need interaction and companionship, whether that’s with humans or other animals. Leaving your cat alone for a prolonged period of time can not only be detrimental to their health and well-being but might also prove to have far more serious consequences.

Cats are very territorial and like a sense of routine. They get used to what time of day you wake up and go to sleep. And of course, feeding time. A cat left alone for extended periods may start to display signs of loneliness or distress. They may become overly clingy, unusually aggressive or start urinating around the house. This is your cat’s way to signal their disapproval of being left alone.

Bear in mind that the period you can safely leave your cat alone will depend on their personal circumstances. An older cat with no previous medical history or special requirements should be fine on their own at home during an average working day of 8-12 hours. Never leave your cat for more than 24 hours without someone checking in on them and providing fresh, clean water. Kittens that are less than four months old shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours. Once they reach six months old, they should be okay for around 8 hours on their own.

Leaving your cat home alone

Think about the conditions that you are planning on leaving your pet in, even if it’s only for a short period of time. What is the weather like? Will they get too hot or too cold in your absence? Should you invest in an automated pet feeder? Have they got constant access to clean, fresh water? Do they need a second litter tray? Maybe you could leave the radio or TV on for some background noise to help ease their loneliness. If you plan on leaving toys out to keep them entertained, make sure they won’t be a threat to their health and safety when left unattended.

If you do need to go away for an extended period, think about alternative care options for your cat. However, some cats may not settle well in the unfamiliar surroundings of a cattery. In this case, think about hiring a cat sitter or asking a friendly neighbour to check in on them.

When left alone for a period of less than 12 hours, most cats will be fine. Just make sure they have access to fresh, clean water and a litter tray. If you plan on being away any longer than that, it’s best to make alternative arrangements for your cat’s care.

Fri Mar 13 2020