While cats can appear to be independent, they do get lonely. Cats need their owners to give them everything they require to stay happy and healthy. In this post, our Fort Collins vets provide you with tips on leaving your cat alone and tell you how long you can leave your furry friend by themselves.
The Myth of the Independent Cat
Cat parents know that our feline companions are a lot more sociable than their reputation can have us believe.
So, do cats get lonely? As with humans, our furry friends have a diverse range of personalities. While some cats may be consistently aloof and prefer their own company, other cats happily greet their owners at the door when they get home from work every day, then follow their owners around meowing. Therefore, some cats will likely adjust better to time alone than others, based solely on their personalities. However, all cats need their people, some more than others.
The Age of Your Cat Matters When Leaving Them Alone
Very young and very old cats, as well as cats with health concerns, are generally more vulnerable and require a lot more attention than healthy middle-aged cats. Therefore, you need to take extra care when leaving cats with health conditions, kittens, and senior cats alone.
Kittens & Young Cats
Most of the time, kittens have to be fed 3 or 4 times a day until they are approximately 6 months of age. Young cats also tend to get into mischief when left unsupervised. Kittens under 4 months old should not be left on their own for more than 4 hours at a time. If because of your lifestyle, your cat will need to get used to time alone, begin training your kitten by gradually increasing the amount of time you are out of the house. Ask your vet for instructions on how you can get your kitten used to being home alone.
If you need to be away for an extended amount of time when your kitten is 6 months old, 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 cat and have to be away from home for more than 2 to 4 hours, pet boarding is an ideal solution. Many boarding facilities offer high-quality care for cats of all ages, complete with lots of love and attention.
Senior Cats & Kitties With Health Conditions
Older cats can be very sensitive to routines, which means that changes to their normal day can be stressful for them to handle. Stress can lead to an increased risk of health conditions and tummy issues. It's also common for senior cats to require extra feedings or medication throughout the day. For these reasons, it might not be a good idea to leave your senior cat alone overnight. Lots of pet boarding facilities offer round-the-clock care for cats and dogs that require a little extra TLC while their owners are gone, making pet boarding an ideal option for senior or unwell cats. If you must leave your cat at home alone, have someone visit your house twice a day to check on your senior cat.
Your vet knows your senior cat best, speak to your vet about how long they believe your cat can safely be left alone.
In some situations, it could be alright to leave your healthy, adult cat alone for 24-48 hours. However, this will depend upon a range of factors including your cat's personality, your living conditions, and whether your feline is used to spending time alone. If your cat is going to be left on their own for a day or two, be sure that the temperature of your home isn't too hot or too cold, that there is enough (dry) food left out for your cat to eat while you're away, and that there is plenty of clean drinking water! It's also a good idea to make sure that the litter box is completely clean before you leave.
You can help to prevent your cat from feeling lonely or getting into mischief by taking them to a trusted pet boarding facility in your neighborhood. Pet boarding provides you with the freedom of being able to leave home knowing your feline companion is safe and being well cared for when you are gone
Tips for Leaving Your Cat Home Alone
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.
- Talk to your vet to find out if they have any concerns about you leaving your cat alone. Your vet knows your cat's health concerns and is in the best position to give you advice on your cat's wellbeing.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 keep your cat's water fresher and cleaner while you're gone.
- Provide your cat with enough food for the duration of your time away. You may want to invest in an automated pet feeder to rotate the food and keep it fresher.
- If your cat is particularly fussy about their litter box you may want to leave 2 fresh litter boxes out for them.
- We highly suggest having someone check in 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.
- 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.
Boarding Your Cat at Come-Play-Stay! at South Mesa Veterinary Hospital
By boarding your cat with us at Come-Play-Stay! in Fort Collins you can rest easy knowing your cat will be supervised by caring professionals and that all of their needs are being met. Our veterinary team will provide your feline companion with a home away from home that includes personal one-on-one playtime, studio or duplex-style suites, a room with a view, comfortable bedding, 3 meals a day, and more.
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.