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How long can you leave a cat alone?

While cats may seem aloof, they do require love, attention and care to thrive. Today, our Turlock vets discuss how long you can leave a cat alone and offer tips for keeping your cat happy, healthy and safe while you are away.

The Myth of the Independent Cat

As a cat parent, you likely understand that your feline friend is much more sociable than their reputation may have us believe. 

Many a kitty owner has asked us, "Do cats get lonely?" Similar to people, our furry companions' personalities are as diverse as the colors on their fur. While some cats may act consistently aloof and prefer to spend most of their time alone, others will happily come to the door to greet their owners as they arrive home from work each day, then follow their people around the house meowing. So, some cats will probably adjust better to time alone than others solely based on their personalities, but all cats need their humans - some more than others. 

Your Cat's Age Matters When Leaving Them Alone

Middle-aged cats tend to be less vulnerable than senior cats or very young cats, who will need more attention from their owners, as do cats with health issues. So make sure to take extra care when leaving kittens, very old cats and cats with health conditions alone.  

Young Cats & Kittens

Kittens should typically be fed 3 to 4 times per day until they're about 6 months old. Young cats also tend to get into things they shouldn't when left unsupervised. Kittens younger than 4 months old should not be left on their own for more than 4 hours at a time. 

If your cat will need to get used to spending time alone due to your lifestyle, start by training your kitten by gradually increasing the amount of time you are out of the house. Ask your veterinarian for instructions on the best ways to get your kitten used to being left at home alone. 

Once your kitten has reached 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 this isn't possible, have someone visit your place once or twice a daily to ensure your young cat is safe and has plenty to eat. The person should also take time to play with them to help relieve kitty boredom. 

If you have a young kitten and need to be away from home for more than 2-4 hours, pet boarding is the ideal solution. Several boarding facilities offer care for cats of any age, and provide lots of love and attention during your kitten's stay. 

Senior Cats & Cats With Health Issues

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 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 your cat must stay 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.

Middle-Aged Cats

Under some circumstances, it may be ok to leave your healthy, adult cat alone for 24-48 hours. Of course, this will depend upon a number of factors including your cat's personality, your living conditions, and whether they are used to spending time alone. 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, 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. 

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 offers you the freedom to leave home knowing that your kitty is safe and being well cared for while you are away.

Tips for Leaving Your Cat When You Need to be Away

You may be planning to leave on vacation and wondering, "How long can you leave a 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.

  • 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 wellbeing.
  • 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.

Ensure that your feline family member is well cared for while you're away. Pet boarding at Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital offers cats a safe and friendly home-away-from-home. Contact us today to learn more about cat boarding in Turlock.

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Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Turlock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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