Leaving Your Cat Alone - A Complete Guide to Prevent Lonely Cats
Cats are known for being independent and aloof, able to stay on their own for a long time without human interaction. But when asking cat parents, 74% believe that their cat misses them, and recent studies have proven that to be true. Cats can suffer from being distant from their owners and they show attachment styles similars to dogs and kids.
About 24% of cat owners that follow our YouTube Channel claim that as long as there's enough food, water, and a clean litter box, they can leave their cat alone for the whole day without problems. It is true, to some extent.
Cats form strong bonds with their human and animal companions and will feel distressed if left alone for too long. Your cat might seem fine when you get home, but they might not be. Cats can get anxious alone or even sick, and if nobody's around for several days, your cat won't get the help it needs until you return.
Do Cats Get Lonely When Left Alone?
Cats are social creatures that require stimuli and interaction like other pets. Companionship, whether with humans or other cats, is necessary for a feline's life. Although the average adult feline will be all right, being left alone for up to eight hours, some are still likely to suffer from separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety in cats will most likely lead to behavioral problems or destructive habits that can cause a lot of stress to the owner. Most cats thrive on routines, and these routines disrupted will result in stress and anxiety.
Apart from that, leaving cats alone for too long will result in bad habits, such as urinating in random places or trying to escape the house, which can lead to them wreaking havoc in your home.
How to Leave a Cat Alone For the First Time?
There are some tips for leaving your cat home alone for the first time. Whether you have to take a trip to the grocery store or you're finally getting back to the office. There are certain things to do to make your kitty more comfortable and make yourself feel better about leaving your pet at home alone.
• Automatic Feeders
Cats need food and water, that's not new. When we are out, we can't leave all the food and water sitting there because:
- Food Goes Bad
- Cats Will Eat More than they Need to
Keeping the water in movement will maintain it fresh, and storing the food in an automatic feeder, will keep your cat in shape and eating on a schedule.
Automatic feeders should be:
- Stable - To prevent the cats to knock it over if, for some reason, they try to access to the food.
- Hermetic - So that the food stays fresh for the lenght of the time you are outside.
• Pet Camera
• Automatic Toys
The best way to play with a cat is by interacting with them. Automatic toys should only be used when you are not home and you want to provide enrichment to your cat.
If you are home, playing 1o1 with your cat will help you improve your bond with them but you will likely not be there for them all the time. When you are not available, automatic toys can take over.
Once you flip a switch on an automatic toy it will try to entertain your cat. I say try because cats are smart and picky and triggering a cat's hunting instincts will require some prey-like behavior. Cat plays as they hunt. Find an automated toys that mimics the type of prey that your cat likes hunting, and you'll have a busy cat.
Catify your home, to enrich your cat’s life. You can learn more about it in this video here.
• Cat sitters
Cats enjoy human or other pets interaction. Leaving your cat alone with zero interaction will likely affect your cat's wellbeing.
The best way to do it when you're not around is to ask a friend, family member to visit or to hire a cat sitter.
Pet sitters will come and refresh the food, water, and litter. Some companies also administer medication for your cat if it requires too. The simple job of a cat sitter is to play with your cat, brush them and let them do whatever they want.
How long is it Okay to Leave Your Cat Alone?
Leaving your cat alone for more than a few hours at a time can be tricky. There are also things like the cat's age thatcan determine how long you can leave your cat alone. According to PetCube, if the cat is under 2 months old, it shouldn't be left alone longer than two to four hours because they can get injured sneking around or have a health complication that could need immediate attention.
As they get older, cats will slowly appreciate time alone.
Four to five months old kittens, can go alone a little longer, up to about five or six hours.
The question then becomes, at what age can I leave a cat alone?
Adult cats are considered cats above 1 year of age, although maturity is reached earlier a full adulthood is not reach until a little later. Adult cats that are over six-month-old and healthy can generally be left alone for 24hours without much of an impact if they have good access to food and water.
If left alone too often, additional complications might araise.
What Happens if you Leave Your Cat Alone Too Much?
Cats who are left alone often are more prone to developing separation anxiety problems as they learn to anticipate that they are going to be left a lone for a while every time the owner leaves the home.
My recommendation is to use your judgment on how long they should be left home alone and how often, but let me help you with some examples that you will need to adapt to the personality of your cat.
Quick Guide for Leaving a Cat Alone for a While
If you're thinking of leaving for a few days and wondering if you can leave your cat alone, there are some tips that you can use.
Leaving the Cat Alone to Go to Work
Make sure if you're leaving for work, you should set up a foolproof system of food and water. Most importantly, you require plenty of clean litter box areas for them to go to the bathroom.
- (optional) a Pet Camera
Leaving a Cat Alone Overnight
According to a veterinarian, it is not an issue to leave your cat alone overnight. As long as they have access to clean food, fresh water, and a hygienic litter place. You can leave an adult cat for over 24 hours without any problems.
- Clean Litterbox
- (optional) a Pet Camera
Leaving a Cat Alone for a Full Weekend
Cats are the easiest to leave alone for a few days but more than 24 hours unsupervised is something I would not recommend anyone because if something happened, 24 hours are enough for a cat to get dihadrated.
What you need most importantly, other than food, you need numerous stations of water and a clean litter box area because you don't want your cat to mess up your place.
- Water (at least 1 station per day)
- Clean Litterbox (at least 1 per day)
- Pet Camera
Going on Holidays and Leaving Cat Alone
Taking a cat on vacation was believed to not be a good idea. It is true that cats that are not used to leaving the house, should not leave for the first time when we go on vacation as they will get anxious and you probably will too.
If you're going for a holiday for about a week, there are some tips on how you can leave your cat home safely. Food and water are the crucial factor. But it's important to make sure that not only they are adequately fed but also they get the chance to interact with someone. Have a friend, family member or cat sitter come in and visit your cat at least once a day.
- Water (changed once a day)
- Clean Litterbox (cleaned once a day)
- Pet Camera
- In-Person Vist (once a day)
I have learned that I am the happiest when I am with my cat, so I try to work from home, go on vacations with my cat on roadtrips... even flying with a cat in cabin is possible!
You too can take your cat with you
There’s one trick that can help your cat be more comfortable alone while interacting with you. Sit and stay.
You ask your cat to sit and you leave the room, rewarding them if they are still in place after you come back.
You can practice this by changing rooms or even leaving the house for a few seconds or minutes.
Stay Wild, Stay Safe... See You Outdoors!
Albert & Mia
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