Although some cats seem like they enjoy time to themselves, they do appreciate companionship and don't always like spending time alone. In this post, our Gardena vets discuss how long a cat can be left alone and how it may affect them.

A Cat's Independence

Like people, our feline friends have a diverse range of personalities. While some cats tend to keep to themselves and enjoy their alone time, other cats happily greet their owners at the door when they get home from work each day and won't leave their side.

So, some cats will likely adjust better to time alone than others depending on their personalities. However, cats do get lonely and need their owners - some more than others.

How Your Cat's Age Impacts Leaving Them Alone

If you're wondering how long you can leave a cat home alone, you should also take their age into account. Very old cats and young kittens are more vulnerable and require more attention than healthy, middle-aged cats. Take extra precautions when leaving cats with health issues, kittens, or senior cats alone, and ask your vet for specific advice regarding your feline friend.

Kittens & Young Cats

Kittens typically require three or four feedings per day until they are about six months old. When young cats are left unsupervised, they are known to misbehave which shouldn't come as a surprise. Kittens under the age of four months should not be left alone for more than four hours at a time, as they will need to be fed and kept out of trouble.

If you have a young cat and need to be away from home for more than two to four hours, pet boarding is an excellent option. Many boarding facilities provide excellent care for cats of all ages and offer lots of love and attention.

If you know that your cat will need to get used to spending time alone due to your lifestyle, start by leaving them alone for a half hour and slowly increase the time they're left alone throughout a few weeks.

If you need to be away for an extended period after 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 isn't possible, have someone come by once or twice a day to make sure they are safe, entertained, and have plenty of food and water.

Senior Cats & Cats With Health Issues

Older cats can be very sensitive to routines, which means that even minor changes during the day can be overwhelming. 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, so leaving them alone for more than a few hours, especially overnight, may not be a great idea.

Many pet boarding facilities provide round-the-clock care for animals in need of a little extra care while their owners are away. This makes pet boarding an ideal option for senior or unwell cats, as well as kittens. If your senior cat must stay home alone, have someone visit your house frequently to check in on them. 

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

It may be safe to leave your healthy adult cat alone for 24 to 48 hours in some cases. This will depend on a variety of factors, including your cat's personality, living conditions, and their comfortability with being left alone.

If you're going to leave your cat alone for a day or two, make sure the temperature in your home isn't too hot or cold, that there's enough (dry) food left out for your cat to eat while you're gone, and that there's plenty of clean drinking water. Also, be sure that the litter box is empty before you leave.

Tips for Leaving Your Cat 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 with your veterinarian to see if they have any concerns about leaving your cat alone. Your vet is familiar with your cat's health issues and is the best person to give you advice on your cat's well-being.
  • We strongly advise having someone check on your kitty once or twice a day while you are away to ensure that he or she 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.
  • Make sure your cat has enough clean water in a bowl that won't tip over and spill. Cat water fountains are sold in pet stores. While you're away, these handy devices can help keep your cat's water fresh and clean.
  • 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 pet boarding facility in your area. Cat boarding facilities can provide your kitty with a clean and bright environment where they will be well cared for and have 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.

Do you need a place for your cat to stay while you're away? Contact our Gardena vets to see if we have room at our boarding facility for your feline friend.