Cat parents who adopted their furry friends during the pandemic shutdowns may be facing a new challenge. With so many returning to work, their beloved pets may be facing longer periods alone in the home. Those who are single or couples who both work with kids now in school may need to figure out what to do with the family cat when the house is empty for several hours a day. A common question that is now being asked is how long can you leave your cat alone? The answer might surprise you.
Can you leave your cat alone for a full day?
If you’re returning to work full-time and your cat will be left alone in the house, chances are that he will do fine while you’re at work. It is likely to cause a few discomforts as you both transition to a new schedule, but a healthy cat left with food, water in a shelter will probably be okay. According to Inverse.com, most healthy cats that are emotionally well adjusted will do okay if they are left alone in the house for a full day. It’s not recommended to leave them for over 24-hours at a time though. If you must be gone for longer, and you don’t have a choice, it’s wise to have someone come and check on your cat at least once per day.
Can I leave my cat alone for a week if I have automatic feeders?
If you’re going to be gone for more than 24 hours, it’s not wise to rely on automatic feeding and watering stations. While they are useful, if something goes wrong you will have no way to know it. Your pet could go hungry or thirsty. There are other concerns to consider as well. Cats are curious creatures and as such, you never know when they will jump up on counters and get into things that they shouldn’t. Accidents can happen, and if there isn’t a human nearby to help, the results could be catastrophic. Even if your cat doesn’t make any mistakes, things happen. Sometimes there are power failures, Thieves break in, buildings catch on fire, and there are so many things that can go wrong that it is not worth taking the chance.
The lack of companionship may also become an issue if you have a cat that is left alone for days at a time. If your cat is sick or gets sick while you’re away, the results could also be catastrophic. Your cat may also chew on plastic or other items in the home that could get stuck in his throat, or cause a bowel obstruction. You never know what these curious animals are going to be up to. Leaving your cat unattended could put his health and life in jeopardy.
What to do if you must be away from your cat
According to My Pet, there are some good options if you must leave your cat and be away for more than a day. The first is to find a babysitter. If a friend or family member is willing to care for your cat in their home while you’re away, it’s a safer solution. Another option is to have someone stop by your house and check on your cat a few times a day while you’re gone. There are also boarding shelters that will keep your pet until you return home. Someone to provide contact, fresh food, and water, and clean the litter box if needed can make a big difference in your cat’s health and well-being. If there is nobody available to help you out, the next best thing is to prepare in advance. There are some great two-way communication systems out there. Purchase home security and monitoring system with video and audio. This will help you to see and hear what is going on in your home while you’re away. You can connect to these systems through your smartphone and enjoy two-way communication with your cat. Set up an automatic feeding and watering system with plenty of food and water. You can also turn on soft music or the television to give your cat entertainment. Also, leave his toys in reach so he will be able to keep himself entertained. If there is another housepet in the home, your cat will have social interaction that lessens his stress and loneliness. You may also consider setting up a second litter box in case he fills the first one.
When is it not okay to leave your cat alone?
Kittens under the age of 6 months should not be left home alone for more than an hour or two. They’re so curious that the odds of them getting into trouble is high. Another concern is that your kitten may feel abandoned. If the weather changes or if heating or cooling systems malfunction, the results could be dire. This is another reason why young cats should not be left alone for more than a couple of hours. If your cat is sick and requires medication, it’s not a good idea to leave him alone for more than a couple of hours at a time. This is especially true if he requires regular dosages of medications. Cats that need to be monitored should not be left to fend for themselves. Tractive recommends considering your cat’s personality and individual needs to determine how long he can be left alone. Every cat is different and some are needier than others, however, it’s essential to keep all dangerous objects out of reach while you’re away. Some cats will be perfectly fine for a day or two with a few check-ins each day.