Cats are independent creatures, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need companionship. Even the most self-sufficient cats will miss their owners when they are gone for extended periods. Leaving a cat alone at home can be a tough decision to make, but with the right preparations, you can ensure your pet will be safe, happy, and well-cared for in your absence.
Because cats are more social than many people realise, it’s important to take extra steps to prepare for your cat’s solo time, so to help, we’ve compiled a list of the best ways to prepare your cat for some time alone!
How long is too long when leaving a cat alone?
Cats are social animals and need interaction with humans or other animals to stay healthy and happy, and the length of time you can leave a cat alone will depend on the individual cat and its environment.
Generally speaking, cats should not be left alone for more than 24 hours. If you are leaving for a weekend or a few days, it is important to make sure your cat has enough food and water, and that someone can come by to check in and give them some attention.
If you have to leave for a longer period, such as a week or more, it is important to make arrangements for someone to come in and take care of the cat. This could be a family member, friend, or professional pet sitter. They can check in, feed and water the cat, provide affection and attention, and keep an eye on the cat’s health and welfare.
Tips and advice when leaving a cat alone at home
Follow these tips to make sure your cat is safe and secure while they’re home alone:
Arrange a sitter
If possible, find someone you trust to check on your cat while you’re away. This could be a family member, friend, neighbour, or even a pet-sitting service.
Sitters are great for providing your cat with companionship and interaction while you’re away. They can also make sure your cat is eating, drinking, and using the litter box. Just an hour a day can be enough to provide your cat with some stimulation and help prevent boredom.
As an extra tip, if you can’t find someone to come in and check on your cat, try setting up a few cameras so you can monitor your cat remotely. Unfortunately, such a step isn’t a substitute for companionship, but it can at least allow you to keep a watchful eye on your cat from afar!
Clean the litter box
A clean litter box is essential for a healthy, happy cat. Make sure to clean the litter box before you leave, and make sure it gets cleaned often while you’re away.
Nobody wants to come home to a smelly mess, and your cat will appreciate it too!
Keep your curtains open
Cats love natural sunlight, so leaving your curtains open can help give your cat a sense of comfort and connection to the outside world. It can also help your cat stay active and alert, which can help keep them from feeling lonely or bored.
Looking out the windows at the birds, squirrels, and other animals can also provide your cat with some entertainment and mental stimulation.
Just make sure to not leave any windows or doors open, as it can be dangerous if your cat escapes!
Leave some toys out
Cats love to play and often get bored when their owners are away. Providing your cat with some interactive toys can help keep them entertained while you are gone.
Using toys that require your cat to think, such as puzzle toys or treat dispensers, can help keep their minds active and help prevent them from feeling lonely.
Additionally, you can leave a scratching post or another enticing item nearby to encourage your cat to stay active while you are away.
Keep a comfortable temperature
Cats are warm-blooded creatures and need a comfortable temperature to feel relaxed and safe. Make sure to keep your home at a temperature that is comfortable for your cat, as an environment that is either too hot or too cold can be stressful for them.
Make sure to also provide your cat with plenty of blankets, beds, and other comfortable items so that they can stay warm and cosy while you are away.
Leave a device on at a low volume
The presence of sound provides some great company for a cat whose owner is out and about.
Keeping a TV, radio or smart device on at low volume can help provide your cat with some background noise, which can help make them feel less alone.
Some cats may even be drawn to the TV or device to watch the images, adding another form of entertainment. Just make sure to choose something that won’t cause your cat to jump at your electronics!
Spread out food in different places
Cats love to explore, so spreading out food in different places around your home can help keep your cat entertained while you are away.
Doing this will also encourage them to move around the house, helping them to stay active and alert. Additionally, it activates the feeling of hunting, which can be great entertainment.
Try leaving little treats in areas such as:
- Under the couch
- Behind furniture
- In a paper bag
- In a cardboard box
- On top of a shelf
Maintain your cat’s routine
Even if you’re not home, your cat will still want to eat, sleep, drink, and use the litter box at the times they regularly do. Maintaining your cat’s routine can help them feel secure and comfortable while you are away.
If you are gone for long periods, consider investing in an automatic food dispenser or fountain to help keep your cat’s routine consistent.
Automatic litter boxes are also available to help keep your cat’s bathroom habits clean while you’re away!
Try VetIQ Serene-Um when leaving a cat alone
While all of the above tips are effective, we have one more tip for cats who become excessively anxious or unsettled when left alone – try our Serene-Um calming tablets!
Serene-UM is the perfect way to keep your cat calm and relaxed while you’re away. Serene-UM is a calming formula that is designed to combat tension and stress in pets, without having a sedative effect, so you can leave your cat alone with peace of mind, knowing that they will stay relaxed and safe.
Plus, it’s easy to give – it comes in a convenient, easy-to-administer drop formulation that you simply add to your pet’s food. Alternatively, Serene-UM is also available in tablet form which can easily be crushed and added to their food.
Here at VetIQ, we love pets and we love pet owners too! You can always count on us to be your number one provider of pet products, so check out our products and blog for more of the latest pet-related news and information!