People who live with cats know that they’re not nearly as aloof or independent as alleged. The length of time you can leave a grown-up cat alone depends on the cat, his diet and your environment. Cats who eat dry food that you can make readily available may be left on their own for 24-48 hours as long as fresh water is accessible as well. Beyond that time frame, water may get too dirty to drink and the litter box full.
Kittens younger than four months should not be left alone for more than four hours. Older than that, they can handle another hour or so. When they reach six months, they can tolerate an eight-hour day without company.
How can you make your absence more bearable for your kitty?
THINK ABOUT THE WEATHER
In summer and hot climates, keep kitty cool by leaving the air conditioning on. An unanticipated heatwave could have dire consequences.
GET AN AUTOMATED FEEDER
Microchip pet feeders open exclusively when your microchipped cat is near the feeder and keeps food fresher. If your cat isn’t microchipped, it is time to do it! Microchips help to reunite lost pets with their parents easier and faster.
LEAVE PLENTY OF FRESH WATER
Your cat needs to stay hydrated in your absence. Fill his/her regular water bowl before you leave and add extra bowls of freshwater around your home. Pet water fountains are great but it is not advisable to leave them on when you are away from home for too long.
PROVIDE A SECOND LITTER BOX
Your cat’s litter box will not only fill up faster but also will soon discourage your cat from using it, inspiring him/her to choose other places. Try placing an additional litter box in your home and acquainting your cat with it a few days before you leave.
ENRICH YOUR CAT’S ENVIRONMENT
You may want to treat him to a new high perch, scratching post or cozy bed beside a window to keep him/her more entretained.
CONSIDER A CAT SITTER
When you have to be away from home for more than a night or two, having a cat sitter can take the worry out of a trip. To help your cat sitter do the best job possible, make a list that contains important information, such as:
- Your name and contact number
- Name of cat
- Feeding times
- Medication info, if required
- How often to change litter
- Personality traits
- Where she likes to hide and sleep
- Where to find supplies, including cat carrier
- Name and number of veterinarian
- Name and number of your emergency contact
A responsible cat sitter should contact you if she observes changes in your cat’s behaviour, appetite, litter box habits or grooming. Best sitters will send you a photo and text every day to say your cat is doing well.