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6 Things You Should Know Before Leaving Your Cat Home Alone

6 Things You Should Know Before Leaving Your Cat Home Alone

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We all lead busy lives, and sometimes that keeps us away from home where our cats reside. 

While cats do value their independence, they shouldn’t be alone for extend periods of time.

Plan correctly so your cat is safe and comfortable when you’re not around.

Keep reading to discover 6 things you need to know about leaving your cat home alone.

1. Cats need stimulation.

Just because your cat is a serial napper does not mean that they don’t need stimulation.

If cats don’t get stimulation, they might become mischievous around the house and cause damage.

Always be sure to have some interactive toys (that don’t require a human) on hand, or maybe a good cat perch that’s near a window.

Cat nip toys always seem to get cats excited and stimulated.

However, the scent of cat nip will fade overtime and you’ll need to buy more toys.

Take an alternative approach – purchase some organic cat nip spray to keep the fresh scent of cat nip on the cat toys.

Plus, you won’t have to deal with the mess of loose leaf cat nip everywhere!

***AUTHOR’S NOTE*** For my cat, being able to see the great outdoors is the difference between behaving and acting up and getting into things that she shouldn’t.

I always make sure to keep the blinds open on a couple of windows or doors so my cat cat sun bathe and chatter at birds.

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2. Cats don’t do well in strange environments.

If you’re thinking of boarding your cat when you go on vacation, you may want to find an alternative.

Cats get very stressed in new and strange environments.

There are new smells, new sights, and other unfamiliar cats who might be scared or stressed as well.

And to make matters even worse, you (the person they love the most), are not there either.

Cats can suffer from terrible separation anxiety and stress at a boarder.

They become very anxious and subsequently vomit or experience diarrhea while they’re being boarded.

Anxious cats have also been known to be aggressive with the people caring for them.

If possible, it’s a good idea to have your cat cared for in an environment they are familiar with and feel safe in.

Consider getting a pet sitter or a friend willing to stop and feed your cat while you’re away.

**PRO TIP** Warm your cat up to the pet sitter in advance. Have them come over a couple times and spend time with your cat.

Otherwise, your cat will not feel comforted in the presence of a complete stranger.

3. Keep their routine normal while you’re gone.

Most cat owners are well aware of the importance of a routine. Cats thrive from schedules!

However, many cats suffer when there are deviations from their routine.

As a general rule, you should never leave your cat completely alone for more than 24 hours.

They want their food at the same time and they may even want to interact with their human at specific times during the day.

If you are planning on going away for more than 24 hours, stronger consider a pet sitter.

A good pet sitter will give your cat their food or medicine, clean the litter box, and stay 15-30 minutes to play with your cat or just make your cat feel more comfortable in their company.

An experienced pet sitter will keep your cat’s routine as normal as possible (with your directions) and ensure they are well taken care of.

**PRO TIP** Consider an automatic feeding device. The one pictured below has customizable portion control features and a programmable timer that will dispense food up to 4 times a day.

It will even record your voice and play it before mealtime. This way your cat feels comforted by your voice calling them to eat.

I personally love this automatic cat feeder! It’s been tremendously helpful during weekend trips or when I’m at work.

4. Remember to clean the litter box.

Some people think that as long as they leave lots of food and water for their cat, he or she will be okay alone.

But the litter box is just as important as food, water, and stimulation.

Cats do not like a dirty litter box, and they’ll let you know by going to the bathroom somewhere other than the litter box, like your bed or a nice pile of clothes.

Before you leave for the day or on a trip, make sure to clean the litter box. Arrange for someone to come by and clean it for you too.  

Think of your cat’s litter box like it’s your own bathroom.

You like things clean and tidy, so why wouldn’t your cat want the same?

**PRO TIP** For busy cat parents, an automatic litter box like the one pictured below is an excellent solution.

5. Cats get lonely.

While dogs tend to suffer separation anxiety more than cats, this study concluded that cats also get lonely when their person is away.

If you notice eating, grooming, or behavior changes in your cat, it could be a sign that they’re lonely.

Sometimes leaving the TV or a radio on during the day helps cats feel less lonely.

It’s also a good idea to leave a light on in the house. It’s good for security reasons and for your cat as well.

Even though cats can see in the dark, having a little ambient light can help alleviate stress.

Some sources suggest that getting your cat another feline companion is a great solution to loneliness.

That depends on your cat and on how committed you are to adding to your cat family.

But don’t get a companion cat just for the sake of it.

You have to be willing to do the work to introduce the new cat to your old cat so that everyone is happy.

Some people even suggest using a plug-in pheromone diffuser, which releases hormones into the environment to help your cat stay calm.

Click here for the Feliway calming pheromone diffuser

6. Do not leave hazardous objects around the house

Plastic bags, string, and small pieces of plastic are all a choking or suffocation hazard.

Make sure any questionable objects are securely put away out of your cat’s reach.

Remember, cats tend to be more mischievous in the absence of company.

Even if your cat has never touched hazardous objects before, this could change when they are home alone.

This also applies to food items. Make sure all human food is inaccessible to your cat.

Even if your cat isn’t the type to eat human food, you never know what they will be tempted to do in your absence.

Make sure all food is securely placed out of our cat’s reach.

Conclusion

Cats tend to be low maintenance, so it can be tempting to assume that they don’t really need us around as long as their basic needs are met.

However, cats need company and stimulation just like people do.

Without it, they can suffer from stress or anxiety.

If you can’t be in the home a lot or you are traveling, don’t assume your cats will be okay as long as they have food and water.

The best solution is a pet sitter. Not only can a sitter provide the basics (food, water, litter box cleaning, and stimulation), but they can also check on your cat’s health and take them to the vet if necessary.

QUESTION: Is there anything special that you do for your cat when you have to be away from home?

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8 Replies to “6 Things You Should Know Before Leaving Your Cat Home Alone”

  1. When we leave home on a trip kitty goes right with us along with her two doggie siblings. They all sleep on the drive and as long as we are there they are all just fine.

    1. We don’t have close neighbors or trusted friends to feed and play with Max, so we have to board him. He has a private condo with windows to the outside world. They also take Max into their office or store to keep him company and to play with him. Max has been there 5 or 6 times. He has never lost weight or exhibited ‘get even’ behavior during or after his stay. The woman who owns the boarding facility also has an amazing doggie daycare, a pet supply store and fosters kittens. I trust her implicitly.

  2. We are going away soon and just wondered if it would be better to Leave my Kitty Home and have my daughter come and check on her every day or take her to my daughters house she has never been there and am a little cautious of this she does know my daughter from coming in and out of the house . Need some help 🙂 Thank You :0

    1. Cats value familiarity. If your cat has never been to your daughter’s home, it would be best to simply have your daughter come over and feed him/her. However, it might be a good idea to acquaint your cat with your daughter’s home so that the environment will be familiar to your cat and you can drop him/her off there next time you are on vacation. Hope that helps!

  3. We go away a couple of weekends each year and maybe for a week once a year. We have no family or close neighbors/friends. We did find a really great boarding place near us. They have a small building where Max has his own private space with windows to the outside world and a catio that they let him onto occasionally. Whenever we go to pick him up, he is in their office roaming around – their ‘office’ kitty. He’s happy to see us. I hate to leave him, but he doesn’t travel well in a vehicle. They take very good care of him and he doesn’t stop eating when being boarded, so I know he’s not too stressed out.

    1. Kathy,

      It sounds like your cat is being well cared for at this boarding facility so do not stress. This sounds ideal since you do not have anyone who can stay with your cat. Fortunately, I found an awesome boarding facility for my two cats that someone else recommended in a prior state I had lived in. I had such peace of mind while I was away on business in 2018!

  4. If possible, I think it best to take your cat with you when you go away. If that is not an option then have a trustworthy family member or friend stay at your house of take your cat to his/her house if this be person has a spare bedroom. If this is not an option then ask your veterinarian to recommend a good boarding facility that be is willing to give you a tour, including the areas the pets stay in.

  5. Cat nip on a regular basis is not good for cats and my cat loves his plastic bag to lay on u take that away and he wont sleep in his bed and he has his own window chair and blanket too

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