Leaving your cat alone at home – 10 valuable tips

cat alone at home

Leaving your cat alone at home can be a stressful experience, both for you as a responsible owner and your beloved pet. However, with proper planning and preparation, you can ensure your cat stays safe, comfortable, and entertained during your absence. In this blog post, we’ll share valuable tips to help you navigate this situation and make leaving your cat alone at home a positive experience for everyone involved.

How long can you leave your cat alone?

How long you can leave your cat alone will depend on your cat’s personality and age. You can’t leave a kitten for more than a few hours, but you can leave alone healthy adult cats for up to 3 days. Beyond that period, you should ask someone to keep an eye on them or book them into a cattery.

Whether you leave your cat alone for a few hours while at work or go on a weekend break, the measures you can take to keep them safe ultimately depend on where you live and whether your cat lives indoors, outdoors, or a mix of both.

For example, we live in a big property in a semi-rural area (as you can hint from our cat picture). Our cats are used to coming and going from the house as they please. Then, nowadays, both of us work from home. So, we only need to worry when we go away for a weekend. Since they have plenty of outdoor stimulation, we only need to worry about leaving enough food and water on our enclosed porch (in which we had a cat flap installed).  

Of course, this may not be your situation, so below we list a few tips we learned from living in different places and also fostering cats that we had to keep in the house.

1. Provide ample food and water

Before leaving your cat alone, ensure they can access fresh food and water. Consider investing in an automatic feeder to dispense food at designated times. This will prevent overfeeding and help establish a routine for your cat, providing them a sense of security.

2. Create a safe environment

Cats are naturally curious and agile creatures, so it’s essential to cat-proof your home before leaving them alone. Remove any potential hazards, such as toxic plants, dangling cords, or small objects that could be swallowed. Ensure windows and doors are securely closed, and provide a comfortable, designated resting area for your cat, away from noise and disturbances.

3. Engage your cat mentally

Leave toys and interactive puzzles for your cat to play with to prevent boredom and anxiety. Puzzle feeders or treat-dispensing toys can keep them mentally stimulated and engaged during your absence. Additionally, consider leaving a piece of clothing with your scent on it, as it can comfort and reassure your cat.

4. Provide a window view or nature sounds

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and being able to observe the outside world can be both stimulating and entertaining for them. If possible, arrange a space near a window where your cat can perch and look outside. Set up a comfortable bed or cushioned area where they can relax while enjoying the view. You can also play nature sounds or bird songs in the background to create an immersive experience for your cat. Combining visual and auditory stimulation can help keep them engaged and entertained during your absence.

5. Create a cosy hiding spot

Cats often seek out cosy hiding spots when they need to retreat or find comfort. Before leaving, ensure your cat has a designated hiding spot where they feel safe and secure. It could be a covered cat bed, a cosy blanket tucked away in a quiet corner, or a cardboard box with a soft cushion inside. Providing a haven for your cat allows them to relax and retreat when they need to destress or have some quiet time.

6. Provide scratching alternatives

Cats have an instinct to scratch, which helps them keep their claws healthy. Provide scratching posts, boards, and other options to protect your furniture and belongings. Sprinkle some catnip on the scratcher to make it more enticing and divert their attention away from your valuables.

7. Use pheromone diffusers or sprays

Consider utilizing calming pheromone diffusers or sprays in your home to create a soothing environment for your cat. These products release synthetic pheromones that mimic the natural ones cats produce when they feel safe and secure. The scent can help reduce stress and anxiety in your cat while you’re away. Place the diffusers strategically around your home, focusing on areas where your cat spends the most time. Alternatively, you can use sprays on their bedding or in their favourite resting spots. The calming effect of the pheromones can help your cat feel more relaxed and content during your absence.

8. Arrange for company or check-ins

Ask a trusted friend, family member, or neighbour to check in on your cat periodically. Regular visits can provide social interaction, ensure your cat’s well-being, and give you peace of mind. If you don’t have someone available, consider hiring a professional pet sitter who can spend quality time with your cat in your absence.

9. Consider a pet camera or monitor

Thanks to modern technology, you can now monitor your cat remotely through pet cameras or monitors. These devices allow you to monitor your cat’s activities, talk to them, and even dispense treats remotely. While they’re not a substitute for human interaction, they can provide a sense of connection and help you address any potential concerns promptly.

10. Consider a companion

If you have a single cat, you might consider introducing a feline companion to keep them company. However, this decision requires careful consideration, as not all cats will get along. If you bring in a new cat, gradually introduce them before leaving your cat alone with their new companion. Provide separate resources like food bowls, litter boxes, and resting areas to ensure each cat has space. Remember to monitor their interactions and seek professional advice if needed.

In summary, leaving your cat alone at home doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By following these tips and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure your furry friend remains safe, comfortable, and entertained during your absence. Remember, cats are adaptable creatures, and with a little planning and care, you can make their alone time a positive and worry-free experience for both of you.

Pablo Matamoros

I love animals and technology. I've developed software and led technology teams for 25 years, and I've owned pets since I was a toddler. This blog allowed me to combine both passions and, in the process, help my partner promote her art and pet-sitting business. For more about me, visit: https://pablomatamoros.com/

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