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How long can I leave my cat on its own?

Grey cat alone in the house advice

How long can a cat be left alone in the house?

© Shutterstock

Cats have a reputation for being solitary creatures. In fact, some people say these furry guys are natural loners. But after thousands of years of domestication, today's house cats rely on humans like never before.

By Ashley Murphy

A cat left alone for too long may become nervous, anxious, and maybe even depressed. Alternatively, they may start acting out, which can lead to destructive behaviour around the house or other compulsive behaviours, like excessive scratching.

In other words, even independent pets like cats need plenty of regular contact with their owners. So here's what you need to know about leaving cats on their own.

How long can a kitten and a cat stay home alone?

Leaving your cat alone for a short period of time is fine. This is one of the reasons why they make such great pets for people with 9-5 jobs. Kittens require a lot more attention, and shouldn't be left alone for more than four hours at a time. Firstly, they need regular feeding, but kittens are also curious creatures who love to explore. It's how they learn about the world, but it's also how they get into mischief or even accidents.

Grey cat sat in his bed
Someone is ready for its nap! ©Shutterstock

Can I leave my cat alone in the house for 48 hours?

There are so many amazing things about owning a pet. They're a constant source of love and affection, and they always keep us entertained with their hilarious antics. But there are a few downsides, such as trying to organise a holiday or even just a weekend break. Thankfully, most cats can be let alone for 48 hours, giving you the chance to enjoy a minibreak without the stress (or expense) of trying to find a suitable cats homes for your beloved pet.

If you're going away for a longer period, look at getting a cat sitter. They can fill up the water bowl with fresh water, leave out enough dry food for a few more days, and give your cat some much-needed strokes and chin tickles. You can even buy food dispensers that dish out treats according to a pre-set timer. That way your kitty won't gobble up all its dinners in one go! If you can't find a sitter, check out Tailster, an online platform that connects you to trusted and thoroughly vetted cat sitters in your local area.

Is it OK to leave a cat for the weekend with food and water?

As long as they have access to food and water, healthy adult cats are more than capable of looking after themselves for a few days. But it's never a good idea to leave an elderly or sick cat alone for an extended period; the same goes for kitties with special dietary requirements or anxiety issues. Leaving these poor felines alone for a few days will bring any underlying issues to the surface, including separation anxiety. Not only will this be extremely stressful for your cat, but it may also undo any progress you've made through training and socialisation.

Does my cat get lonely if I leave him alone at night?

The more your cat sleeps during the day, the more active they'll become at night. Many adult cats and former strays are happy to go wandering at night. Keeping these active cats in the house at night won't necessarily lead to feelings of loneliness, but they will quickly grow bored and frustrated. They may start acting up in the house, which is likely to disturb your sleep.

Ginger cat asleep
Sleepy kitty ©Shutterstock

Is it true that a cat needs another cat to keep company?

Cats are not pack animals, but they still need to spend time around other felines. Outdoor cats will meet new friends (and maybe a few rivals) on their adventures, but housecats may need an extra furry friend around the house. If getting another cat isn't practical, try arranging playdates with other kitty owners or finding a local cat cafe. And yeah, these places really do exist!

So remember, as long as you're only away for a couple of days, your cat will be perfectly fine providing it has everything it needs, including food and water, a clean litter tray, and a safe cat flap for when it's time to go on an adventure. But never leave them alone for longer than 48hrs, They might not show it all the time, but pet cats need (and love) their humans. Plus, do you really want to be away from ou best friend for that long? We didn't think so!