Most cat owners feel somewhat guilty about leaving their cat home alone, but they don’t really see it as a no-no. After all, aren’t cats famous for their independence? However, cats do get lonely, and when companionship is lacking, they can quickly become depressed. So, if you come home after several days, don’t get mad at your cat if he pees on your bed; it’s his way of saying he’s been missing you.
Cats can also suffer from separation anxiety. Unlike dogs, cats with separation anxiety won’t trash your entire home or annoy the neighbors with nonstop howling or barking. However, your kitty may begin to act more clingy, meow excessively, and stop using the litter box.
Leaving Your Cat Home Alone
When you have to leave your cat home alone, plan ahead, and think about water, food, safety, and entertainment. Here are some steps to take:
- If you’re leaving for more than a day (especially in the summer), put out extra bowls of water or consider getting a water fountain.
- You can maintain a regular feeding schedule by using a pet food dispenser. However, keep in mind that such devices can malfunction and enterprising cats have been known to destroy them.
- In the hotter months leave your air conditioner running to keep your cat comfortable.
- Scoop your litter box and put out an extra one. Cats will not use a litter box that has become too dirty – you don’t want to come home and find that your cat has used your bathtub as a toilet!
- Make sure that poisonous plants, harmful chemicals, sharp objects, and plastic bags are out of reach of your cat. Take out the trash before you leave, unplug your paper shredder, close the toilet lid, and do something about dangling cables.
- Make sure your cat has enough things to keep him from getting bored – scratching posts, tall posts next to windows, toys, and music for cats. You can even maintain contact with your cat with a pet camera.
- Two cats are better than one. They can keep each other company and do whatever cats do when humans aren’t around.
Leaving Your Cat Home Alone for Long Periods
If you leave your cat alone for more than three days, you must find someone to check in on him. If no one is available, consider a boarding facility. However, cats bond to their home territory and a strange environment with unfamiliar faces and animals will place stress upon your cat.
Leaving a Kitten Home Alone
Don’t leave a kitten home alone with free range of your house. Who knows what the kitten will get into. You could get a large crate or set up a spacious playpen. Alternatively, confine the kitten to one room that you have checked thoroughly for safety hazards.
Every cat is a unique individual, and some will handle time alone better than others. If you are going away for several days, or you have a cat with medical problems, you should engage a cat sitter. Leave your vet’s number with your sitter, and if you live in the Columbia SC area, leave CVETs number. We stand ready to treat any cat emergency in our state-of-the-art emergency treatment facility.