How Long Can Cats Be Left Home Alone?

Planning a weekend getaway? Many  people mistakenly believe that they can leave their cat home alone for a couple of days or longer. Here are some things that you should know before making the potentially disastrous choice.

One survey suggested that over half of cat owners in the United States chose a cat as their pet because of the belief that they are more easily maintained including the false notion that they can be left home alone for long periods of time. There is a common notion that one can leave a large bowl of food and water out and Whiskers will be able to virtually take care of himself for days.

While it is true that cats are fairly more independent than dogs and other pets, there are still potential dangers to leaving your cat unattended for long periods. For starters, in the event of an emergency such as an accident or sickness, you will not be around to give your pet the medical help it needs. For example, urinary blockages which are not uncommon in felines, can result in a painful death in less than three days. While you may do your best to protect against any accidents you can not be sure that your pet won’t ingest something harmful or other unforeseen events. We all know cats are curious, and no pet owner wants to return home to find their beloved pet hurt or worse, even dead.

A second concern is keeping your cat’s litter box clean. Just because you don’t have to let them outside and back in each time they need to use the bathroom, as with dogs, doesn’t mean that they are self sufficient in this area. If the box gets to full for your cat’s liking, he may choose to relieve himself in other areas of the house. That may mean on carpeted floors, your furniture, clothing, and even your bed! Not a very welcomed surprise to come home to.

Thirdly, some cat owners have reported that after leaving their cat alone for an extended period of time, they have come home to find that Fluffy had some negative feelings about the situation and chose to express them by wreaking havoc on the house. Pooping on the bed, clawing up furniture, and knocking over items have all been reported by pet owners.

How to Care for Your Cat If You’ll Be Away from Home for Longer Than a Day

Try to arrange for someone to visit your cat at least once a day, and preferably twice. They will need to feed him, tend to the litter box, and spend a little time with him to insure he’s healthy and comfortable. You may have a trusted friend or family member who is willing to help out or you can hire a professional pet sitter.

Another option is to board your cat. However, this is usually not a good experience for pets. They become stressed when removed from their environment often leading to GI upset, especially if your kitty is fed an unfamiliar diet or treats while boarded. Additionally, most boarding kennels require your cat to have vaccinations that you wouldn’t ordinarily choose. 

If boarding is your only option, try to find a cats-only facility. Your cat will do best in a calm, quiet environment with only cats near by as many all-pet boarding facilities are very noisy with barking dogs, shrieking birds, and other vocal animals. 

Some more prestigious cat boarding facilities may boast of deluxe accommodations suited especially for felines. Guests stay in individual “suites” or “condos” outfitted with furniture and materials cats are known to prefer.

Whether you decide to keep it simple or go all out, be sure to keep safety and security as the top priority so that when you return, you and your cat can be reunited in good health. 

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