How long can you leave a cat alone? Here’s when to find a babysitter

Cats are independent creatures, but how long can you leave a cat alone?

Cat owners know that their feline friends love spending time alone. Even if you have one of the most affectionate and cuddly cats out there, he still loves having “me time.” Leaving a cat home alone for a short time is fine, and many are used to being alone during the workday. Pet owners find that as long as an adult cat has a clean water bowl, some cat toysand access to their litter, most will be fine during the day. But what should you do when you plan to be away for long periods of time? Even the lowest maintenance cat needs some human interaction so they don’t feel lonely or have separation anxiety. Here’s how long you can leave a cat alone before you need a pet sitter.

How long can you leave a cat alone?

Although cats like to spend time alone, they should not be left alone for too long. Your four-legged family member will be fine home alone for 8-12 hours while you work or run errands. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t be bored. Having cat-safe toys around the house will encourage playtime and keep your cat busy. You can also take some enrichment toys and activities to discourage cat boredom and bad behavior.

As long as an adult cat has a clean litter box, food, and fresh water, they can stay home alone for about 24 hours, but that’s the maximum time they should be left without human interaction. . If you go longer, a pet sitter should come and check on your cat to make sure they have enough cat food and water. Your cat’s litter box should also be cleaned every other day. Having a cat sitter ensures your cat’s overall well-being and gives you peace of mind when you’re away for long periods of time.

Kittens should not be left home alone if they are less than six months old. Kittens can have a lot of trouble, even when you’re actively watching them. They also eat more often than adult cats, so they’ll need a little extra supervision if you go out of town. If they can’t be watched all day, create a kitten-safe area in your home with their toys, litter box, water, and food.

Likewise, older cats may struggle if you leave them home alone. As cats age, they become more sensitive to changes in their routines. Not seeing anyone during the day or being watched by someone they don’t know can be too stressful for an older cat. If you’re using a cat sitter, arrange a meet and greet so your cat can get acquainted with their new human friend.

If you have an indoor or outdoor cat, you should bring it indoors no matter how long you are away, as this is a change of routine. Whenever we go out of town, we make sure to keep our cat indoors. She knows the routine at this point, so if she’s not out early in the morning, she usually knows we’re leaving.

How often should a pet sitter visit a cat?

cat plays with a toy

RELATED: The Best Cat Toys for Bored Cats: This Definitive List Keeps Felines Frisky

Before you leave town for more than a day, be sure to hire a sitter for your cat. It may be best to have a family member or close friend watch your cat if they are fussy. Most of the time, cats know the family members and friends who visit them, even if they don’t interact with them directly. Our cat isn’t super friendly with our friends and family members, but when they’re his only option, it’s amazing how quickly he gets used to them. It helps that they also give him food and water! If you choose a cat sitter from a service like Vagabond, Arrange a meeting with your potential sitter to make sure they will get along well. Whoever watches your cat should visit her at least once or twice a day.

If you have a local cattery, you can house your cat there for the night. Most catteries will allow you to pack some of your cat’s favorite toys so that Felix is ​​comfortable during his stay.

How to socialize your kitten

two cats play together

Cats react more positively to new people if they have been socialized as kittens. Food is the best training tool for cats. According to ASPCA, kittens 8 weeks and under are fairly easy to socialize. However, as cats get older, they become a little less confident. Shelter workers spend a lot of time conditioning kittens to interact with people. If your kitten doesn’t come from a shelter, or if your cat struggles with new people, you can also use these tricks.

Start with soft foods. The ASPCA recommends baby foods with chicken or turkey flavors, but if you have an older cat, you can always use small pieces of chicken and tuna. Use food to get your cat to interact with you or someone new. The tasty treat acts as a reward and kittens love to eat – so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to keep trying.

Ask new visitors to feed your kitten to attract them. They should be able to pet them as they eat and eventually pick them up. This practice will help you socialize your cat or kitten with a new sitter before you leave town.

How to keep a cat from getting bored

black cat lays on the floor with a toy

Keeping your cat entertained while you’re away during the day is an important part of keeping him happy. Toys and treats are always popular for entertaining cats. Scratching posts are also a good investment, especially because cats will get bored on your furniture. Still, entertaining your cat isn’t the only thing you need to do when you’re away. Cats need to be well fed and watered, which can be more difficult when you’re away from home. Here are some products to help you:

water fountain

smart cat water fountain


The automatic stainless steel fountain is perfect for everyday use or for setting up before vacation. The pump keeps the water cool, which is perfect for fussy kittens who only like to drink cool water. (Kudos to cats who only drink from the sink!)

Combo Food and Water Automatic Feeder

cat feeder and drinker


A great way to ensure your cat has enough clean water and food is to use a vending machine for water and food. Cats usually graze and don’t try to swallow their food all at once, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your cat overeating and running out of food.

Cat tree

tiered cat tree


This tiered cat tree and scratching post will keep your cat occupied throughout the day, no matter how long you leave your cat alone. While you’re away, they’re sure to stay busy and not get destructive. There are even balls for playing on top and a built-in hammock for lounging.

How long have you left your cats alone? Let us know on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page.

READ MORE: Finding good pet sitters starts with asking the right questions

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