It simply isn't possible to bring our feline friends with us every time we go away, no matter how much we love them. So, how long can you leave your cat alone? What can you do to make your kitty's time without you safe and relaxing? Today, we delve into the topic of leaving your cat while you go on vacation.
Leaving Your Feline Friend
You are planning a trip and can't take your cat. Is it ok to leave your cat home alone? Should you board them at a cat kennel? What on earth are you going to do with kitty?
While cats may have a reputation as being solitary creatures, our furry friends need consistent care and companionship to thrive. Although many cats will be fine if left alone for one night, kittens under four months old and certain adult cat breeds require companionship.
You and your vet know your cat's personality better than anyone, do you believe that your cat will be able to cope well with your absence? What does your vet say?
Age of Cat Being Left Home Alone
Many cats will be fine if left alone for one night and some may not even notice your absence if left with adequate food, fresh water, and toys. That said, senior cats, cats in poor health and kittens under four months do best with human company. This is also true for certain breeds of healthy adult cats such as Siamese, sphynx, Scottish fold, and rag doll.
Kittens typically need to be fed 3 or 4 times a day until they are about 6 months old. Young cats also tend to get into mischief when left unsupervised. Many vets recommend that kittens under 4 months of age not be left on their own for more than 4 hours at a time. It may be best to consider cat boarding or leaving your kitten with a friend.
Senior cats and those with health concerns also require special consideration when it comes to time alone. Does your senior cat require medication? Do they feel most secure when with you? If so, it may be best to have your feline family member stay with a friend or at a cat boarding facility. It's always best to ask your vet for advice.
Many healthy adult cats can cope with being left alone for 24-48 hours. Of course, this will depend on your cat's personality, your living conditions, and whether they are used to spending time alone. Not sure if your cat will cope well alone? It is always best to err on the side of caution, and make plans for your kitty to have some company (and supervision) while you're away.
Helping to Make Time Alone Safer & More Comfortable for Your Cat
If your cat is going to be left on their own for a day or two, be sure that your home's temperature isn't too hot or too cold. Also, ensure that there is plenty of dry food left out for your cat to eat, and clean drinking water that can't be spilled accidentally!
It's also essential to make sure that your cat's litter box is completely clean before you leave.
At Home With a Cat Sitter
One good option for when you have to leave your cat at home is to have a cat sitter come in every day to clean the litter box, make sure your furry friend has food and water, and provide them with some quality one-on-one playtime and cuddles.
This option can be less stressful for your cat since they will remain in their home environment with their own litter box. This can also be a cost-effective choice, especially if you have more than one kitty.
You can either have a friend or family member that your cat knows come in and take care of them or hire a professional cat sitter. There are potential benefits and drawbacks to both of these options.
Having someone your cat is already familiar and comfortable with may help reduce their stress levels and make them feel more relaxed. On the other hand, a professional sitter likely knows everything about the proper care of our feline friends and can make sure every necessary is being provided for.
Be sure that the person caring for your kitty is well-versed in your cat's habits, behaviors, and needs, as each cat is unique. Let the sitter know what time of day your cat eats, how much food they need, your kitty's energy level, if medications must be given at specific times and so on. We recommend providing your sitter with a cat care guide that outlines all of this important information so they know exactly how to meet all of your pet's needs.
Leaving Your Cat at a Friend's or Relative's Place
If your cat is comfortable going to another place you might want to consider leaving them at a friend's or relative's home.
The advantage of this option is that your pet will be constantly monitored and likely be given lots of love and attention. However, if there is another cat in the home with whom your kitty does not get along, or if your feline friend does not like the person they are staying with, this can backfire and increase your pet's anxiety more than being left home alone.
If you would like to leave your cat at someone's house we recommend dropping them off for a few short trial runs before you leave. This can help to ensure that your kitty knows the other home and feels comfortable. If the trial runs don't work out you will still have time to find another option for your furry companion before your vacation.
Also, make sure the person you are leaving your cat with can meet all of your kitty's needs and is willing and eager to perform the task, if not, it's time to come up with a plan B.
Boarding for Cats While on Vacation (Cat Friendly Kennels)
Boarding and kennels aren't just for dogs, lots of boarding facilities also welcome cats. This can be a terrific solution if you plan to leave your cat while on vacation.
Boarding facilities should be run by professionals who will make sure your cat is always, fed, watered, supervised, and get's quality one-on-one time. It's important to note that cat boarding facilities can book up fast, so you will need to call them well in advance to book your cat's stay.
Some cats will experience separation anxiety and may become anxious when left with strangers in an unknown environment. However, there are steps you can take to lessen their fears such as bringing along their favorite toys, blankets, bed, or even a piece of your clothing.
If possible take your time in choosing a boarding facility for your cat. Ensure that the facility you chose is able to provide all of the services your kitty needs.
Is the facility clean, well-run, and quiet? Check to see if the facility you're considering is cat-friendly, with a separate boarding area for cats and dogs, and that your kitty's kennel is large enough to keep the litter box separate from their food and bed. You should also check to see if it has features like a window for your cat to look out, climate-controlled kennels, and quality one-on-one time with the staff.
Consider booking a couple of short stays - before your extended time away - to introduce your kitty to the facility and help them grow more comfortable with the staff and staying at the facility.
At Red Hills Veterinary Hospital our boarding facility is a safe and welcoming place for cats. Our staff loves caring for the pets who stay with us and will ensure all of your cat's needs are being met. We are happy to answer any questions you may have, simply give us a call to learn more about cat boarding with us.
The Benefits of Leaving Your Cat at Kennel
Here are some potential benefits of leaving your cat at a high-quality, professional boarding facility while you are on vacation:
- Your cat will be well supervised
- Their feeding schedule will be the same as it is at home
- Your kitty's kennel will be cleaned daily
- The staff will notice if your cat is not eating or if they appear to be unwell
- Any medications your cat requires will be administered properly and on time
- You can call the staff to see how your feline family member is doing
At the end of the day, it is your choice where you will leave your cat while on vacation; take the time to weigh your options and ensure you are selecting the best option for you and your feline companion.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.