How Long Can You Leave Your Cat Alone For? [Answered]

When you step through the front door, eager to reunite with your beloved feline companion, their reaction can be quite puzzling.

Some cats nonchalantly greet you as if your absence went completely unnoticed. "Oh, were you gone? I didn't notice," they seem to say. On the other end of the spectrum, some cats become inseparable, shadowing your every move.

But then there are those cats with a distinct message: they believe you deserve punishment for not being readily available at their beck and call.

They embark on a period of selective snubbing, the duration of which is solely determined by their feline whims.

The question lingers in every cat owner's mind: How long can you actually leave your cat alone? The answer might surprise you, as it varies from cat to cat.

Join us on a journey to uncover the fascinating truth behind our furry friends' independence and their unique expectations when it comes to our presence.

Leaving Your Cat Alone: Guidelines And Options

How long can you leave cats unattended?

Leaving cats unattended for extended periods can pose potential risks and lead to boredom and separation anxiety. Experts recommend avoiding overnight stays without someone checking on your feline friend.

Unforeseen accidents, such as falls or furniture tipping over, can leave your cat trapped or injured. To ensure Kitty's safety and well-being, it's important to take necessary precautions.

Catering to Kitty's Needs for Short Absences

While cats are known for their love of napping, prolonged solitude can lead to boredom and restlessness. To prevent separation anxiety and keep your cat entertained, consider providing engaging activities.

A cat tree allows them to climb and observe the world outside through the window. A captivating video featuring birds, bees, and mice can captivate their attention.

Treats hidden around the house can stimulate their hunting instincts, replacing destructive behaviors like clawing furniture.

Puzzle feeders not only provide mental stimulation but also make mealtime exciting. Additionally, ensure the indoor temperature is set at a comfortable level for your cat.

from article how long can you leave your cat alone Little cat looking outside at autumnal garden, view from top

Tips for Leaving Your Cat Alone with a Cat Sitter

For short trips, entrust the care of your cat to reliable friends or family members who understand their needs. However, it's crucial to ensure that they are responsible and committed individuals, capable of providing proper care.

Consider providing them with their own alarm code for added convenience and security during their visits.

For longer absences, hiring a professional pet sitter is recommended.

A qualified pet sitter will visit your cat daily, ensuring they receive fresh food and water, maintaining clean litter boxes, and tending to other essential tasks like bringing in mail and watering plants.


It's essential to provide detailed instructions regarding feeding, medications, emergency contacts, and any specific hiding spots or preferences your cat may have.

Consider authorizing the pet sitter to act on your behalf in case of emergencies, and provide clear instructions for life-threatening situations.

Read More:
A Pet Owner's Guide To Pet Sitters
Selecting The Best Pet Sitter

Exploring Boarding Options and Traveling with Cats

If boarding becomes necessary, visit the boarding facility in advance to assess the accommodations provided for your furry friend.

Inquire about their food arrangements and medication protocols. Familiarize yourself with the kennel's emergency procedures, ensuring your cat's safety in the event of an evacuation.

For adventurous cats, traveling with them can be an option. Check with hotels for pet-friendly policies and airlines for cabin travel regulations.

It's important to ensure your cat remains comfortable during the journey, with access to a litter box as needed. Keep important documents, such as shot records, handy, and consider microchipping and using a collar for added identification.

While staying in a hotel, remember to hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign to prevent any escapes.

Ultimately, the key to leaving your cat alone is thoughtful planning and understanding their preferences.

By considering their needs and providing suitable arrangements, you can ensure that Kitty remains content, allowing you to enjoy your time away without guilt or worry.

Read more:
Traveling with Cats
How Much Time Does It Take To Care For A Cat?

Remember, Kitty doesn't have to feel neglected, and you don't have to feel guilty about leaving once you think about what Kitty likes best and plan accordingly.

from article how long can you leave your cat alone Ginger cat lying on window sill at home in the morning. Pet enjoying sun sleeping and relaxing

Ensuring Your Cat's Well-being in Your Absence

Leaving your cat alone requires careful consideration and planning to prioritize their safety, happiness, and overall well-being.

By adhering to guidelines and exploring suitable options, you can mitigate potential risks and prevent boredom and separation anxiety.

Remember, cats thrive on companionship and mental stimulation. Whether it's arranging engaging activities, hiring a reliable cat sitter, or exploring boarding facilities, the goal is to ensure your feline friend feels loved and cared for in your absence.

Providing clear instructions, authorizations, and emergency contacts to caretakers is essential for their seamless care.

Additionally, if you plan to travel with your cat, research pet-friendly accommodations and familiarize yourself with airline regulations to make the journey as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

Leaving your cat alone doesn't have to be a source of guilt or worry. By considering their needs, planning accordingly, and seeking suitable alternatives, you can enjoy your time away with peace of mind, knowing that your beloved cat is safe and content.


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25 comments on “How Long Can You Leave Your Cat Alone For? [Answered]

kitty416 June 29, 2018
I leave lights on for my Sona and Kona every time. Does anyone else do that?
fantisticat April 17, 2017
pharber-murphy said:
I have an awful confession to make - when we left Mr. Grimsby and Bertha for a week, we hired a professional cat sitter for the first time. I left them two-pages of instructions! From my behavior, you'd think they'd fallen out of the sky and never seen a cat before. >^^< (P.S. Tarasgirl06 - love the cat crinkles!).
NORMAL! (Only *two* pages?) ; - )
fantisticat April 17, 2017
I'm currently fortunate to have friendly neighbors/friends with cats, and we trade off on cat-lovin' for vacations. I'm moving this summer and think I'll need to check new neighborhoods for signs of cat-kids! Maybe once I move, I should post to the Neighborhood list to find kindred spirits.
crazy4strays March 14, 2016
If I'm going to be gone for overnight or longer, I get a cat sitter to come twice a day to give the cats their canned food and clean the litter boxes. I like to take my older cat on trips with us.
camillel March 14, 2016
We take a vacation every year for 9 days I have 2 pet sitters check on my furry kids They come at different times to check food water and potty. Both stay and play with them There is no schedule for them or the cats so everyone enjoys. When we get home its like "oh you were gone, where are the other people?" I am lucky to have friends and family that love and enjoy cats also
tarasgirl06 October 6, 2015
Wonderful, Sarah Or!  That's what loving families do -- they INCLUDE their beloved feline family members in their lives, not as "pets" but as family!  Good on you!
sarah or October 6, 2015
I travel every other month up to Vermont. I found a hotel that's pet friendly and my cats come with me. They love the car, they love the new environment of a hotel room. The other guests get an absolute kick out of my walking 3 cats on leashes and harness down the halls or through the parking lot. They get an even bigger kick when I show them my cats play fetch. I've adapted our lives to the cats, they are as important as my kids to me. Heck we even take them on our boat come summertime and they love it!! If you start them off as kittens you can get a cat to like anything...even a dingy trip to a boat on the CT River.
tarasgirl06 June 6, 2015
PHarber-Murphy:  Good on ya! Better too much than too little info when it comes to beloved family, yes? >^^< ;)
pharber-murphy June 3, 2015
I have an awful confession to make - when we left Mr. Grimsby and Bertha for a week, we hired a professional cat sitter for the first time. I left them two-pages of instructions! From my behavior, you'd think they'd fallen out of the sky and never seen a cat before. >^^< (P.S. Tarasgirl06 - love the cat crinkles!).
mdaisy April 27, 2015
When we are gone for the day I make sure our cat had access to the outdoors as he came to us as an indoor/outdoor cat. If we plan to go on vacation, I always made arrangements to have a family member come by and check on our cat (s). Our cats have drop feeders and plenty of water but it never hurts to have a human check on our cat (s) for companionship and to make sure everything is OK.
tarasgirl06 March 31, 2015
Good on ya, KatsKats!  You're right.  For those who would never leave a kid or a vulnerable elder alone for days -- and I hope that's everyone here! -- the same policy should apply to your feline family members as well.  They are FAMILY! 
katskats March 31, 2015
I pay a neighbor to cat sit and come twice never know what could happen. Cats can become bored and get into mischeif and some become rebellious when their person leaves. I would never allow my cats to go outdoors without a harness, far too many things could happen; such as contagious feline diseases, predators, cars, fleas, ticks, etc.
tarasgirl06 March 18, 2015
You are lucky, DJADe!  Sounds like you have a great life with your family -- and a very special cat! >^^<
djade March 18, 2015
I guess I'm one of the lucky ones - Harry travels with me.  We make a 12-15 hour car trip last 2 days because I stop every rest area when he is awake so he can walk on his leash.  We have a camper van so hotels are not an issue.  At home Harry is allowed out in our fenced yard, occasionally he jumps over after a bird, but is learning that this behavior will have him put back inside unable to visit nature for awhile (a time-out I guess you can call it.)  He had severe separation anxiety as a kitten (left him with hubby while I traveled for 1 week) now anytime I pack a suitcase he won't take his eyes off of me, and on my last bathroom run he follows me in, jumps on the counter and then does his best to climb from there into my arms!  He makes sure I can't sneak away again!!
tarasgirl06 March 17, 2015
Good on ya, Kalocats! ;)
katocats March 17, 2015
I let my sister cat -sit when we are away as she loves our cats as much as us.
cats--always February 11, 2015
Excellent information.
our3girls January 16, 2015
Guess I wont have to worry about being gone for 3 months and having to wonder if they`ll remember me.I thought that I was going to take a winter vacation this year but its looking more unlikely to happen.
deejay0 January 16, 2015
Nothing wrong in letting cats out if its not downright dangerous to do.  In fact some cat charities argue that is cruel not to.  However,  I have a cat fence on my garden which keeps my cats contained in the garden and other cats out. My cat has health problems that it wouldn't be safe to let her out, in any case, but, these are a fairly inexpensive way of having the best of both worlds.  No electricity I may add! The netting on the fence is errected in such a way that the cat would need to hang upside down to try and get over it (which a normal cat won't do) and to get over it into the garde, cats won't walk on things that are not firm underfoot.
our3girls November 25, 2014
Im glad I found this article because I was wondering if I leave them for about 3 months will they still remember who we are when we get back?Yes I would have a pet sitter while Im gone
tarasgirl06 October 8, 2014
I have a no-travel policy.  If people want to see me that badly, they come to me.  Otherwise, there's the phone, the net, and snailmail.  
droogcat October 8, 2014
Maybe it's my bengals, but after a trial 3 day trip away, (with friend dropping by twice/day to feed, etc.), they were almost feral when I returned. Skittish and afraid even of me, I've never seen them like that. So, it's find a stay-over cat sitter or reschedule my trip when she can come(!). They are my furry babies, so it's not too much to ask. :)
tarasgirl06 September 18, 2014
Responsible and caring cat servants do NOT let their cats outside except on cat-appropriate harness and leash, for the cats' safety and the servants' peace of mind.  It is not difficult to create an indoor environment which is complete and stimulating for cats.  If you wouldn't let a two-year-old kid play in the street unsupervised, don't let your cats out, for the same reasons and then some.
helsic September 3, 2014
Thank you for the article and the great advices. Some cats are more independent, specially if they're outdoor cats because if they feel hungry they just hunt by themselves.

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