Leaving a cat at home for a long weekend, once a month

redberries

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Please could I ask your opinions. Is it ok to leave a one/two year old british shorthair cat home alone for 3 nights/days. The idea would be for me to leave Friday lunchtime with an automatic feeder for meals that day and clean litter box. Then someone come in Sat and Sun morning and evenings for company/litterbox cleaning, and I'd be back Monday lunchtime. I would leave an automatic feeder with dry food for them and a water fountain. This would happen for one long weekend every month.

Would the cat find this too stressful do you think? I've read that british shorthairs are generally calm and stable and tolerant being alone more than other breeds. I'm weighing up a decision about whether to get this cat or not and need to factor this in to my decision as I travel once a month.

Thank you
 

Maria Bayote

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To me it is just fine, as long as you leave them toys etc to entertain themselves, since you also mentioned somebody will be coming daily to clean the litterboxes and to keep them company in the morning and night. Cats generally sleep in the day anyway.

But what about their wet food? I hope the person coming would also be doing the feeding as well. Or are the cats on dry food diet only?
 
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redberries

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Well I don't have this cat yet but I'm hoping to feed it a dry food diet only, on the recommendation of my good friend who is a vet
 

Norachan

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I'm hoping to feed it a dry food diet only, on the recommendation of my good friend who is a vet
It would be a good idea to do a bit of research into feline nutrition before deciding on a dry food only diet. Dry food isn't vey good for cats. It tends to be high in carbs, which can lead to weight problems, and low in moisture, which causes bladder infections and blockages.

Most vets don't study feline nutrition and recommend dry food, often the expensive brands such as Hills, because they are endorsed by these companies.

Take a look at some of the threads in our Cat Nutrition forum for more information.

:)
 

Furballsmom

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Hi!
I think your cat will be fine. There is Cat Music, which is surprisingly effective in calming/relaxing cats, from various sources (spotify, youtube, and also there's Relax My Cat and MusicForCats) which could be set up on a timer to come on intermittently, but as mentioned, s/he will likely be sleeping most of the time.

Also as mentioned, many cats do better healthwise with wet food as the main component of their diet. As one example my big furry boy gets one to two 3 oz cans during the day, and he might get some additional pouch food overnight, and he also has kibble/dry food available. I like to rotate brands and varieties/flavors of foods for him.

If this were me, I'd have a feeder (either auto or just a kibble gravity feeder - this depends a little bit on how self-regulating your cat is about eating kibble. Some restrain themselves like my boy, but some are little piggies :) ) with kibble for the cat over the weekend, and I'd ask the person who is coming in to feed some canned food each time they are there, ie; twice a day.

A note about wet food - in my household I leave canned food out for up to 12 hours. If you aren't comfortable doing that, you'd want to consider feeding your cat canned food meals on somewhat of the same schedule that the person coming in for those long weekends will be feeding the cat. Talk to the people who have the cat now and see what they're doing, so that if you decide to take this approach you can gradually work the cat into being comfortable with your feeding schedule if it's different from what s/he's experiencing now.

By maintaining a canned food feeding schedule similar to what those long weekends would be, you better ensure that the cat will eat while the catsitter is there and therefore the canned food wouldn't need to be left out (keeping in mind that this depends on whether your cat is a grazer - meaning whether s/he eats smaller amounts over time, or consumes most of her/his meal at one go).

As you go through this decision making process, --not to overwhelm you but I wanted to mention that are also articles written by various experts on this site which can be helpful, such as the ones in this section;

Cat Food & Feeding – TheCatSite Articles
 
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redberries

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Hi!
I think your cat will be fine. There is Cat Music, which is surprisingly effective in calming/relaxing cats, from various sources (spotify, youtube, and also there's Relax My Cat and MusicForCats) which could be set up on a timer to come on intermittently, but as mentioned, s/he will likely be sleeping most of the time.

Also as mentioned, many cats do better healthwise with wet food as the main component of their diet. As one example my big furry boy gets one to two 3 oz cans during the day, and he might get some additional pouch food overnight, and he also has kibble/dry food available. I like to rotate brands and varieties/flavors of foods for him.

If this were me, I'd have a feeder (either auto or just a kibble gravity feeder - this depends a little bit on how self-regulating your cat is about eating kibble. Some restrain themselves like my boy, but some are little piggies :) ) with kibble for the cat over the weekend, and I'd ask the person who is coming in to feed some canned food each time they are there, ie; twice a day.

A note about wet food - in my household I leave canned food out for up to 12 hours. If you aren't comfortable doing that, you'd want to consider feeding your cat canned food meals on somewhat of the same schedule that the person coming in for those long weekends will be feeding the cat. Talk to the people who have the cat now and see what they're doing, so that if you decide to take this approach you can gradually work the cat into being comfortable with your feeding schedule if it's different from what s/he's experiencing now.

By maintaining a canned food feeding schedule similar to what those long weekends would be, you better ensure that the cat will eat while the catsitter is there and therefore the canned food wouldn't need to be left out (keeping in mind that this depends on whether your cat is a grazer - meaning whether s/he eats smaller amounts over time, or consumes most of her/his meal at one go).

As you go through this decision making process, --not to overwhelm you but I wanted to mention that are also articles written by various experts on this site which can be helpful, such as the ones in this section;

Cat Food & Feeding – TheCatSite Articles
thank you so much
 

di and bob

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I have raised many cats on dry food only and with all the grain-free and nutritious kinds out there it can be done. I feed my cats both and leave extra bowls of dry out when we leave for weekends. That is why I continue to feed some dry. I even put two different kinds out for a treat. You have someone coming over at times, we don't even have that. I also set up extra litterboxes and extra water. I have come home from town a couple of times and have found one threw up in their water, so I always have an alternate source now when we leave. They have always been fine overnight and even for two nights.
 
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redberries

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I have raised many cats on dry food only and with all the grain-free and nutritious kinds out there it can be done. I feed my cats both and leave extra bowls of dry out when we leave for weekends. That is why I continue to feed some dry. I even put two different kinds out for a treat. You have someone coming over at times, we don't even have that. I also set up extra litterboxes and extra water. I have come home from town a couple of times and have found one threw up in their water, so I always have an alternate source now when we leave. They have always been fine overnight and even for two nights.
thanks so much, I would be away for 3 nights and you think emotionally the cat would be ok?
 

di and bob

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The cat will be fine. I have left some of mine for a week before, when I was young and stupid. Cats are solitary creatures anyway, if you are gone they sleep a lot. Having g someonene check once in a while is best.
 
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redberries

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The cat will be fine. I have left some of mine for a week before, when I was young and stupid. Cats are solitary creatures anyway, if you are gone they sleep a lot. Having g someonene check once in a while is best.
thank you so much
 

gilmargl

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Please could I ask your opinions. Is it ok to leave a one/two year old british shorthair cat home alone for 3 nights/days. The idea would be for me to leave Friday lunchtime with an automatic feeder for meals that day and clean litter box. Then someone come in Sat and Sun morning and evenings for company/litterbox cleaning, and I'd be back Monday lunchtime. I would leave an automatic feeder with dry food for them and a water fountain. This would happen for one long weekend every month.

Would the cat find this too stressful do you think? I've read that british shorthairs are generally calm and stable and tolerant being alone more than other breeds. I'm weighing up a decision about whether to get this cat or not and need to factor this in to my decision as I travel once a month.

Thank you
So long as someone visits once or twice on the Saturdays and Sundays when you're away, I am sure the cat will be alright. At one time I had to leave my indoor/outdoor cats every weekend but my daughter and family were living in the same house so feeding and company was not the problem. The cats would leave half-eaten mice for me to clean away when I returned. Although your cat will be kept indoors, you must expect to find cat hair everywhere when you return, unless you pay the cat-sitter to clean up after the cat.

Many years ago. I regularly checked on two cats belonging to Americans, who wanted to visit European cities at weekends while working here in Germany. I used to visit the cats once a day - give them wet food (dry food was always available), water and scoop the litter box. I don't think that the cats were particularly happy being left and wouldn't eat on the first day on their own. But, they survived!

Your cat will probably be fine but be careful which toys you leave for her to play with. Cat toys are easily broken and can be dangerous. Toys manufactured for babies are safer.
And, so long as you don't expect to come back to a spotlessly clean home after 3 days absence, you'll be fine, too!
 

otto

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Please could I ask your opinions. Is it ok to leave a one/two year old british shorthair cat home alone for 3 nights/days. The idea would be for me to leave Friday lunchtime with an automatic feeder for meals that day and clean litter box. Then someone come in Sat and Sun morning and evenings for company/litterbox cleaning, and I'd be back Monday lunchtime. I would leave an automatic feeder with dry food for them and a water fountain. This would happen for one long weekend every month.

Would the cat find this too stressful do you think? I've read that british shorthairs are generally calm and stable and tolerant being alone more than other breeds. I'm weighing up a decision about whether to get this cat or not and need to factor this in to my decision as I travel once a month.

Thank you
I would not leave a male cat with only kibble for 3 days. Males are at very high risk of blockage when fed a kibble only diet. In addition BSH are a very people oriented social breed and would find it very stressful to be left alone so long. My advice would be to engage a sitter to come in three times a day, for all three days, or at the very least twice a day, to feed him his wet diet, clean his litter boxes, and to stay and keep him company. Canned can be left in auto timed feeders for the third or fourth meal each day.

At 1-2 years old he will still be more kitten than adult. A kitten certainly could not be left for 3 days with only two visits to check on him. Kittens get into much mischief if left to their own devices, and if he were to block from lack of moisture in his diet, that could be fatal in 24 hours, and it's a terrible painful affliction.

Cats need a diet high in moisture and high in protein sourced from meat, with little to no carbohydrates. All kibble diets are high in carbs, usually at least 30%. When you consider a cat needs very little if any \carbs, this is extremely bad for them.

Please visit Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition – Common Sense. Healthy Cats. for information about the importance of a high moisture diet for cats. The site is written by a vet who specializes in feline nutrition. Dr Pierson is very wordy, so take it in small doses.
 

She's a witch

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I leave my cats very often for two, three days or more. Luckily I have two so they keep each other company and are not bored. I have a sitter coming twice a day for around an hour to take care of their needs and play with them. I highly recommend setting WiFi camera so you can monitor the cat and alert a sitter if something is wrong. I have them in each room. It's also emotionally reassuring to check on them just to see they are ok.
I'd also encourage you to read about the impact on dry food only on male cats, it's like asking for urinary problems. Cats don't naturally drink, they should take all the water they need from food. They should eat high protein, low carbs, moisture rich diet. My cats only vet is set against dry food, you can read here about their take on this below:
Healthy Diets for Cats | Feeding your Cat

I'm really curious why does your friend recommend dry diet only? I've never heard of any vet recommending that for cats, even those who are not against dry usually recommend at least some canned.
 
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redberries

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I leave my cats very often for two, three days or more. Luckily I have two so they keep each other company and are not bored. I have a sitter coming twice a day for around an hour to take care of their needs and play with them. I highly recommend setting WiFi camera so you can monitor the cat and alert a sitter if something is wrong. I have them in each room. It's also emotionally reassuring to check on them just to see they are ok.
I'd also encourage you to read about the impact on dry food only on male cats, it's like asking for urinary problems. Cats don't naturally drink, they should take all the water they need from food. They should eat high protein, low carbs, moisture rich diet. My cats only vet is set against dry food, you can read here about their take on this below:
Healthy Diets for Cats | Feeding your Cat

I'm really curious why does your friend recommend dry diet only? I've never heard of any vet recommending that for cats, even those who are not against dry usually recommend at least some canned.
Thanks for this info, really helpful. My friend is a reputable vet and she said wet food isn't great for their teeth and cats are fine on a high quality dry diet, provided they don't have health issues and are drinking water.
 
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redberries

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I would not leave a male cat with only kibble for 3 days. Males are at very high risk of blockage when fed a kibble only diet. In addition BSH are a very people oriented social breed and would find it very stressful to be left alone so long. My advice would be to engage a sitter to come in three times a day, for all three days, or at the very least twice a day, to feed him his wet diet, clean his litter boxes, and to stay and keep him company. Canned can be left in auto timed feeders for the third or fourth meal each day.

At 1-2 years old he will still be more kitten than adult. A kitten certainly could not be left for 3 days with only two visits to check on him. Kittens get into much mischief if left to their own devices, and if he were to block from lack of moisture in his diet, that could be fatal in 24 hours, and it's a terrible painful affliction.

Cats need a diet high in moisture and high in protein sourced from meat, with little to no carbohydrates. All kibble diets are high in carbs, usually at least 30%. When you consider a cat needs very little if any \carbs, this is extremely bad for them.

Please visit Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition – Common Sense. Healthy Cats. for information about the importance of a high moisture diet for cats. The site is written by a vet who specializes in feline nutrition. Dr Pierson is very wordy, so take it in small doses.
Thank you
 

She's a witch

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Thanks for this info, really helpful. My friend is a reputable vet and she said wet food isn't great for their teeth and cats are fine on a high quality dry diet, provided they don't have health issues and are drinking water.
Yeah, cats food manufacturers spread the rumors that kibble is good for teeth pretty effectively :) This is what my vet says about this:
"The role of dry food in keeping cats’ teeth healthy is also controversial. Recent research claims that this is not as important as we used to believe. Also, the best-proven way to maintain dental health in pets is to clean their teeth at home (ask us for handouts and demonstrations). We believe, in most cases, that the advantages to our cats’ kidneys, body condition and general health from canned foods, outweighs the dental advantage of dry foods."
Cleaning cats teeth is the best we can do to make sure teeth are in best condition possible. The younger the cat, the easier it is to train them.

If you're interested in researching on your own, this page is excellent in explaining the problems with dry food:
Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition – Common Sense. Healthy Cats.
 

otto

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Thanks for this info, really helpful. My friend is a reputable vet and she said wet food isn't great for their teeth and cats are fine on a high quality dry diet, provided they don't have health issues and are drinking water.
This is really not true. Kibble is not "good for their teeth" at all, and a wet diet isn't bad for their teeth either. Please think about how this doesn't make any sense. It would be like saying you eat pretzels, or fritos, because it is good for your teeth.Dental health is largely genetic, the only diet that actually benefits dental health is a raw diet.

Kibble is high in carbs and shatters into crumbs when the cat bites down on it with his pointy carnivore teeth. These crumbs simply turn to sugar in the mouth and stick to the teeth, between the teeth and under the gums..

Sadly, vets get very little training in vet school regarding feline nutrition, and what they are taught is taught by pet food representatives, who have an agenda.

In addtion cats do not have a high thirst drive, and cannot make up the deficit of a dry diet. They simply cannot drink enough to make it up, and will live out their lives in low level dehydration, which as mentioned leads to urinary tract disorders, and in the long term, kidney disease. They are also at higher risk for obesity and diabetes with these high carb dry diets. Other issues with long time dry diets are constipation, chronic vomiting, hairballs, digestive problems...IBD, really the list is very long.

Cats don't natrually drink a lot of water. Seeing a dry fed cat "drinking a lot" simply means the cat is desperately trying to off set the dehydration. My cats, once canned fed, now raw fed, never drink from their water bowls at all. They never developed the habit, because they've always been fed a high moisture diet.

Please visit the website of Dr Pierson I linked above for another professional point of view.

And remember again, a kitten left alone for 3 days at a time is highly likely to get into trouble of some kind, and if he does, he may not be found in time to spare him much suffering.
 

neely

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I'm glad you're thinking ahead about bringing a new kitty into your home since your schedule requires you to travel once a month. :thumbsup:
I echo what other members have said about transitioning to wet food albeit maybe leaving some dry food out as a snack. I may have missed it but since the cat you are interested in getting is between 1-2 years old do you know what type of food it has been eating? If the cat is already on dry food and you would like to transition him or her to wet food this Article may have some helpful information for you:
Transitioning Your Cat From Kibble To A New Type Of Food – TheCatSite Articles

Would the cat find this too stressful do you think? I've read that british shorthairs are generally calm and stable and tolerant being alone more than other breeds.
It's good to know the overall temperament of a particular breed but please keep in mind that there are no guarantees. Every cat is unique with individual traits. One thing I would recommend is not bringing the cat into your home right before you have to go away for the weekend. It would be less stressful to spend time with the cat for several weeks before you have to leave. Cats are territorial and you would want to acclimate him or her to the new surroundings. Here's an Article with some helpful tips and advice:
9 Tips That Will Help Your Kitten Adapt To A New Apartment – TheCatSite Articles

Best of luck and please post pics of your new cat when he or she arrives home. :heartshape:
 
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