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  • Chuckanut Valley Veterinary Clinic

    896 N. Burlington Boulevard, Burlington, WA 98233 US


  • The Chuckanut Valley Feline Center

    1214 Dupont Street, Bellingham, WA 98225 US


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How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone?

Even though cats are typically more independent than dogs, they can still get lonely and require their owners to provide them with everything they need to stay happy and healthy. Today, our Burlington and Bellingham vets will explain how long cats can be left home alone and provide you with tips on ensuring your kitty has everything they need to remain healthy, happy, and safe while you are away.

The Independent Cat Myth

Cat owners are aware that their feline companions are more sociable than their reputation suggests. Do cats get lonely? Like people, cats have varying personalities. While some cats may be consistently aloof and prefer their own company, others happily greet their owners at the door and follow them around the house, meowing. Therefore, some cats may adjust better to being alone than others based entirely on their personalities, but all cats need their people (some more than others).

Your Cat's Age When Leaving Them Alone

Cats that are very young, very old, or have underlying health issues tend to be more vulnerable and require more attention than healthy middle-aged cats. So remember to take extra care when leaving alone kittens, senior cats, and cats with medical conditions.

Kittens & Young Cats

Young kittens need to be fed 3 or 4 times a day until they are about six months old. They tend to get into more trouble when not supervised. Kittens under four months old shouldn't be left alone for more than 4 hours at a time. If your cat needs to get used to being alone due to your lifestyle, gradually increase the time you are out of the house and consult your vet for specific instructions.

Once your kitten is six months old, consider having a friend or family member care for them if you need to be away for an extended period. If that's not possible, have someone check in on your cat once or twice a day. If you have a young cat and must be away for more than 2-4 hours, consider pet boarding as a solution for high-quality care and attention.

Healthy Adult Cats

Sometimes, leaving your healthy, middle-aged cat alone for 24-48 hours could be okay. Of course, this will depend upon a number of factors, including your cat's personality, your living conditions, and whether they are used to spending time alone. If your cat is going to be left on their own for a day or two, make sure the temperature in your home isn't too hot or too cold and that there is enough (dry) food left out for your cat to eat while you're away, and that there is lots of clean drinking water. It's also a good idea to make sure that the litter box is completely clean before you leave.

Taking your cat to a trusted pet boarding facility in your neighborhood can help prevent it from feeling lonely or from getting into trouble. Pet boarding can also give you the freedom to leave home, knowing your kitty is safe and well taken care of while you are away.

Senior Cats & Cats With Underlying Health Conditions

Older cats can be very sensitive to routines, which means that changes to their normal day can be stressful for them to handle. Stress can result in an increased risk of health conditions and stomach problems. It's also common for senior cats to require extra feedings or medication throughout the day. For these reasons, leaving your senior cat alone overnight may not be a good idea.

Many pet boarding facilities offer round-the-clock care for animals that require a little extra TLC while their owners are gone, making boarding an ideal option for cats who are unwell or elderly. If your cat must stay home alone, have someone visit your house twice daily to check on your senior cat.

Your vet knows your senior cat best. Ask your vet how long they believe your kitty can be left alone safely.

Tips for Leaving Your Cat When You Need to Be Away

If you plan to be away from home, talk to your vet to find out if they have any concerns about your cat being left alone. Your vet knows your cat's health concerns and is in the best position to give you advice on your cat's wellbeing.  Meanwhile, here are a few tips to help make sure your cat stays safe while you are gone:

  • We strongly recommend that you have someone check on your cat once or twice a day while you are gone, to ensure your kitty is safe and has enough food and water for the duration of your absence.
  • Consider leaving a radio or TV on so your cat can hear voices while you are away. It could help alleviate your cat's boredom.
  • Ensure that your cat has plenty of clean water in a bowl that will not tip over and spill. Cat water fountains are available from pet stores. These handy devices can help your cat's water stay fresher and cleaner while you're gone.
  • Provide your cat with enough food for the duration of your time away. You may want to invest in an automated pet feeder to rotate the food and keep it fresher.
  • If your cat is particularly fussy about their litter box you may want to leave two clean and fresh litter boxes out for them.
  • Check the weather and ensure your thermostat is set so your home remains comfortable while you're away.
  • Bring your kitty to a local pet boarding facility. Cat boarding facilities can provide your feline friend with a clean place to stay where they will be well cared for, and given lots of human interaction.

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.

Are you planning to be away from home? Contact our boarding facility in Burlington and Bellingham today to learn more or to schedule your kitty's stay.

New Patients Welcome

Chuckanut Valley Vet Clinic and Chuckanut Feline Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Burlington and Bellingham companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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