How long can you leave a cat alone?
Cats are naturally independent animals and, while we wouldn’t recommend leaving your feline friends for extended amounts of time, they are generally okay to be left alone from time to time. Whether your feline likes to explore the outdoors or roam around the house, most cat breeds are okay being left to their own devices - and, if occasion calls for it, in some cases cat owners can leave their cat alone for up to 24 hours, as long as they are safe and have access to fresh water and food.
With this in mind, there is no need to worry about your pet being left unattended whilst you go to work for the day, as long as they have access to their basic needs, a clean litter tray and several cat toys and treats to keep them entertained. If you’re considering leaving your cat alone for a period of time, keep reading as we share our recommended tips and tricks to help your cat remain settled and comfortable while you’re out of the home.. From how best to make them feel relaxed to preventing boredom and helping calm anxiety with products specifically tailored to keep your cat comfortable and happy independently, we’ve compiled our top recommendations below.
Top 4 tips for leaving your cat alone in the house
- Ensure your cat has access to fresh water, food and their litter box - If anything, the most important thing to remember when leaving your cat alone is that they are able to eat, drink and go to the bathroom with ease.
- Create a comfortable environment - Make sure that your feline has their bed and favourite resting places nearby, whether that’s a cat climbing tree, a spot by the window or their resting space, allowing your cat access to their favourite spots around the home will help them feel at ease when left alone.
- Provide ample space for your cat - Ensuring that your cat has enough space to roam freely is vital to preventing boredom and anxiety. If necessary, close doors to rooms you do not wish your cat to enter without supervision and allow them access to the rest of the house.
- Offer a variety of entertainment - Providing your cat with various toys, scratching posts and catnip is vital to ensuring they are entertained for as long as possible whilst you are gone. Having a variety of activities that will stimulate their mind and occupy their time will ensure they are happy and prevent potential destructive boredom behaviours when left alone.
It’s important to note that our advice will differ depending on the age of your feline friends. Whilst adult cats are perfectly fine to be left alone in the house, kittens require a lot more care and attention as they are less self-sufficient. If you need to leave your kitten alone in the house, ensure that it is only for short periods of time of up to a couple of hours. However, as always, if you’re uncertain about leaving your cat for a prolonged amount of time, we would encourage pet owners to make their best judgement, or perhaps seek advice from your local vets ahead of leaving your cat or kitten unoccupied.
How can I make my cat feel comfortable?
Although your cat may not be phased by being left alone in the house, it’s still important that they are surrounded by their home comforts to ensure they are relaxed and happy whilst you’re gone. Make sure that your cat’s favourite toys are easily accessible as well as their bed and favourite place to relax, this will help prevent any potential boredom and help create a calming environment.
Cat Toys and Cat Beds
Whether it’s perching on a window sill, the edge of the sofa or hidden underneath a piece of furniture, an enclosed, cosy space helps your cat to feel safe and relaxed. This Rosewood radiator cat bed offers an alternative to your cat’s usual bed and provides a cosy, hidden place for your cat to curl up in and relax whilst they are home alone.
Having your cat’s favourite toys to hand will also help to keep them comfortable when left alone. This GiGwi motion-activated mouse creates realistic animal sounds and movement to encourage your cat to use their natural hunting instincts and provide hours of interactive entertainment. GiGwi’s goal is to reinvent playtime for your cat’s and that’s exactly what the eco-friendly Catch and Scratch cat toy does - made from natural feathers and wood, this spherical toy features multiple attractive elements including a rattle sound that encourages your cat to get their paws on it to chase, swat and flip this toy around the house.
If your cat is prone to experiencing anxiety, a great way to help them feel comfortable is to provide them with catnip before you leave. Catnip will not only occupy them with an activity but will also help to calm any stress and keep them relaxed for as long as possible. You may also want to give your cats some calming treatments such as a cat calming spray or cat calming collar, as an extra precaution for preventing potential separation anxiety.
Catnip and Cat Calming Products
Catnip is proven to boost mood, improve relaxation and reduce anxiety and restlessness in your cat and is therefore perfect for helping keep your cat calm when left alone. Popular pet brand Kong, offers a premium strong quality catnip that can be used in conjunction with toys to provide hours of play and relaxation.
GiGwi’s roll tailed mouse catnip toy not only provides a way to stuff catnip into the toy to help relax your cat but also features small nibs that help promote your cat’s dental health by gently massaging their gums. The small holes in this toy help to reveal the fragrance of catnip and the mouse-shape with long tail, help to ignite your cat’s natural hunting instinct.
The Yeowww catnip stinkies toy is already pre-filled with 100% organically grown catnip and enticingly designed in a fish shape for fun, inviting playtime. Made from natural, heavy-duty materials this toy is perfect for cats who engage in more rough play with a strong resistance to biting and kicking from your cat.
In addition to catnip, there are a range of cat calming products available to buy at Direct4Pet that can also help keep your cat comfortable and relaxed whilst left alone. Feliway’s cat calming spray is scientifically proven to help stop unwanted behaviours in cats that may be caused from the stress of being left alone. Containing synthetic copies of your cat’s natural “happy” pheromones, this cat calming spray will help to reassure and comfort your cat to help cope with being left alone.
Feliway also offers an optimum diffuser that features the same synthetic pheromones as the cat calming spray to provide enhanced serenity in the home. This calming diffuser is designed to be plugged in and left on all day, to help keep your cat calm and prevent any aggressive behaviours whilst you’re not home. Having both a calming spray and a diffuser will help to not only create a relaxed environment for your cat but is also a great way to prevent conflict with other animals and ensure harmony in the home when left unoccupied.
To ensure your cat experiences the full benefits of calming products to help relieve them of any anxiety of being left alone for short periods of time, why not opt for a Beaphar cat calming collar for your pet to wear? Containing both valerian and lavender, this collar will work within 1 hour once fitted and will help to keep your cat calm and settled in their environment for up to 6 weeks.
Do cats get bored at home alone?
Yes, cats can get bored if home alone for extended periods of time which is why it’s important for them to have access to toys, treats and scratching posts. By providing your cat with a scratching post this will help to redirect any boredom from damaging furniture onto the post instead. For added entertainment, get a scratching post that also has a hanging toy attached to it for an extra element of play to help keep your pet occupied for longer.
Cat Scratching Posts
Popular pet brand Rosewood, offers a variety of cat scratching posts to help keep your feline occupied whilst left to their own devices. The Saffron cat scratcher combines the comfort of an elevated bed held up by two scratching posts and a plush hammock to relax underneath. This is the perfect place for catnaps and play time with the addition of a hanging feather toy infused with catnip to entice playfulness and maintain your cat's interest for hours of enjoyment.
Both the Rosewood Tarragon and Rimini cat scratchers are crafted from various sisal and jute materials to get your cats claws into for optimum scratching away from your furniture. These simple yet stylish cat scratchers are perfect for entertaining your cat whilst home alone with the variety of hanging toys, infused with catnip to hold your cat’s attention for as long as possible.
Do cats get lonely if left home alone all day?
Yes, they can get lonely however, whether or not your cat will get lonely completely depends on the individual cat. If your pet is accustomed to being left alone for long periods of time from a young age then it is likely that they will not feel as lonely as a cat that is used to constant interaction or a cat that has an anxious attachment style.
Although cats demonstrate a lot of solitary behaviours, they are still social animals that require interaction and crave companionship just as much as humans for a healthy and happy life. Leaving your feline home alone is perfectly fine to do however if left alone for extended periods of time regularly this may lead to loneliness.
Warning signs that your cat is lonely:
- Demanding attention - If your cat starts to demonstrate clinginess and you find them following you around the house and constantly wanting your attention, this may be a sign that they are feeling lonely and are anxious that you may leave them again.
- Showing aggression - Cats that start to show uncharacteristic signs of aggressions, whether this is in the form of destructive behaviours or lashing out at humans or other animals, this may be a bid for attention and a sign of loneliness.
- Excessive grooming - Pay attention to your cat’s grooming habits, if you notice a change in how often they are grooming or start to notice any signs of fur pulling this may be indicative of loneliness.
- Urinating outside of the litter box - Cat’s use urine as a way to mark their territory however they can also use it as a way to show their disapproval of being left alone. If you notice your cat starts to urinate outside of their litter box and instead of your belongings this may be another sign that they are feeling lonely.
While cats, on the surface, may appear to be independent pets, It is recommended that no cat should be left alone for longer than 24 hours. If you think that you may need to leave your pet alone for longer than that, consider asking a friend or family member to spend some time with them and ensure they are cared for whilst you are away.