Living with a cat brings up all kinds of interesting questions. Why do they stick their tongue out, for example? Or why do they loaf? What’s with the eating with their paws, and where on earth are they hiding all the toy balls?
There are of course more existential questions too. Can you leave a cat alone for the weekend for example (having provided plenty of meal options before leaving, of course)?
Can You Leave a Cat Alone For The Weekend?
Yes, you can leave a healthy adult cat alone for the weekend, as long as you leave enough food and water for them, and provide extra litter boxes and entertainment.
One or two nights away is completely acceptable. Your cat may get a bit bored and lonely, but they should be perfectly fine on their own for two days, as long as you take all the required precautions. Before you leave, make sure they can’t injure themselves by breaking something or pulling something on themselves, and that they can’t lock themselves in somewhere.
If your cat is a senior or has a health condition, try not to leave them unattended. You don’t have to have a friend sit with them the entire time, but someone should check in a couple of times a day, just to make sure they are doing okay. They will certainly love the company, and can spend their alone time napping.
Can You Leave a Kitten Alone For The Weekend?
You shouldn’t leave a kitten alone for the weekend, as they still need more care and attention than adult cats. Kittens under 6 months should only be alone for a couple of hours, while kittens between 6 and 12 months can stay alone for 8 hours.
If your cat is still considered a kitten, make sure they have company over the weekend. They can get up to all kinds of mischief alone, and will be confused and scared by your absence. The socialization and care they get at this age is very important, so always have someone help you out and keep an eye on them.
How To Leave Your Cat Alone For The Weekend
If you are leaving your cat alone for the weekend, make sure you check all of these boxes before you leave, to ensure their safety and wellbeing while you are away:
- Ensure they can’t get into a room or cupboard they will later not be able to get out of. Either leave all the doors open and let your pet have free reign of the entire home, or lock the doors to rooms you want them to stay clear of.
- Use door stoppers to keep select doors open. Your cat may accidentally close a door, and they may not be able to open it again.
- Check all of their usual hiding places and make sure they can’t get stuck anywhere. This usually means drawers or closets.
- Leave lots of food out, both wet and dry. They may not eat all the wet food, especially if they are finicky and don’t like it when it gets dry, but put it out nevertheless. Two whole pouches of wet food and two large full bowls of dry food should do it. Don’t worry, cats are not like dogs, and they will ration out the portions, they won’t eat it all at once. At least most cats won’t. If yours does not know how to ration, have someone come in to feed them every day.
- Leave plenty of water around the house. We tend to leave a full bowl in the tub and both sinks, as these are less likely to get spilled, plus two bowls in the kitchen and two in the bathroom. At least one of them gets spilled by the time we come home.
- Change the litter in the litter box and clean it completely. Add another litter box just to be safe.
- Leave plenty of toys out. Their favorite toys should be within easy reach, but you can also get some new ones just for the occasion. We usually leave at least one new plushy, several balls (usually organized in a nice pattern), two tunnels and a lot of tail-shaped toys. We also leave rolled up socks and hide some balls under the bed.
- Make sure the temperature in the home is okay. This may mean closing the blinds in summertime to keep the space cool, or setting a timer on your air conditioner to turn it itself on and off at certain times.
- Leave a light on to make sure your cat can get around the house at night. While cats do see in the dark exceptionally well, they need at least a bit of light to see by. A small night light that will guide them to the food and litter box is all you need.
- Cats love to sit in windows, so if you can, let them have a window perch from which they can observe the outside. Make sure there is no way for them to get out, no matter what they see out there.
Before you actually leave, make sure to run through all of this and check everything is in place. Also make sure you can see your cat as you are walking out the door. You don’t want them to have hidden somewhere without you noticing.
How Long Is Too Long To Leave a Cat Alone?
Aim not to leave your cat alone for longer than 3-4 days. Ideally, a weekend is the longest you will leave them completely unsupervised. If you’re away for longer, have someone stop by at least every other day.
While your cat will probably be just fine for 4 days, their litter box will start to fill up and they may start running low on food. Try to get a friend or neighbor (or several of them) to check in daily, clean up, provide fresh food and water, and play with your cat for a bit.
If you’re planning a longer trip, consider getting a cat sitter or leaving your cat in a pet hotel, unless you are able to arrange regular check-ins by friends and family.
Things That Can Happen If You Leave Your Cat Alone Too Long
Cats are fairly independent creatures and don’t need constant supervision. If you leave them alone for more than a couple of days though, their quality of life will begin to diminish.
- They may get sick or get injured while running around your home. This is why it’s extremely important to only leave a completely healthy cat alone, and make sure they can’t get hurt while you are away.
- If the litter box gets too dirty, your cat may form the unwelcome habit of using another part of your home as a substitute. Even when you come back and clean up, they may refuse to go back to the litter box.
- The food and water you leave out will get less and less appetizing as time goes by. Your cat may end up refusing to eat and drink. While cats can go without food for 3-4 days, you definitely don’t want them to get that hungry. Cats can go without water for a day or two, but the consequences of dehydration can be quite serious.
- Cats that love company will also get bored and anxious after a day or two without human contact. While they will get back to their usual selves a couple of days after your return, don’t put them through the stress.
As a cat owner, your job is to give your pet the best possible life you are able to provide. Leaving them alone for the weekend is perfectly fine, but always make sure they have everything they may need before you leave, and shower them with some extra love when you come back.
Will My Cat Forget Me If I Leave For The Weekend?
Cats can remember people for a very long time and they are not at all likely to forget you if you are away for two days. They may be a bit standoffish when you return, or they may ignore you completely, but that’s mostly their way of showing you they are not pleased to have been left alone.
In theory, cats don’t hold grudges. In reality, they are perfectly capable of showing their displeasure, so don’t be at all surprised if you receive some form of payback.
Wrapping It Up
You can safely leave your healthy adult cat alone for the weekend, as long as you cat-proof your home and leave them with a clean litter box and plenty of fresh food and water. Don’t forget about the entertainment either!