How Long Can You Leave Your Cat Home Alone?

Your cat might be fine without you for a few days if it has food and water. Even though you may think of cats as very independent animals, leaving them home alone might be bad for their mental health.
How Long Can You Leave Your Cat Home Alone?
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 22 December, 2022

Cats are very independent animals and many owners believe they can leave them home by themselves for a few days without any problems. However, cats do need attention, and loneliness can be bad for them. So, how long can leave your cat home alone? Read on to find out!

How long can you leave your cat home alone?

Every cat is unique, they have their own personality and body, and there’s no universal answer to every question. There’s some basic care that all cats need, but you also have to think about your cat’s special needs before you leave them home alone.

Vets usually say that 1-2 days is a “healthy maximum” for cats. However, the amount of time a cat can stay home alone depends on several factors such as age, health, size, breed, training, etc. Of course, you also have to make sure your cat has everything he needs while you’re gone.

An old cat or a kitten needs constant care. You can’t leave them alone for too long. Their health is very delicate, so your attention plays on an important role in their well-being. Plus, you have to train your cat to able be alone and to prevent behavioral problems while they are home alone.

Remember, the amount of time you could leave your cat home alone isn’t necessarily healthy. A cat can survive several days without their owners as long as there’s plenty of food and water, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for its health.

So, when you adopt a cat, you’re taking on the responsibility to provide good conditions for their mental and physical development. Cats are intelligent, social creatures that need much more than food and water in order to have a good quality of life.  

Black cat on a bed

Can all adult cats stay home alone?

Your cat’s personality is just as important as their age. Some cats are more independent, so they don’t mind if their owners are gone.

Other cats are more affectionate and social, and become very attached to their owners. If they’re alone for too long, they might start to feel stressed, nervous, sad, or anxious.

These negative feelings can cause aggressive, destructive behavior, or change their appetites and habits.

Leaving your cat home alone should never become a habit. Cats that spend a lot of time alone often become sedentary, which is bad for their physical and mental health. An inactive routine without exercise can cause obesity and other related illnesses.

If they don’t have a healthy environment, they won’t be able to stimulate their mind properly, which can cause stress and boredom-related behavioral changes and problems.

Cat playing with toy

Tips for Safely Leaving Your Cat Home Alone

  1. Training as of a young age. Any cat can learn to positively channel their energy and handle being alone. However, it will take patience, and you’ll need to use positive reinforcement. It’s best to start training when your cat first moves in with you.
  2. Stimulating environment. Providing one to your cat is important for making sure your cat can exercise his mind and body. This will also help them maintain a healthy weight and stable behavior.
  3. Since a lot of cats don’t go outside, they will need to able to get rid of their energy in the house. So, make sure your cat has scratching poles, (interactive) toys, and other things to keep it active and entertained.
  4. Prepare your house. If you’re going to leave your cat home alone for a day or two, you need to prepare your house. Leave multiple food and water bowls out to make sure that they are fed and healthy.
  5. An automatic food dispenser could also be a huge help, but you’ll have to show your cat how to use it first. You should also leave more than one litter box so that it doesn’t do its business somewhere it shouldn’t.
  6. Cat babysitters. If you want to travel and can’t take your cat with you, then it’s best to have someone you trust to take care of it. You can ask family members or friends, of course, but you can also hire a professional to do it.

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.