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Felinexpress.com home > Cat Care > Leaving A Cat Home Alone

Leaving A Cat Home Alone

Cat owners often wonder about leaving their cat home alone. On a daily basis, the cat will adjust to your work schedule and usually you will be met at the door by the welcoming committee when you return home. But what about leaving for an extended period of time? How long can you leave kitty home alone? Travel for work, family emergencies, vacations or illness, whatever the reason for leaving, care and consideration should be followed in regards to the cat(s) who will be left behind. They can become anxious when their owners leave and this anxiety can turn against them. They settle into the rhythm of your home and when that routine is disrupted they can become stressed or even ill. If you are going to be gone for 2, 3 or even 4 days, you need to make provisions for your cat.

Gone for the weekend-

What if you just want to get away for the weekend? Although this might be the answer for you, it could be just the opposite for your cat. You may return home to a wrecked house or your cat might be hiding from you for days. He may be sulking in the corner or simply mad at you. Personally, I would never leave any of my cats on their own longer than 24 hours. I would worry to much.

Marilyn Krieger, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and owner of www.thecatcoach.com offers this tip:

I urge people who are going to be away from home for more than 24 hours to either hire a pet sitter or ask a friend or family member to  feed, water, clean the cat boxes and socialize with the cat at least once a day. Cats need fresh water and food and their litter boxes need to be cleaned at least once a day. Also, many cats enjoy the company of other people and can become stressed when their people are gone for an extended period of time.”

A few years ago when someone emailed me through one of my other websites www.lost-pets.org  I learned teir cat “Stanley” vanished when they left him for the weekend. They had filled up their wash basins and bathtub with water for him. They brought in more litter pans and large food bowls filled with dry kibble and left on Friday night intending on returning home Sunday night. Mother Nature had other plans and a big storm stranded them for ten days. When they got home, they couldn’t find Stanley anywhere in the house.

He was located four days later. He was gaunt but alive and had somehow found a way inside their walls. For whatever reason when they called out to him (when they first got home) he either didn’t answer or they couldn’t hear him. They ended up hearing a faint meow at two in the morning. They tore out a kitchen wall to get to him. Sandra told me they would never leave him alone again.

Leaving a cat home alone is risky no matter how long you are going to be gone. Is it safe? Not really; a cat left to his own devices and searching for his owner can get into harm’s way pretty easily. There are so many options available now. Especially with the influx of pet sitters and cat-friendly boarding places (not just the vet’s clinic) you should set up someone to check on your cat or to temporarily move into your home to care for your cat(s).

Boarding Your Cat-

In the past, boarding your cat meant to either send him to the vet or put him into a kennel (that would also handle dogs) Both of these situations can cause stress for the cat and the owner.  Pet Sitters International maintains a website that will provide you with names of qualified pet sitters in your area. Before you leave on your trip, be sure the pet-sitter or friend comes over to interact with your cat(s) so they can get used to each other. Make sure you check references. Leaving your cat in the care of your vet, he and his staff will assume responsibility for your cat, but the same cannot be said for an individual coming to your home. Also PetFriendly.com offers an extensive list of pet-friendly accommodations including cat-only boarding stations or kennels.

Tips to do before you leave for your

  • Leave scent piles around the house for your cat; dirty smelly socks or undershirts stuck in the freezer in plastic storage bags are ideal for caregivers to take out later thaw out and leave for kitty.
  • Make sure you have enough food and litter beforehand.
  • Post emergency phone numbers on your fridge. Don’t forget your vet’s number!
  • Take current photos of your cats (in case they get out of the house) so the cat sitter can show the photos around when trying to locate the runaways.
  • Some automatic pet feeders come with a recorded food call where you can leave your voice behind.

Knowing that your cat is being cared for by professionals or caring friends, allows you to have a relaxed time away from home. In this modern techno-age of gadgets, you can even set up a camera or a nanny-cam in your home and check in via the computer.

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