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How long can you leave a cat alone?

A ginger cat staring out of the window
(Image credit: Getty)

Unlike many other pets, felines can be fairly self-sufficient but how long can you leave a cat alone for?

Cats have a reputation for being independent, solitary animals but - as with any species - every cat is different. 

Some like to be left alone, some are social butterflies that love to keep you company, whereas others are a mixture of both. 

To find out how long you can leave your cat alone for, and to stop people from asking “Is your cat bored”, you could take a look at some of the best cat puzzle feeders or the best cat toys available that could keep them pre-occupied whilst you’re away. You could even buy one of the best automatic pet feeders to provide dinner for them while you’re out.

Read on for some more things to think about before leaving your cat on their lonesome.

How long can you leave a kitten alone?

One of the biggest things to take into consideration when you’re thinking about leaving your cat on their own, is how old they are. 

Kittens between the ages of three to six months old, will often need to be fed three times per day, every four to six hours on average. But it’s not just about their meal times…

These feisty felines are curious little things that can commonly be found climbing up things they shouldn’t be or attempting to eat things that aren’t edible whilst your back is turned. 

So, if you do need to leave them on their own for a considerable amount of time, creating a kitten-proof room that they can enjoy and relax in will keep them out of trouble for the most part. 

However, it’s crucial that there is someone available to drop in on them at regular intervals just to be on the safe side.

Do cats get lonely when left alone?

Since cats are considered to be a fairly low-maintenance pet - especially if they’re a stay-at-home cat in which the bathroom is indoors - in most cases, adult cats are content with being on their own for 8-12 hours a day. 

However, as previously mentioned, cats can become easily bored so it’s to be expected that they can become lonely, too. 

To combat this, be sure to provide your kitty with a variety of safe toys and enrichment activities that they can play with throughout the day.

Some cats even like it when the television or radio is left on at low levels, as this can help soothe them and drown out any unusual noises that may occur outside whilst you’re gone. 

A lonely grey tabby cat looking out the window

(Image credit: Getty)

How long can you leave a cat alone with an automatic feeder?

Automatic pet feeders can be a great way to keep your cat entertained and their hunger satisfied whilst you’re away.

Choosing the best automatic pet feeder can be tricky but it’s important to be aware that these clever gadgets don’t mean that you can leave your cat on its own for days on end.

Even if your feline is the most independent creature in the neighborhood, nothing can take your place when it comes to company (as well as someone to replenish their water bowl and clean out their cat little tray!).

They might not show it very often - or at all - but cats will bond with you and see you as part of their territory. If you were to leave them on their own for a long time, they will start to become very stressed and unsettled.

The fact of the matter is that they will miss you.

This could potentially lead to one very bad tempered moggy, which could even result in them becoming very ill if they feel overwhelmed with their stress and anxiety. 

Top three things to avoid when leaving your cat alone

When you’re preparing to go away for a long period of time, such as a well-deserved break, you’ll often put together a list of things you simply can’t forget. 

Planning on ways to keep your cat safe and comfy should be top of that list!

Here’s a few things that you should avoid doing when getting ready to leave your cat alone for a little while:

Don’t forget to organise a pet sitter - whether that’s a professional pet sitter or a friendly neighbor you can trust, having someone check in on your feline can bring you peace of mind and be great for your cat’s well-being. 

Avoid closing the shades - your first thought before leaving the house may be to pull the shades shut but, for many felines, perching on the windowsill and watching the world go by can provide hours of entertainment.

Don’t forget to empty the litter box - this may seem obvious but it’s so easily forgotten when you’re in a rush but who wants to use a dirty toilet? Ensuring that it’s clean before you go and is scooped regularly by your pet sitter whilst you’re away will help ease any stress or anxiety your cat may be feeling. You could also consider one of the best self-cleaning litter boxes.

Chloe is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, who has more than ten years’ experience in creating animal-focussed content. From National Geographic to Animal Planet, Chloe’s passion for creating fact-filled features all about wildlife and the environment is evident. But it’s not just wild animals that Chloe’s fascinated by. Having written more than 75 articles for PetsRadar - and having her very own four-legged friend by her side - it’s no wonder that her love of dogs (and, of course, cats) has grown exponentially.  

Her website, www.chloemaywrites.com, and social media pages - @ChloeMayWrites on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter - showcase her knowledge through daily facts and trivia tidbits. For example, did you know that snails have teeth?!