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How long should you leave a cat alone for?

How long should you leave a cat alone for?
This article contains: Cat Holidays

Cats are solitary and independent animals and for most cat owners, this is an attractive trait when choosing a pet. However, just how independent are they when it comes to heading off on vacation?

When booking holidays or planning a business trip, you might be uncertain what exactly to do with your cat.

However, Petplan looks at how to ensure a smooth ride for both you and your feline companion…

Can I leave my cat alone?

Despite cats being typically territorial, meaning that they would rather be in familiar surroundings like home, as well as being self-sufficient, they shouldn’t be left alone. This is due to a number of things, including:

  • Accidents – leaving your cat inside the house has many potential risks such as furniture falling over, or things being spilt
  • Injuries and illnesses – similarly, if your cat develops an illness or suffers an injury, things can escalate quickly threatening your cat’s health
  • Feeding – if you’re leaving your cat for more than one night, there won’t be enough food for them to eat
  • Companionship – although they’re independent animals, cats also need company to ensure they’re being active and to combat boredom. This will also reduce the risk of your cat developing separation anxiety

Furthermore, many cats don’t like change, and taking a holiday will inevitably disrupt their normal routine. However, leaving them alone would cause them even more distress, so you should also choose carefully what the best option is for your pet.

Choosing either a pet sitter or cattery

Pet sitter:

Whether it’s a trusted friend, a family member, or a professional pet sitter, having someone take care of your cat at home will cause the least disruption to their routine. In choosing this method, your cat will always be fed and have clean living quarters.

However, if you ask someone to visit your home briefly through the day, most likely a friend, be aware that this may have its downfalls. For instance, they could miss signs of illness and your cat may still suffer from loneliness.

To avoid your cat getting separation anxiety and to ensure they are relaxed, you should:

  • Schedule a period of time spent socialising with your cat
  • Leave your cat’s favourite toys out
  • Stick to a routine – feeding times, when they’re outside, and when they go to sleep
  • Leave notes around the house – vet’s contact info, emergency contact number, instructions if your cat takes medication, favourite treats etc.
  • If you opt for a live-in sitter, introduce them to your cat before you go away so they are less wary


As well as saving you money when compared with a professional pet sitter, catteries provide a reliable and trusted service. If your cat is generally laid-back and composed around other people or cats, a cattery could be the best option for you.

However, be sure to visit a variety of catteries before your holiday and check standards of cleanliness, hygiene and care, making sure that they meet your expectations.

Decide on whether the cattery offers clean living and feeding areas, and if the staff take a genuine interest in your cat and his or her needs.

Taking a break should be relaxing, and choosing one of the above cat care options will ensure you and your cat have a stress free holiday!

What cat care option do you choose when you go on holiday? Do you have any recommendations? Let us know in the comments below…

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