How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone For?

by Pete
How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone For?

In this day and age, we all have a pretty hectic lifestyle, and all of us are usually trying to juggle our work life balance.

Not only that but it is also nice to get away from it all sometimes and have a breakaway or a vacation.

For conscientious pet parents, this however can be difficult. Having 2 cats myself I know what a nightmare it can be, and I hate leaving my animals behind which sometimes I am forced to do!

When I got my first cat, Sanchez, I really did not know how long I could leave him alone for, I generally tend to work pretty long hours and travel quite a bit.

When I got my second cat, Bruce, it got even more difficult. Now I had two cats and my work was getting busier and busier and I started to travel a lot more, also I wanted to go on holiday for a week, or at that time just a long weekend!

So I was always thinking to myself can cats be left alone for 4 days or a week?


Cats Need Routine in Their Lives

Cats spending quality time with owner

If you have a cat it can sometimes feel like they aren’t that bothered to see you around, for example when I come back from being out, my dog Max goes crazy to see me, it was like I had been gone for a year!

However, Sanchez and Bruce at times do not even seem to notice that I was back.

But do not be put off!

Cats really do crave a normal routine, so try to have a set feeding time for them and a time to play with them with their favorite cat toys. This is also a great time for bonding with your furry family!

Leaving Your Cat Alone for Long Periods Makes Them Stressed

Some people say you can leave your cats alone for a week at a time. Yes, you may have a cat flap and an automatic feeder for your cat, you can also have automatic drip feeders for them. You can even have cameras installed in your home so you can check up on them.

Keep in mind that although there are some fantastic products like that available to buy, there is still one thing missing!


Cats bond with you as part of their territory. I was told once that you never actually own a cat, your cat owns you. This is so true!

If you leave your cats alone for a long time it will make them stressed because they miss you, and if your cat is stressed, it can very easily lead to it becoming ill or bad tempered.

As a matter a fact, a new study found that cats care about their humans more than they do about food!

Another potential aspect of leaving your cat alone for a long period of time is it could potentially change the way it reacts to you when you get back.

They Need Human Interaction

I promise you, your cats do miss you and are actually pleased when you are around and they are definitely happy to see you come home, even if they do not act like it!

Yes, cats are very independent but they really do need someone there to be part of their territory. You know when your cat sits on your lap and purrs, or when it rubs his or her head against you?

That means it owns you!

Your cat is literally “marking” you as their own property.

So How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone for?

How long cat cat be alone

I would never leave either of my cats alone for more than 24 hours maximum, even though I have all the fancy gadgets for them to be able to get out of the house and drink and feed from. Keep in mind that these can actually go wrong or the batteries can die!

If you do not have an automatic cat feeder, how are you going to stop your cat from munching through all their food on the first day?

Or what if they are not hungry and the food goes off or gets spoiled?

Another thing is (and Bruce does this a lot when he plays) is he often jumps into his water bowl by accident, and knocks all the water out (he seems to actually find this really funny which is weird as he does not like water, or so the scars on my arms tell me when I had to give him a bath).

Imagine if you were left alone for a few days with no fresh food or water – would you like it?

I know I would not!

Aside from the potential for not having fresh food or water, who is going to clean and change the cat litter?

Again ask yourself, would you like to be left alone with an overflowing toilet that you could not flush?

Didn’t think so!

If the above was not bad enough, there is another thing to worry about as well, what if your furry friend gets ill or sick while you are away? Who is going to take them to the vet or look after them?

Let me give you a real-life example. Sanchez once pulled his claw out from his foot and we had to rush him to the vets as it was so painful for him! If I had been away and with no one there it could have been very bad for him (and me!)

Not only that but I know they miss me, and what’s more, I miss them!

How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone With an Automatic Feeder

As I mentioned, automatic feeders can go wrong or die, your cat might flip it over or the batteries might die. So even with all the smart gadgets, I wouldn’t suggest leaving your cat alone, without anyone checking up on them, for more than 24 hours.

If you plan to be gone overnight, make sure to put fresh water in a water dish for your cat and clean the litter box before you go. You might also want to put an additional bowl of water just in case they knock one over, so they have a back up.

If you have a cat feeder with dry and wet food options, it is better to give dry food as wet food would spoil in a few hours if not eaten completely.

Provide your kitties with various toys while you’re gone, so they have no time to think about you! Interactive toys work great in times like this as they encourage your cat to be more active and get more exercise, instead of just eating and sleeping through the day.

Have Someone Check on Your Cat Once a Day

leaving cat home alone with an automatic feeder

There are of course times that I know I have to go away for business for a few days at a time. If that is the case, I always make sure I have a friend or a family member go to check on both Bruce and Sanchez at least once a day.

If they are busy, I am lucky that I have good neighbors who I can give a spare key to and they can come and check on them both.

In fact, Sanchez is a bit of a local celebrity cat, even though he acts and pretends to be a rough tough street cat, he is really affectionate towards people.

Many a time in the morning after he has been out at night (doing whatever cats get up to at night) I will get a neighbor knock at my door with him in their arms saying he spent the night there! I know he does actually get spoilt by one of them in particular who loves to let him in and treat him!

However, as I said life is busy, and there are times when no one can help.

On the rare occasions that this does happen I will always call in a pet sitter from a reputable company who will come to my house and check on my cats.

It really is better for your cats to have a “stranger” from a pet sitting company to come in and check up on them and interact with them then having no one at all!

Hiring a Pet Sitter

If this is the case and you are looking to get a pet sitter to look after your furry family while you are away, there are of course some things that you should do and take into consideration.

Always do your research, there are lots of pet sitting companies to be found online. Always check out their testimonials and ensure that they are a reputable company (after all you are letting a stranger into your house).

If possible try to speak to some of their previous clients, there is nothing better than a good word of mouth recommendation from a cat owner who has actually used their services before.

It is also worth speaking to your local vet, as they will often be able to give you some advice and recommend a good pet sitting service, or try speaking to your work colleagues who own pets.

Always make sure that you check out the references from the pet sitters as well!

You can also find a pet sitter on specialized websites such as

There really are a lot of great pet sitting services out there, so do your research and keep your cats happy and healthy while you are away!

Having a Cat Is a Big Commitment

If you are reading this and thinking about getting a cat, or any pet, do keep in mind that being a responsible pet parent is a huge commitment and that they do need a lot of your time.

They are totally worth it of course!

But if you tend to work away a lot or do travel and have no one around that can help you to look after your animals (if you can not take them with you when you go away) really think about if you can afford the extra fees of hiring a pet sitter or putting them in a cat hotel for boarding!

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