How Long Can You Leave A Cat Alone?

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Cats are often fine on their own for longer periods of time than other pets, but that might have you wondering just how long can you leave a cat alone?

If you’re going on a vacation or you’re just planning to be out of the house for a full day and want to know if your cat will be okay, this article has the answers for you.

» You might be interested in the Does My Cat Need A Friend? and Cat Statistics for 2022.

A cat laying on a table looking out the window.

While many believe that cats are incredibly independent and don’t need much attention, this stereotype is far from the truth. 

While they don’t need regular walks as dogs do, they are still social creatures who thrive on interaction and often struggle with long periods of time on their own. 

Since cats do not need regular walks and sometimes aren’t as verbal about their affection needs as dogs are, people believe that they can be left alone for long periods of time. This is another statement that is far from the truth. 


This article is going to be discussing how long you can leave your pet cat alone, and what you can do to make this time away from them easier on both of you. 

How Long Can You Leave A Cat Alone For?

A cat sitting on a chair

Exactly how long your cat can be left alone will depend on the cat itself, its diet, and its environment. 

Cats who don’t have any pressing health issues and eat predominantly dry food can be left alone for 24 hours, maybe even 48 hours, as long as there is plenty of fresh water and food left available for them.  

If they are left longer than 48 hours without anyone checking in on them, then their water will become dirty, and their litter box will be full.

This could result in them choosing another location to relieve themselves. 

How Long Can You Leave A Kitten Alone? 

Adult cats and kittens are very different. Kittens need a lot more regular care than grown-up cats and may need help adjusting to their new surroundings. 

Therefore, kittens should not be left alone for more than a couple of hours, especially if they are very young, and you have only just brought them home. 

Grey cat laying by the window

Leaving Your Cat For A 24-Hour Period

If you’re leaving your cat alone while you go to work or spend the day out, they are likely to be completely fine. 

However, if you’re leaving them for a 24-hour period, they’ll still be fine, but there are a few things you can do to make your absence less troublesome for them. 

You must ensure that they have plenty of fresh water. If you feel they may finish what’s in their bowl, leave some extra ones scattered around the house. 

Their food bowls should also be filled, as well as extra ones if you are gone for more than just a few hours. 

A cat under the covers

You should also avoid locking them in one room and let them have free space around the house, so they can roam around freely. 

While you aren’t physically there to keep them active, there are other ways for them to have some mental stimulation on their own.

You should leave out their favorite solo toys such as cat trees, cardboard boxes, or brain games. This can provide them with lots of fun while they’re on their own. 

If you’re only leaving the house to go to work for a day and are anxious about your pet, then you can also leave on some music or TV for some background noise.

This can calm them and helps them feel less alone. 

A cat sitting on the roof

Can Cats Be Left Alone When You Go On Vacation? 

As mentioned earlier, leaving your cat alone for longer than 48 hours is not recommended. This is because they need companionship, as well as fresh food and water.

Therefore, when going on vacation, it is always best to get a cat sitter (or take them with you!). 

Do Cats Get Lonely? 

Since cats have always been thought of as independent and aloof creatures, the idea that they feel lonely sometimes has always been disregarded. 

However, this is far from the truth. Contrary to popular belief, they are social animals who need interaction, just as humans and dogs do.

Leaving your cat alone, without any interaction from another animal or person, can lead to them feeling lonely. 

Some signs of loneliness could be clinginess. If you notice your pet has begun to follow you around whenever you’re home, this could mean they are lonely. 

They may begin to display aggressive behavior towards you.

cat tree

If this aggressive behavior is very unlike them, then it could mean they are feeling lonely and are desperate for your attention. 

If you notice that your cat is grooming themselves more than usual, then this is another sign that they may be unhappy. 

What To Do When You Go On Vacation?

The best thing to do when you go on vacation is to hire a cat sitter or have a friend or family member go to your home to check on your cat at least once a day. 

This ensures that your cat is able to stay where they are comfortable and have their food and water replenished daily, as well as their litter box. 

They’ll also benefit from human interaction, which will prevent them from feeling lonely. This is also the least disruptive, and most cost-effective option. 



Another option is for your cat to stay in a cattery. This is an establishment that cares for cats while their owners are away. 

However, if your cat is an adult and they aren’t used to catteries, they may struggle with this environment as they’ll be around other cats and people they don’t know. 

Therefore, if you know you are going to be away a lot, you should start to get your cat used to catteries while they are a kitten. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, cats are fine being left alone for around 24 hours, and some can even manage 48 hours. 

After this time period, their water will become dirty, as will their litter tray. They will also become lonely when left alone for too long. 

Cats, contrary to popular belief, are very social creatures who need interaction in order to thrive. This can come from humans or other animals. 

Therefore, if you’re going on vacation, your best bet is to have a family member, friend, or cat sitter come to your home to check in on your little pet once a day. 

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How Long Can You Leave A Cat Alone?

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