How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone?

And other considerations to keep in mind


JUNE 22, 2021

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Cats are great companions for people of all ages thanks to their playful, affectionate nature. Plus, their independence and overall cleanliness make them a great choice of pet for home and apartment living alike. Another perk of owning a feline? These independent creatures can be left alone longer than a dog. Still, the question remains: How long can you leave a cat alone? Cats are social creatures, after all. Here are a few considerations before leaving your cat solo for any length of time whether you’re going to work, leaving for a weekend, or taking a weeklong vacation:

Leaving a cat alone

Veterinarians recommend leaving cats home alone no more than 24 hours. The length of time will depend on a few factors, however, including:

  • Age and health of your cat. An older animal with medical requirements may need someone checking on them every few hours, while a younger animal may be fine staying home alone all day.

  • Breed. Some cat breeds are more easygoing and independent than others. If you work long hours or spend frequent weekends away, consider a breed such as Persian, Ocicat, Maine Coon, and Russian Blue.

  • Personality. Research shows that cats have distinct personality traits called the “Feline Five.” Your snuggly, social cat that loves to curl up next to you may not enjoy being left alone as much as, say, a cat with a neurotic or impulsive personality.

Start out slow

Plan to start slow when establishing new routines or patterns. Instead of leaving a cat alone for a week or weekend, try a half-day away first, and have a sitter check on your pet. Leave your cat for a half-hour or an hour at a time, and work your way up before you head back to the office.

Offer fresh food and water

Make sure your cat has plenty of food and fresh water for the duration of your absence. Invest in an automatic feeder, or fill their bowl with extra food. If you’re leaving for vacation and will have a sitter check in daily, make sure to leave water bowls around the house so your cat never runs out.

Clean the litter box

Scoop the litter box at least once every day or every two days so your cat has a clean “bathroom.” Otherwise, they may find another place to do their business.

Keep them occupied

A bored cat can quickly turn into a destructive cat who scratches up your sofa. Make sure they have plenty of entertainment in the interim to stay mentally stimulated. The best toys for cats home alone are the toys they like to play with. Leave their comfort items and favorite toys scattered throughout the house. Purchase a puzzle feeder, position their bed near a window, and invest in a cat tree or scratching post. Adding background noise like a TV or radio can help calm the nerves of an anxious cat.


It’s easy to overlook a pet after a long day at work, but make sure to provide plenty of companionship to your animal when you do come home. You might consider getting another animal to help with the socialization if you plan to be away regularly.

Create routine

Much like humans, cats are also creatures of habit that thrive on routine. Check in on your cat at the same time each day so they know when to expect you. Feed them at the same time of day, and schedule regular bonding time upon your return.

Look for signs of stress

Is your cat’s appetite still healthy? Do you notice litter box changes or digestive issues? Is your cat grooming constantly, or scratching and licking excessively? These might be signs your cat is anxious or lonely. Consult your veterinarian to determine a solution.

Consider a kennel or sitter

Going on vacation and can’t bring your cat or kitten? You’ll have to find a reliable solution that works best for your animal and gives you the peace of mind. Hire a pet sitter who bonds well with your animal, and have that person come over to get a sense of your cat’s daily routine, likes, and dislikes. A pet sitter is also a great idea for weekend trips and even while you’re at work. If you’d prefer boarding your cat, talk to your vet about your options. An older animal with medical needs may do best at a kennel under the supervision of your veterinarian.

Monitor your pet

No matter where you go or how long you’re gone, keep tabs on your cat by investing in indoor cameras that allow you to monitor your feline’s actions; it’s likely you’ll see them mostly sleeping. Pet-specific cameras also allow you to talk to your animal and dispense treats throughout the day.

Be sure to adjust any home security motion sensors, including curtain detectors and glass break sensors, in your home to accommodate the presence of your pet and to avoid false alarms getting triggered.

A little bit of planning and a good routine ensures that your cat will remain comfortable at home while you’re away. Contact Brinks Home™ to see how a home security system can keep you and your feline companions safe and secure.

Allison Clark is a senior writer for Brinks Home. She enjoys educating others on the benefits of smart home security and using technology to simplify everyday life.

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