How Long Can You Leave Your Cat Alone?

Lonely cat

Cats have often been lauded for their independent natures. Unlike dogs, which require regular walks and frequent attention, cats seem more content with solitude. However, just because a cat can be left alone, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be. Here, we delve into the different facets of leaving your feline companion alone, and for how long.

How Long Can Cats Be Left Alone?

Adult cats, especially those that are used to being alone, can generally be left for 8-12 hours without any major concerns. This means that for those who work standard day jobs, leaving your cat at home is typically fine. However, there are variables to consider: the cat’s age, health status, and temperament. For instance, some cats may suffer from separation anxiety, which can create stress when left alone for long periods.

Can You Leave Kittens Alone?

Kittens are a different story altogether. These little bundles of energy need frequent meals, and they can get into a lot more mischief than their adult counterparts. Generally, it’s recommended not to leave kittens under six months alone for more than 2-4 hours. If you have to be away for a full workday, it’s advisable to have someone check in on the kitten mid-day to ensure its well-being.

Cat insurance from From Dog insurance from Coverage Contribution Own risk
petsecur logo €8.46 €12.11 €3.250 — €6.000 10% — 50% €0 — €150
per year
ohra logo €14.05 €17.77 €3.000 — €6.000 20% €30 — €50
per year
figopet logo €12.16 €17.42 €3.000 — €5.000 20% — 50% €0 — €250
per year
InShared logo €13.27 €20,14 €3.000 — €6.000 20% none View
Unive logo €13.86 €14.67 €2.500 — €5.000 20% none View
aegon logo €10.56 €13.14 €3.500 25% €25
per claim

Do Cats Get Lonely?

While cats are often perceived as solitary creatures, they do crave interaction and stimulation. Left alone for prolonged periods, they can become bored, lonely, or even anxious. Symptoms might include excessive meowing, destructive behavior, or over-grooming. Every cat’s temperament varies; while some may be perfectly content with long hours of solitude, others may crave more frequent human or animal companionship.

How to Keep Your Cat Busy While You’re Away

If you must leave your cat alone frequently:

  • Interactive Toys: Invest in puzzle toys that dispense treats or toys that mimic prey, like feather wands or laser toys.
  • Window Perches: Allow your cat a bird’s eye view. Watching the outdoors can be a form of entertainment.
  • Scratching Posts: They help cats stretch and keep their claws in check.
  • Background Noise: Some cats find comfort in the sound of a TV or radio. It can make them feel less alone.

Can You Leave Your Cat Alone for a Weekend?

If you’re planning a short weekend getaway, it might be tempting to leave enough food and water for your cat and head out. However, this isn’t the safest option. While many cats will be okay for a day or so, any longer can pose risks. Water bowls can be spilled, and cats can face medical emergencies. If you must be away for the weekend, consider having a friend or neighbor check in on your cat at least once a day.

What to Do with Your Cat When You Go on Holiday

For longer vacations:

  • Pet Hotels: There are cat-centric hotels that provide top-notch care and amenities in your absence.
  • Home Visits: Hire someone or ask a trusted friend to check in on your cat daily. They can feed, provide fresh water, clean the litter box, and offer some companionship.
  • Pet Sitters: Some sitters can stay at your home, ensuring your cat isn’t alone overnight.

When to Hire a Pet Sitter

If your cat has special needs, suffers from separation anxiety, or you’ll be away for more than a day, it’s wise to hire a pet sitter or ask someone you trust to step in. Look for sitters with good references and, if possible, certification from professional organizations. They’ll ensure your cat is fed, hydrated, entertained, and safe in your absence.


Cats may have a reputation for independence, but it’s crucial to consider their emotional and physical needs. Whether it’s for a few hours or a week, ensure your feline friend is cared for and stimulated. It’s not just about their survival; it’s about their well-being and happiness.

Looking for answers for
your furry friend?

Use our automatic Symptom Checker for advice on what to do next.

  • Answer questions about the issue to narrow down options
  • Wide range of symptoms and answers
  • Information on the most common toxic foods and household items
What seems to be the problem?
My dog Lily has vomited
Is there blood in the vomit?
Check Symptoms Now

Pet Resource Center