How long can you leave a cat home alone?

Author picture Jessica

What is the maximum time you can leave a cat alone?

It’s best not to leave a cat alone for longer than 8-10 hours a day: a cat must have company at least once every day in order to remain happy and healthy. Cats may seem independent, but they have social, mental and physical needs just like any other pet.

Why can't I leave my cat alone all day?

You should never leave your cat alone for longer than a day because cats have needs that should be met for their health and well-being. 

  • Cats need mental and physical stimulation
  • Cats crave company
  • Cats need to maintain a routine
  • Cats have physical needs 

Cats need mental and physical stimulation:

Both mental and physical stimulation are super important for your cat. If you have to be out at work during the day, provide your cat with plenty of safe, stimulating activities to do. 

This includes access to platforms at various heights (vertical space is as important to a cat as horizontal space), scratching posts, puzzle games and secure spots to hide and sleep. Packing boxes make great cat mazes, and you can change the design whenever you get a new delivery.

A cat sitter is also a great option if you work full-time. Your sitter can drop by once or twice during the day to play with and cuddle your kitty.

Cats crave company:

Some cats might seem aloof, but they really do miss you when you aren't home and show their love in subtle ways. Notice that your cat always tends to be in the same room as you, or rubs their cheek on your hand, or sleeps at your feet? 

Cats certainly need free access to their own space, but they also need contact every day. Aside from a pet sitter, having the television or radio on with soft volume while you are out during the day helps to create a feeling of someone being at home. Another option might be to introduce another cat to your household. But only do this after carefully considering the implications of owning two pets and whether this would be the right choice for your cat.

Cats need to maintain a routine

Cats love a routine - including feeding times, sleep, playtime and so on. It can be quite stressful for a cat if you go on a holiday or have to suddenly work long hours, which might throw their routine up in the air. 

Likewise, cats relate to the world strongly through their surrounding environment, and, as such, dislike being moved out of their familiar home space. The unfamiliar scents and sights of a cattery can be overwhelming to many cats, and an in-home cat sitter instead may be a less stressful option.

Cats have physical needs

Cats, like all animals, need daily fresh food, water and exercise, otherwise, they risk health problems such as obesity or organ issues. 

Rather than using an automatic feeder or pet camera when you go away for a few days, it really is best to have a cat sitter check in to make sure nothing is amiss and your cat is safe and happy. The cat sitter can also clean out your cat’s litter, top-up their water and keep your cat company, which will help to keep your cat happier and more settled.