Leaving Сat Alone: How Long is it Ok?

A study shows that many cats suffer from loneliness and develop behavioral problems. Read here about the factors that determine whether and how long the cat can stay alone.

Cats are still seen as loners, as independent animals, for which humans are actually only can openers and tolerated personnel. Compared to the dog, it is considered to be a less expensive pet. You don’t have to take her for a walk and you can leave her alone for a long time.

But new studies show that indoor cats, in particular, have problems being separated from their owners. While the subject of “separation anxiety” has been studied extensively in dogs, there have been no large-scale studies on cat behavior for a long time.

How Long Can a Cat Stay Alone?

No cat should be completely alone for more than two days (48 hours). Particularly affectionate cats that want to spend a lot of time with people are allowed to be alone for a maximum of 24 hours. And of course not several times in a row. But these are only guidelines. How long it’s okay to leave the cat alone also depends on the following factors:

  • age
  • health status
  • single cat or multi-cat household
  • pure indoor cat or outdoor cat

These Cats Should Never be Left Alone for Hours at a Time:

  • young cats
  • cats that have just moved to a new home
  • cat seniors
  • sick cats (Should their state of health suddenly deteriorate, quick action is required.)

These Cats Can Also Go Longer Without an Owner:

  • Outdoor cats
  • Cats that live harmoniously with other cats

Of course, the prerequisite is always that the cat has plenty of toys, clean litter boxes, and sufficient food and water!

Make it More Comfortable for the Cat to Be Alone

Even before buying a cat, you have to think about whether you can devote enough time and attention to your pet. Many working cat owners often have to leave their pets alone for several hours five days a week. A species-appropriate cat-keeping without loneliness is also possible. These factors shorten a cat’s solitude, for example when kept indoors:

  1. Furnishings are suitable for cats with lots of climbing opportunities and observation posts with a view.
  2. A conspecific for playing, romping, and cuddling.
  3. Cat flap for (balcony) doors so that the cat can get onto the well-secured balcony or outside on its own.
  4. Many playing options with variety (regular exchange to keep the appeal of the new).
  5. Employment opportunities (e.g. cardboard in the living room with rustling paper, hiding treats in the apartment, building a cave with a blanket, leaving a worn sweater on the floor).

So cats can feel lonely, but with the right amenities and lots of play options, you can make the wait until you come home more comfortable.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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