How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone For? [5 Purrfect Tips]

This guide was written by Joe Francis
Updated: December 5, 2019
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In this guide

Cat owners will be well aware that their feline friends like to take time to themselves. Cats can be quite solitary animal – although they can also become very attached to their owners – and you may find they take to a favourite hiding place now and again. However, despite your cats apparent aloofness and superiority, you need to make serious considerations before leaving it alone for any length of time.

When we are talking about leaving a cat alone, we don’t mean while you’re at work for the day. A cat will quite happily spend those hours alone – as long as it has fresh water and food – and will be happy to see you when you come in. But what about if you need to go away for a couple of days, or perhaps even longer?

Things become quite tricky when you have to leave a cat for more than a day, as while they are animals that look after themselves to a great degree, what cats need most vitally is water, and fresh water too. There is a general rule of thumb that should be applied here: the longest you should leave your cat unattended is 48 hours, and that length of time should be avoided if at all possible.

Despite what you may think, your cat will miss you when you are not there. They can suffer separation issues, and they may not appreciate being left alone. So, what can you do to make things easier for both you and your beloved cat? We have some tips that you might want to follow, so let’s have a look at them!

5 Tips for Leaving Your Cat

First, a reminder that your cat needs three essential things – fresh water, food and a litter tray. The latter can get full quite quickly, and you will find your cat will be reluctant to use it if it is dirty, and may get distressed. Likewise, water can go ‘stale’ very quickly, and cats like water fresh, so you need to make sure that – if you are going to be away for more than an overnight trip – there is someone who can at least drop by and give your cat fresh water, food and clear the litter tray. Which leads us to our first tip!

Get a Cat Sitter

There is always the option of putting your cat in a cattery of you are away for a holiday, but many people don’t like to do this, and the cat won’t enjoy it either. Cats are creatures of habit and they get used to their environment; to suddenly uplift it and place it in a strange place is not kind. The answer is to get a cat sitter for your time away from home. There are people who will stay in your home for a fee and look after the cat, but perhaps a friend would pop in a couple of times a day, give puss some food and water and make sure all is well? You might have a friend for whom you can repay the favour one day!

Leave Plenty Water?

This is one for is you are away for a couple of days, and no more: leave more bowls of water than you normally would around the house for your cat. This way, some may stay fresher than others, and the cat will be able to find water fit to drink all of the time.

Automated Feeders

An interesting idea comes in the shape of automated feeders, which you can teach the cat to use (they are surprisingly intelligent and will learn quickly). Some work by responding to your cat’s microchip, others to a chip on the cats collar, but they will only open for your cat (or cats) so the food remains fresh.

More than One Litter Box

This is a tip that is a sensible one even if you are not planning to leave your cat alone for a few days; have more than one litter box in the house, and let the cat get used to them. They will then fill up less quickly, leaving your cat with a clean litter box for longer.


Leaving a radio on is a good idea when you leave the cat alone in the house, as it may be soothed at the sound of voices and music. Also, make sure your cat has plenty to entertain itself with in the way of its favourite toys and other items, as it will become bored and concerned when you are not there.

Our Final Thoughts

The best answer to the question is, as we’ve said, that a cat should never be completely alone for more than 48 hours, and even that length of time should be avoided if at all possible. If you go on holiday, make sure a friend or family can visit the cat each day, and for overnight absences, make sure that kitty has plenty of fresh water, food and access to a clean litter tray.

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