Most cat parents get stressed at the thought of having to leave their cat, even if it’s only for a couple of days. And while you might be tempted to leave your cat for a weekend and just leave enough food and water for her, this is simply not a good idea.

Dr. Mikel Delgado, a feline behaviorist, owner of Feline Minds, and a post-doctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, recommends not leaving your cat alone without someone coming to check on her for more than 24 hours. ““Cats may overeat due to stress, knock over their water dish, or get injured — so it’s not okay to just leave them with a big bowl of food and keep your fingers crossed,” Delgado told Inverse.

For more information, please read How long can I leave my cat alone on Inverse.

If you don’t have a trusted friend or family member who can care for your cat while you’re away, it’s best to hire a professional cat sitter. You can find my tips on what to look for when hiring a sitter here.

Photo by Chen on Unsplash

13 Comments on How Long Can You Leave Your Cat Alone?

  1. I went away for the weekend for a wedding, leaving my husband to care for my cats. He wasn’t one to do a head count at mealtimes or bedtime. When I came home, one of my cats was not around. I found her down on the cold basement floor, her head pinned under the leg of the folded ironing board. No idea why she went down there poking around, but there you are. She was in shock when I got her to the vet and her heart stopped and she was gone.

  2. I don’t have any family and have no friends who could help me out with petsitting. I’ve had several very bad experiences with petsitters when I traveled which includes at least one who stole from me and resented my asking her for a text update after visits. Last March I had an injury and to be in the hospital for a week so I called my vet for a recommendation and got the most wonderful petsitter I’ve ever had. They installed a lock box on the side of my house so if I have to be gone unexpectedly, I can call them. And they did a wonderful job and texted me with updates and pictures after every visit without my asking. I also have cameras so when I have to be gone I can check up on my cats and I even do that when I’m out for a couple of hours. It gives me peace of mind since they are more important to me then anything else in the world.

  3. When I was in the hospital for 6 days, and my brother came in from Chicago, I still had a cat sitter come 2x day to take care of my little girl to give her meds and clean the litter box and feed her. My brother is a dog person and I would not trust him to take care of my little girl.

  4. I was fortunate to find a very good cat sitter who I paid to come twice a day, but I still stressed when I had to leave them. No one can take care of your babies like you can! Also best to have at least 2 kitties so they always have company.

  5. No matter what… Would not leave the kids home alone. Cats can fill a potty box fast. Then leave for a weekend! NO! Cats need their parents! If like to go places, take them along, get a reliable caretaker for daily home visits. Or don’t get fur kids!


  6. I would never leave my cats alone. I haven’t been on vacation in years I won’t leave them in a kennel or a stranger too take care of them. Something you could happen and I would feel guilty if it does and I don’t trust anyone with them.

  7. I hate thinking about leaving my cats alone. I don’t even like to leave the house for long and leave them alone. They are all so attached to us. I don’t like disrupting their routines.

  8. I just could not leave my cat alone for more than 8 hours. Even that seems far too long especially now after spending so much time together during the lockdown. I try to take her with me when I travel but when I can’t I have a trusted friend who comes to feed her. I know at some point I will need to hire a cat sitter to come once a day while I am gone. Her litter needs to be cleaned, her water needs to be changed and she needs a little attention too!

  9. I don’t trust anyone with my cats, now two are on thyroid medication and one has only 3 legs and one of the thyroid boys has heart failure. I take them for boarding where they are well known, and can be transferred to my local vet if needed. Since COVID we have only been away for a week at a time four times in 2 years.

  10. We have six but one of them is disabled – his back legs stopped working 3 years ago – so he needs help every few hours for ‘necessary things’ haha! He’s such a good boy. At night, he sleeps in his bed next to mine, and calls me when he needs something – he’s hungry, he needs to poo tray, he’s cold/hot; I use a process of elimination to discover which haha!. He’s such a darling boy and he knows I love him, and I know he loves me!

    The others are fairly normal, but I hate leaving them for more than a few hours, half a day at max.

  11. Food, and water are needed, but a clean waste disposal would have to be. I recommend a cat sitter. Things happen, and cats are sor of children. Curiosity “can” kill them. Or at some point hurt them.

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