how long can you leave a cat home alone

vacuumfreakJanuary 18, 2007

I have a question! I spend the night with my friend who lives 2 hours away about once a week. I usually am gone for about 28 hours. I fill both sides of Jasper's food bowl up with dry food, and make sure the autowaterer is filled with fresh water before I go. I scoop the litter daily, but change it the day I leave for my friends house. I've done this since I've had him, so that's about five months now (which means he's 11 months old... boy how time flies!). I close the bedroom door, and make sure to dig his toys out from under the sofa before I go. When I get home, he is much more affecionate than normal. I will fill his food bowl up as soon as I get home, and he doesn't even go for it. He just kisses me and purrs and climbs all over me. I think he misses me as much as I him... the food obviously isn't an issue. I had considered buying an auto (gravity) feeder, but I don't believe in free feeding. Nothing has ever been destroyed or ruined, so that makes me trust him. Just wondering how long it is acceptable to leave a cat for. What do you think is safe/humane? I am going to spend a weekend next week away, but I'm taking Jasper with me. I can't be without him too long, and I know a whole weekend would be too much... if I leave Friday night and come back Monday morning, I better take him. How do I make the car trip (2 hours is a long time in a kitty carrier) easier for him? My friend loves Jasper, though doesn't have any pets of his own. He will be babysitting his mothers cat as well at that time, and the two have never met, so that will be interesting. Not the way I'd prefer to do things, but that's when my days off fall next week. The mom's cat is an older neutered male with shots... but very independent. So, I'm not worried about the transferring health issues... but what about sharing the litter box? What do you think? Thanks for any advice. Sure hope the older grouchy cat doesn't teach my sweety baby any bad habits!

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I've always been able to leave my cats for a full weekend. Friday to sunday anyways. But at the same time, I have two. They keep eachother so busy I doubt they really even realise we're gone. Also I have two friends with two spare keys for letting the dogs out when we go on day trips out of town. So if ever need be, they could go check on the cats for me. My cats have always been fine. Definately more affectionate and happy to see us, but they never seem stressed.

My sisters cat on the other hand, will loose all the fur on his tail if he's left alone for more than one night. He gets very very stressed, so now they take the kitties to her MILs house when they go away for longer than one night.

My calico is pro at being alone. Right after my father died, I went to stay two hours away with my sister for a week. I had someone come feed her and give her loves, and change the box. But for the most part she was alone. I would've taken her with me, but I think for her the stress of a car ridex2 plus two new kitties to deal with when she'd never even seen another animal would have been much more than staying at home for 5 days. It barely seemed to phase her.

As far as sharing the litter box, you may only have to worry if the cats really dont get along. Yours may hide and not want to come out, or the other may hide. The older kitty might hate sharing or vice versa. It might be best to pick up one of the cheap small litter boxes, just incase. They even make disposable litter boxes now, though I have no idea if they work well or not. I have no idea how to make the car trip easier. My calico cant stand being in the car. Our vet is not even a two minute drive away and sometimes I swear she thinks its going to kill her. She starts losing fur like crazy and howling and shaking. The vets recommended sedatives, but I'd prefer not to sedate my cats, and just leave them at home.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 11:33AM
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My cats are easy also because I have 4. They all keep each other company but I have never left them longer then a weekend. I think that 2 nights and 3 days is OK, as long as you have somebody come and check on them, make sure everything is okay and give them some love. My persian kitty is in heat about every other week, so just depending on if I leave on that week will depend on if somebody needs to go over and love on her and them.

Now, mixing the cats...I strongly suggest you be CAREFUL!! My cats are all used to being around each other and they are all fine with other cats but, my mom was moving to a new apartment one weekend and I told her she could bring her kitty over while she moved (for less stress on the kitty). Well she did and I stayed there with all of them for a while to make sure everything was okay and thank goodness I did. Well Seehr(my moms cat) freaked out!! She hissed, bit, scratched anything she could to whoever she could. She started hissing and biting at me when I tried to calm her down and when my persian saw that she freaked out. She did not like to see another cat smacking mommy. So they started in to it and lets just say, I got the worst of it because I jumped right in the middle of them. No way was I going to let them fight it out, so I got it. lol So how many people are laughing right now picturing this in your head??? lol :-) Tiny me, at home by myself, and the cats are fighting my dog watching (I have a boxer), and me bloody!! lol It does sound funny looking back!!! :-) Just be careful!!! Please??? For your babies sake, because you really don't know how she/he will react to another cat next to her owner.

Please post and let us know how it went!!! :-) Have a good trip!!

Thanks, Elycia

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 11:53AM
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How long a cat can be left alone, probably depends upon the personality of the cat.

A weekend with automatic food and water is probably fine for most cats. And with a neighbor or friend checking on the animal each day - they could probably go even longer.

I think the biggest concern is the litter box. If you have someone who will come and change the litter and spend some play time with kitty then you could be gone idefinitely.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 12:07PM
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I think the biggest issue is where they would sleep. I enjoy having my Jasper in bed with me every night... my friend doesn't think animals belong in bed. If we ever get "serious" we (HE)will have to compromise (give in). Thanks for advice... I will post outcome!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 2:35PM
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The longest we have left ours was for about 4 days.
I heard somewhere that turning on the radio or tv and leaving it on for the cat at a low volume can help with their loneliness while you're gone. It is reassuring to them and soothing to hear the human voices.

I think as long as they have food and water,most cats are ok.They are much less needy then dogs and can usually find ways to entertain's nice to know you are missed when gone!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 2:50PM
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Personally, I would leave Jasper at home for the weekend rather than subject him to a two hour car ride each way and then being subjected to a strange place and strange feline on top of it all. That is, if I'm reading your post correctly. My cats yowl the whole eight minute drive to the vet's office...I don't know what Jasper is like in that area. Ask a neighbor to pop in once over the weekend and scoop his litter box, that should be sufficient.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 8:09PM
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My cat Sofie does not mind traveling at all and would not like it to be alone without me. Every cat is different. So you might consider having people come in to visit and socialize with him while you are gone.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 8:35PM
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I've left my eight cats for two days and one night, but not since I've had the kitten. I fed them wet food in the morning I left and had bowls of dry and four water dishes which I always have anyway and they have eight litter boxes so all was well. I wouldn't go for longer with out someone coming in.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 12:33AM
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I agree with Junebug. I think it would be way to stressful for Jasper.
If you can't get a neighbor to clean the litter box once you could get a second one for the weekend.
We have two at the moment but had three for along time. The longest we left them alone is 5 days. Lots of food and several litter boxes. They seemed to have no ill effects.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 6:18AM
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I agree with junebug as well. Cat's don't handle travel, changes, etc the way dogs do. I would think that the travel, strange house, strange cat would be very hard for Jasper. Might spend most of his time stressed out or hiding.

Me personally, I wouldn't leave for longer than a weekend with no one checking on mine. I would be just too worried - which doesn't mean they wouldn't be OK. But we have relatives down the street that can peek in on them if we needed to be gone longer than a weekend.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 3:00PM
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How is he travelling?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 9:59PM
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I agree with junebug. Leave him in his comfortable home and don't chance upsetting the balance. You also need to consider the other cat...........the visit from a strange cat may start some unwanted behaviors and your weekend could be ruined by cats that are fighting. does the Mom feel about another cat coming into her home? Personally, I wouldn't be happy about it.

Leave extra bowls of food, a second litter box, a radio or TV on and all should be fine.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 11:40AM
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How does the cat take to travelling? Not all cats hate it. I have travelled with my cat and kept her confined to a room with me, which was not a hard ship.

All cats are different.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 11:31PM
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Jasper doesn't love to travel, he cries in the car. Even for short distances, so maybe it would be less stressful for all parties to leave him alone if I just prepare the place properly first. Annz... Mom's cat is at my friend's house... not hers! She wouldn't know about my cat interacting with her cat because she doesn't know about me... her son, my friend isn't "out of the closet" yet, so I'm a secret for now. But that's a whole other discussion! Thanks for all the advice!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 12:08AM
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I agree that if your cat isn't used to traveling, leave him home. I think the longest I've left my cats for was around a little over a week, maybe 8 or 9 days - I really don't remember. We had neighbors come and check on them every day, and feed them and such. They did fine. I wouldn't make a habit of it though.

There was a lady that came into the nursery I work at looking for flea control for her cat and her home. One of the things I recommended was to vacuum every day. She said she couldn't ask her neighbor to do that. Turns out the lady was a flight attendant and was only home 1 or 2 days a week - the neighbor took care of the cat the rest of the time. That, to me, is abuse. That, to me, is her neighbor's cat that just happens to live in her house. Sad. But, that's not what you're doing.

Thinking of traveling with cats reminds me of the book, "The Cat Who Went to Paris." I don't remember the author's name, but it was a non-fiction account of his life with his cat, and how they went everywhere together. It's an amusing book that I recommend to cat lovers.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 11:52AM
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