Leaving Cat Alone While on Vacation

What are the dangers of leaving an indoor cat in the home for 30 days if they are checked only twice per week. They are accustomed to being alone for 8 hours per day.

By Sharon S. from Huntington, WV

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As long as the litter box is changed, dry food and water is available the cat should be fine. Cats are independent pets and do not need the amount of attention and care that dogs require. Just be sure to leave a toilet seat up as an emergency in case their water bowl runs dry.

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My DIL left their Kitty with several bowls of water and the litter box and their neighbor came over periodically to just make sure she was ok and to scoop the litter box. Kitty was fine. She got to sleep wherever she wanted while Mama was away! Ha! They had an automatic feeder that the neighbor made sure worked. My suggestion is that if you leave the toliet open for emergencies, please make sure you haven't got any cleaner in it like Tidy Bowl or those wire hanging deoderizers. That could be harmful. Also, consider if you are leaving the air conditioner on in hot climates, or at least an attic fan for good ventilation. You don't want your kitty to overheat! Good Luck! Hamnurse

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I have a friend who's cat got stuck upside down behind the hot water heater in her bedroom closet. The cat almost died from heat & dehydration. This happened while she was at work. You'd have to be VERY careful about the cat's surroundings & make sure he or she couldn't strangle themselves by being caught in a drapery cord or something such as this & make sure all the toilets lid's are shut! Also, you'd have to make sure that there's always adequate water available.

I would never leave my cat alone for even one night. I worry when I have to leave him home alone for 10 hours every Saturday during the spring/summer months when I'm at work. I am so thrilled to see that everything's okay with him when I return that I breath a HUGE sigh of relief! My cat would be very depressed if I was gone often, in fact he looks around everywhere for my partner on the 2 days a week he goes to the gym & happily greets him at the door when he arrives home.

You should have someone check on your cat daily! (even if you have to pay a reliable neighborhood teenager) I checked in on a cat for 2 weeks for a neighbor when I was a teen. $50 should be enough... All they need to do is feed & water you cat daily & maybe play with him a bit too. Make sure the teens parents keep an eye on their child's job & it's done right & they never miss a day!

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My sister does this fairly often without any problems. She puts the litter box in the bathtub in case there is a turn over accident. She has a self waterer and feeder and shuts all doors to most rooms and cainets and has never had a problem. Her only concern is that the person checking them will allow them to get out and then be unable to catch them.

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How would you like it if you were used to having companionship 16 hours a day and then only had it for an hour or two a week? When my husband and I go on vacation (and we haven't in 3 years due to finances) we have one of his brothers stay at our house. If we didn't have them, we would board her. Maybe some cats are independent and don't need attention, but mine sure does.

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My husband and I have gone away for 10 days and left our 3 cats at home with no problems. Our daughter came in daily to check on them and make sure they had food and water. Just make sure you eliminate as many hazards as you can before you leave.

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Gee that is a good question. I have eight cats now and it would be way too expensive to board. I think that I would have to have someone stay with them. I have only gone away once leaving six behind. I did call home twice a day though.

Good Luck.

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I agree totally with Cyinda and Thriftyboo. Please get some-one to check on her at least daily. Cats may choose to be independent but no cat would choose to be locked in for a month all on it's own. You can't explain to an animal that you are coming back eventually. If something went wrong how would you feel?


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I have left my cat home for a 10 day vacation. I had someone come into the house each day to check on her. They made sure she had food and water and also cleaned the litter box. Although they never saw her when they came to the house to check on her food/water situation, I felt better having someone check on her. I think I would be nervous to go away for 30 days without someone staying at the house. As it is, I get nervous every time I go on vacation. My cat definitely requires more attention when we get home and does meow a lot more the day we get home. She definitely misses us!

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I just remembered something else that we always do when we have to leave the cat at home. We call her! We'll call the house, and when the answering machine beeps for us to leave a message, we call her name and talk to her for a minute. We do this 2-3 times a day every day.

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I've gone on vacation for up to a week and left my cats here with no problems. Like you, I had someone come in and check on them. Although I'd suggest every day instead of just twice a week. Or at the very least every other day.

Along with all the other things people have suggested, I also left my TV turned on with Animal Planet playing (the sounds of the animals on there would keep him occupied for periods of time, and it also wouldn't be so quiet in here when he's used to noises). I always set up one cat box per day (if the person checking will be scooping, then I'd set up one per day that the person won't be coming). I always used the large aluminum roasting pans. They do the trick and aren't expensive, so you don't feel bad about tossing them in the trash when you get home.

Also, if you have a small battery powered toy that runs around the house (like a mouse or something) that your friend could start up as she's leaving, it would occupy the cat for a while too. Even better if you have rechargeable batteries so all she has to do is swap out batteries in the charger.

Keeping the toilet seat up is a great idea, but tie the seat up! The seats fall easily and you don't want her to be trapped inside the toilet. But if you just tie it up to the tank it would be fine. And keep at least one window curtain open so that she can get some sunshine. If you can set up a small table for her to sit at the window that would be great too. She'll want to sit and look outside and also to watch for you to come home.

30 days is an awfully long time though, even for a cat. I don't believe in boarding (my dog was almost dead the last time I picked her up from being boarded at the vet, so I never do anymore), but I understand that you may not have anyone who can come and house/cat sit for you. But I do hope you don't plan on very many 30 day trips without her. I usually take my pets with me (dogs and cats, even hamster) on vacation.

Whatever you decide, if you'll just keep these suggestions (mine and other's) in mind, your cat should be okay.

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The thing I always make sure to do in hot weather is the same thing hamnurse suggests, and that is leave the air conditioner on. Just like people animals can get heat stroke.

I never leave my cat (nor any cats over the past three decades) without someone I trust coming in every single day. I offer them to have free reign and hang out to watch movies, eat if they want to, and stay the night if they want to as a vacation from their own home ;-) They have fun and kitty has company ;-)

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I would make sure someone comes in at least twice a week and check food and water. I would make sure air condition is left on maybe a little higher than if you were home but please leave on. Homes do get hot if no air condition is on.

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I don't think twice a week is enough really - perhaps you could get your friend to come every day just to check - I lived next door to someone who did this for their dogs and I was at the point of calling the animal welfare people because the access door slammed shut and they were left locked in the laundry with no food and water - also cats need their water changed every day.

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Your cat is not going to like being alone for all this time. If it was my cat, I would like it to be checked every day. However, if safety is the only issue, it depends very much on the cat. I am not concerned that my cat would get himself stuck someplace, as he is very non-adventuresome. Some cats might have a tendency to get into trouble with all this time on their hands-- exploring in the furnace room and so on. In the past, I have taken my cats to stay at a friend's house, but the cats I have now would be very upset by this. They would prefer to be home alone rather than be at another house, or to be put in a boarding kennel. If this is the best arrangement you can make, to be checked only twice a week, it may have to do, and your cat should be safe, but likely disgruntled when you return. I wonder if it would be possible for you to find a neighbour kid who could come over and play with the cat daily, or a few times a week, in addition to the person who is coming to check the house. Even if all this kid did was lounge on your couch, watch TV, and pet the cat for an hour or so, it would dramatically improve your cat's mood.

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Cats are not as independent as people would like to think. They are social creatures, and need plenty of attention. Twice a week for a full month is not enough attention for the poor thing, especially without another feline companion.

There are dangers in all sorts of things too.I came home to find one of my cats dead, strangled in a bedspread fringe once. It was extremely traumatic, as I consider my cats members of my family.

I would enlist more friends and neighbours to come by, so ideally kitty is visited once per day.

I would put out more litter boxes too. My cousin had her mom look after her cat; Mom shut the bedroom door, cutting off kitty's access to her poopy box. Kitty used the leather couch instead!

Many insurance policies are void if your house is not checked daily as well.

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I do not believe that only twice a week is often enough. You need someone to check on your cat(s) at least once per day to make sure that they are okay, to clean out the litter box(es), and to make sure there is clean water and food.

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I wpuld NEVER leave a pet again in a boarding kennel. Firstly, we had a great dog that would NEVER go the the bathroom any where except out side. We told the people at the kennel that, and we were gone 3 days, and he hadn't done one thing because all they did was open the gate to the outside cement run, he would not go on the floor. He was quite ill after those three days and we had to take him directly to the vet from the kennel.

Secondly, I worked in a kennel, for a VERY short time, I don't know about them all, but after their people left, they were sedated and put in much crampier crates or cages. And some of the cats were put in cages with other cats they didn't know. I worked there for 1 week and refused to treat the animals that way and quit, it was a nightmare to see. I would stay home if I did not have another alternative , like family or friends to come in.

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I just got home from checking on my daughter's sweet kitty while she is on a week long vacation. The arrangement we made was for me to go every other day and her in-laws to go on the days I could not. And this has worked out as far as providing food, water, and cleaning the litter box. However, due to other responsibilities, I could not spend as much time playing with her, grooming her, just being with her, as I could see she craved. So my advise is to find a trusted individual that can possibly move into your home and stay while you are gone.

If your cat is used to being alone for 8 hrs a day, then most likely your pet sitter would also need to leave the home for probably the same amount...if not, then have someone to go every other day at the least. I put catnip out for Tisa, and brought new toys for her. I spent one night but could not stay long the next day. She loved that as she is used to sleeping with her parents. I wish I could have stayed every night there. Oh, and put out more than one water bowl, and food bowl, for back up just in case a problem arises and the caretaker cannot get there on time or that day. I put extra food and water out just in case, cats get very stressed when their routines are messed up and doing whatever you can to assure them they will still have food and water at least is one less stress. God bless your kitty.

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In This Article
An orange cat sitting on a window sill.
Leaving a Cat Alone While on Vacation
Pets CatsJune 9, 2009
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