As a cat owner, you likely know the profound difference in personality when comparing your furry feline with, say, a dog. While most dogs need fairly consistent attention and crave the affection of their pet parent, cats tend to be just fine with prolonged periods of alone time.
With it being summer time, you’re likely looking to get away or take a weekend retreat to a favorite vacation spot. Now you may be asking, “My cat should fine with being left alone for a long weekend then, right? As you said, they’re solitary creatures!”. Well, yes and no. While cats do tend to be okay without the constant attention of their owners, that doesn’t mean they should be left alone for 4 to 7 days at a time.
Let’s talk about some of the reasons that leaving your cat alone for a long weekend may not be in your best interest.
Long Periods of Alone Time May Cause Your Cat Stress
As a proud cat parent, you likely shower them in all the cat toys they could ever possibly want. With so many things to hold their attention, what could be the harm in leaving them alone for a few days?
Although your cat is sure to enjoy all of the neat cat toys you’ve supplied for them, they can’t replace you! Cats are creatures of routine, and when they form a bond with their owner, they bond with them as an essential part of their environment. Ever heard the phrase, “you never own a cat, the cat owns you”? It’s true!
Prolonged periods alone can throw your cat’s routine off balance and cause a lot of unnecessary stress because they miss you! Although cats are independent animals and they may not necessarily bolt to the door and tackle you when you come home the way our canine friends might, they do genuinely love you. As their pet parent, they sincerely need human interaction and, without it, they’ll likely be stressed out.
Consider the Cleanup
As you know from experience, cats are clean freaks. While cat owners love the minimal upkeep required when it comes to their pet’s bathroom habits, this perfect balance can be thrown off pretty easily. Cats will opt to discontinue usage of their litter box if too much waste builds up. I mean, who can blame them?
Because of this, a prolonged period alone will most certainly result in a reasonable amount of waste buildup in their litter boxes. Once your cat gets particular and decides this is no longer a good place for using the bathroom, they’ll start to use it ANYWHERE else. Do you want to come home to that kind of a mess?
Have to Leave Your Cat Alone?
If you have to leave your cat alone for a long weekend, you should at least take every precaution to ensure the least amount of stress possible for your cat. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to make the process go a little more smoothly.
Phone a Friend
It’s best practice to consider finding a pet sitter when going on vacation rather than assuming your independent cat can fend for themselves. Before setting up your vacation plans, phone a friend, and ask if they’d mind looking after Fluffy for a few days.
The Distraction of Playtime
Although we’ve discussed that no amount of cat toys in the world are a suitable replacement for the love and attention that you provide, they are essential if you absolutely must leave your cat alone for a long weekend.
Stock up on a large quantity of cat toys in many different fun varieties. While Fluffy will still certainly notice your absence, it may not be quite as traumatic as it could have been- especially if this is your cat’s first prolonged period away from you.
When that inevitable boredom starts to kick in, your cat will take this opportunity of unsupervised playtime to explore all of the dangers you were there to protect them from in the past. Before going off on any vacation without your cat, make sure that your home is thoroughly cat-proofed. Triple-check possible escape/entry points around your home, for example. Your cat’s safety should come before all else.
Leaving your cat at home while you are away for a short amount of time shouldn’t be a problem because most cats love their independence. However, if you’re expecting to go away for a more extended period, ensure that you plan to make sure your cat is as comfortable as possible. And if your cat’s acting strangely when you return home, don’t hesitate to call us!