Cats have a reputation for being low maintenance pets, but they still need time from their owners for care and attention. This is especially true for indoor cats as they can quickly become bored and anxious if their owners are away from home for long periods of time.
This makes leaving them for a quick weekend difficult to negotiate. It’s possible to leave your indoor cat alone for about two days or over a weekend, but you are going to need to take some steps to make sure that they will be okay on their own. Here’s a list of the steps we think you should take. Read the full article to understand the reasoning behind the points we make and other things you should consider when leaving an indoor cat alone.
Will my cat be okay if I leave an indoor cat alone for a weekend?
The first concern you will probably have about leaving your cat for a weekend will be their basic needs. Food, water, and clean litter. These basic needs can reasonably easily be solved, so we’ll go over them later. Something that new owners may not consider is their pet’s entertainment.
Your cat is probably going to become a little anxious and bored if you suddenly leave for a weekend. Indoor cats should This may seem like a fairly minor issue, but bored cats can get into all sorts of trouble. Its common for indoor cat owners to come back from a short break to find their house and possessions destroyed after their cat has tried to entertain themselves.
A weekend may not seem like a long time but if you are usually at home for the evening your cat will be confused and have no real understanding of when you will be back. Scared and anxious cats can act out in ways like continuously meowing or spraying around the house.
The exact way that a cat will respond will depend on their personality. Some cats will be absolutely fine by themselves indoors for a weekend and others might become very upset. You may have a rough idea of how needy your cat is for your attention. In any case, you can alleviate your cat’s anxiety by tiring them out with play before you leave, and giving them new entertainment for when you are gone. A new cardboard box to explore or some hidden treats around the house can be a fun new activity to keep them occupied.
The risk of your cat becoming anxious or bored is alleviated if you have another cat around the house to keep them company. A cat that is more confident in the house that they live in is also less likely to become worried after they are separated from their owner for a while.
How much food and water do indoor cats need when left alone for a weekend?
Its important that you give your cat enough water while you are gone. A large water bowl will probably last for at least two days for your cat if they are eating dry food. While normally you should be refreshing your cat’s water bowl every day to keep it clean, filling up a bowl to last for two days should be fine occasionally.
If your cat is clumsy or play fights with your other indoor cats, there is a possibility of them knocking and spilling their water. We like to leave an extra source of water in a wide and heavy bowl before we leave just in case something does happen. In a pinch, you can even leave the toilet lid up so your cat has an emergency source of water.
Leaving food out for your cat is a bit trickier. Your cat should ideally be eating the same amount of food as they normally do while you are gone. You can try to fill their food bowl with enough dry food to last them for the two days, but cats that aren’t used to having an open food bowl have a tendency to gorge themselves until they vomit. Coming back to piles of cat sick is not a good way to be welcomed back into your home.
If you are regularly outside of the house, we would strongly recommend getting an automated cat feeder and filling it with high quality dry food. These machines usually have timers which let you dose out exact amounts of dry food at different times per day. We generally prefer the electronic ones because they tend to be better built. Spring loaded timed feeding pods may seem like a good deal but it’s fairly easy for a destructive cat to break them open early. Plus you will only be able to use them for one meal before resetting them. Check out our comprehensive guide on automated cat feeders coming in the future.
No matter what solution you come up with for leaving your cat alone, we would recommend testing it out while you are still at home to see how your cat behaves. Depending on your conditions they might need more water or a different type of food to keep them going during your time away.
How to leave an indoor cat alone for the weekend
Leaving your cat alone for an evening or two can give you some anxiety. Its common to second guess yourself if you have left out the right amenities and removed dangerous objects before leaving. Here’s our comprehensive list on how to leave a cat alone for a weekend?
1. Make sure that you have put everything that your cat could destroy away.
Even if your cat is normally well behaved, the boredom of you being away might cause them to be a bit destructive to keep themselves entertained. If your cat has pica or likes to chew on a particular object, there’s a good chance that they will take this as an opportunity to
Pay special attention to objects and foods that are harmful or deadly to cats. In particular this includes chocolate, strings, garlic, and grapes. These can be deadly or cause stomach problems for your cat. In either case their outcomes are not nice to return to.
2. Jam doors open
Its easy for a cat to become trapped in a room if they accidentally knock a door closed during play. This is especially dangerous if they are sealed off from their litter box or food and water. Jam doors open with door wedges or large objects like a foot stool so this doesn’t happen while you are gone. You should also seal off potential spaces your cat could get stuck in or escape from
Its rare to happen, but indoor cats can become lost or stuck inside of the house. Seal off crawl spaces where your cat may get into trouble. Common spaces include wardrobes, cupboards, and space under the bed.
3. Freshen litter boxes
Make sure that your cat’s litter box is completely fresh before you leave so there is less of a chance for an accident to happen. If your cat goes to the toilet a lot or is picky about their litter, leave an extra litter box for them to use. If you don’t want to buy another litter tray a single use roasting tray can work for one time.
4. Clean and fill water and food bowls
Clean out food and water bowls and fill them as we suggested earlier. It could be a good idea to put water bowls on top of a mat to stop water damage if water spills while you are gone. If you use an automated feeder, make sure that it is full and set to the right times and amounts for while you are gone.
5. Leave some extra entertainment
Give your cat something new to be entertained with while you are gone. Passive play toys are a good option for this but equally a box some holes cut out and ping pong balls could be just as good. You can get creative and make something that you know your cat will like in particular.
Leaving small treats for them to hunt down around the hose is also a great way to keep them entertained and motivated to be active while you are gone.
6. Set the temperature
If you are going to gone while the temperature changes, you could consider putting the heating or air conditioning on a timer so your cat is comfy. This normally won’t always be necessary, cats are comfortable in a fairly wide range of temperatures. Look out for cold snaps that might send the temperature inside of your home below 45°F. If you think it will get cold, leave out extra blankets and beds for your cat to get comfy in.
7. Take photos or a a video to put your mind at east
If you have taken all of these steps and more, you will probably still second guess yourself after locking up the house and leaving your cat for the weekend. A good way to put yourself at ease is to take a video or set of photos of your cat’s set up just before you leave. This will give you a chance to remind yourself that you did leave out enough water or block doors open for your precious cat before leaving them.
8. Introduce yourself again when you get home
When you get home, it’s very normal for your cat to act like they don’t know you. This can be a bit painful, especially if you have missed them lots. The truth is your cat probably has missed you. We aren’t just saying that. Cats come to depend on their owners and with you away for the weekend they probably realized just how much they rely on you for fun and food.
Your cat may be a little upset, but they may also just be unfamiliar with your scent after you have been away from your home for a while. Give your cat some space for a bit and they will eventually warm back up to you like normal. A couple of treats will probably help along the way.
Indoor cats can be left alone for a weekend at home by themselves but you need to take some steps to make sure that they have everything that they need as well as the capacity to entertain themselves. In particular, you need to make sure that the house is in a safe state for your cat to be left alone in and that they have access to the essentials. Outside of this, you should try to help them with the boredom and anxiousness of being separated from you for a whole weekend. If you’ve taken the steps we’ve written about we think you can be confident that your cat will be happy while you are out. We hope both you and your cat have a good time while you are out of the house!
Leaving an indoor cat alone for a day or more should not be a regular occurrence. Indoor cats normally need interaction with their owners to socialize and play with to stay mentally and physically healthy.