Leaving Your Feline Friend Alone: How Long Is Too Long?

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Cats are well known for being a bit more aloof than dogs. They tend to prefer their space, and many of them seem to be fond of alone time. So when you’re preparing to leave on a weekend trip, a vacation, or even just an overnight out of town, you might consider the possibility of leaving your feline friend alone for a while. But how long is too long? Before you decide on the best care options for your pet during your absence, consider a few important factors. Absence-Related Anxiety Cats are highly intelligent, and they can be deeply bonded to their owners. Though they may not show affection as readily as other pets, such as dogs, their owner’s departure can affect them significantly. Some cats take an owner’s lengthy absence very hard, engaging in anxiety behaviors or acting out in unusual ways. Consider scheduling a cat visit or two for your pet, even during a short absence. The presence of another human to offer kind words and care may alleviate some of your cat’s worries. The Litter Box Even if your cat can handle being alone for a couple of days with minimal emotional stress, he or she won’t enjoy using a filthy litter box during that time period. Cats have standards of cleanliness and propriety, and if those standards aren’t being met, they may engage in protest behaviors, such as relieving themselves outside the box. It’s recommended to scoop feces out of a cat’s litter box once daily, or more often if there’s an especially smelly mess. Of course, this poses a problem if you’re absent for a while—another reason why leaving your cat alone for more than 24-36 hours is not a good idea. Entertainment Purchase a new cat toy or two that will catch your feline friend’s interest and provide hours of amusement while you’re away. Tracks with light-up balls that race around them, ripple rugs, Cat Dancer Chasers, mylar crinkle balls, spring toys, puzzles, or even a set of cardboard boxes will be fascinating for your cat. Leaving the radio or TV on can also give your cat something to watch or listen to, providing a sense of companionship thanks to those human voices.  Catnip toys are also fun, but be sure they are well-sewn so your cat can rip them apart in your absence and choke on any of the string or parts. Safety and Medical Needs What if your pet is injured or becomes ill while you’re gone? Even if you’ve prepared the house, left out food and water, and ensured that there’s a fresh bed of litter, your cat could still have an emergency. Have a friend or pet sitter stop by to check on your pet, and be sure to leave vet contact information on the counter in case of emergency. If you’re planning a trip, contact the pet lovers at Waggy Tail Pet Care to arrange drop-in cat visits for your feline friends!  We’ll spend 30 or 60 minutes with your pet, providing clean water, fresh food, and companionship. Your pet sitter will also clean out the litter box, take out any related trash, and administer any necessary medication to your fur babies. If you like, we’ll water the plants and do some light sweeping of the cat hair in the main living spaces. Plus, we’ll provide you with a report and photos of the visit! Schedule your cat’s pet visits now, before you leave, so you can enjoy your time away knowing that your feline friend is being loved on and well cared for.

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