While cats may seem independent and carefree, they quite enjoy the company of others. Today, our Rochester vets talk about how long you can leave a cat at home alone and discuss options like boarding.

Do cats like to be alone?

Your cat is much more sociable than they may lead you to believe. Even so, each cat has their own personality and preferences. While some cats may be consistently aloof and prefer their own company, others happily greet their owners at the door when they get home from work every day and follow you around the house meowing. Do cats get lonely? Many do, so it is important to help them adjust to time alone if you plan on being out of the house for a while.

How long can you leave a cat at home alone?

While healthy, adult cats may do just fine with being left at home, kittens, seniors, and those with medical issues may require extra care and attention that can't be provided if you are away.


Until six months of age, you should expect to feed your kitten three to four times a day. Kittens and young cats also have a habit of getting into mischief, like knocking things off of tables, climbing furniture and even chewing on wires and other household items. Kittens under 4 months old shouldn't be left alone for more than four hours. If you know your cat will need to get used to being alone because of your lifestyle, start training them by gradually increasing the time you are out of the house. Ask your vet for instructions on getting your kitten used to being home alone.

Once your kitten is six months old, if you must be away for an extended time, we recommend having a friend or family member take your cat to their house to care for it. If that's impossible, have someone pop by your place once or twice a day to check in on your young cat to ensure it is safe, has enough food to eat, and gets some social interaction to relieve boredom.

Pet boarding is ideal if you have a young kitty and must be away from home for more than two to four hours. Many boarding facilities offer high-quality care for cats of any age, with lots of love and attention.

Adult Cats

If left with adequate food and water, you may be able to leave your healthy adult cat for a day or so. Of course, this depends on several factors, including your cat's personality, living conditions, and whether they are used to spending time alone. If your cat is going to be left on their own for a day or two, make sure the temperature in your home isn't too hot or too cold and that there is enough dry food and clean drinking water left out for your cat to eat and drink while you're away. It's important to leave out dry food and not wet food because bacteria can rapidly multiply in wet food that has been left out uncovered for an extended period. It's also a good idea to ensure the litter box is completely clean before you leave. However, you should still consider finding alternative care for your feline friend if you won't be home.

Taking your cat to a trusted pet boarding facility in your neighborhood can help prevent it from feeling lonely or from getting into trouble. Pet boarding allows you to leave home knowing your kitty is safe and well cared for while you are away.

Senior Cats

Senior cats follow a daily routine and sometimes have health issues requiring specific care or management. Stress can result in an increased risk of health conditions and stomach problems. It's also common for senior cats to require extra feedings or medication throughout the day. For these reasons, leaving your senior cat alone overnight may not be a good idea. Many pet boarding facilities offer round-the-clock care for animals that require a little extra TLC while their owners are gone, making boarding an ideal option for cats who are unwell or elderly. If you need to be away from home and your cat needs to stay, you should consider alternative care, like having a trusted friend or relative stay with them or hiring a pet sitter.

Your vet knows your senior cat best. Ask your vet how long your kitty can be left alone safely.

What do cats do at home alone?

Many pet parents wonder what their cat will get up to while you are away from the house. There are a few activities that seem to be common among cats.

After you've left the house, your cat may look out the window at nature and people passing by. If you have other animals, playtime may be in order. Some cats also enjoy watching a TV that has been left on or playing with their toys. Of course, you might also come home to a sleepy cat who spent the entire time doing nothing other than napping.

How to Help Your Cat Feel More Comfortable While at Home Alone

If you plan to be away from home, talk to your vet to find out if they have any concerns about your cat being left alone. Your vet knows your cat's health concerns and is in the best position to give you advice on your cat's well-being. Meanwhile, here are a few tips to help make sure your cat stays safe while you are gone:

  • We strongly recommend that you have someone check on your cat once or twice a day while you are gone to ensure that it is safe and has enough food and water for the duration of your absence.
  • Consider leaving a radio or TV on so your cat can hear voices while you are away. It could help alleviate your cat's boredom.
  • Ensure that your cat has plenty of clean water in a bowl that will not tip over and spill. Cat water fountains are available from pet stores. These handy devices can help your cat's water stay fresher and cleaner while you're gone.
  • Provide your cat with enough food for the duration of your time away. You may want to invest in an automated pet feeder to rotate the food and keep it fresher.
  • If your cat is particularly fussy about their litter box, you may want to leave 2 clean and fresh litter boxes out for them.
  • Check the weather and ensure your thermostat is set so your home remains comfortable while you're away.
  • Bring your kitty to a local pet boarding facility. Cat boarding facilities can provide your feline friend with a clean place to stay where they will be well cared for and given lots of human interaction.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you need to schedule care for your cat while you are away? Contact us today to schedule pet boarding in Rochester.