Being social pack animals, dogs don’t do very well being left alone. Cats, on the other hand, are generally much more independent and can handle their owners leaving the house for a few days. But to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for your cat, you may wish to supply more than just food and water. Here are 7 tips for leaving your cat alone in your house:
1. Make Use of Interactive Cat Toys
One of the main problems with leaving a sole cat alone in your house is dealing with boredom. If boredom isn’t properly dealt with, you could come home to find your cat got into trouble while you were out.
Interactive cat toys range from battery operated toys that can be programmed to run while you are gone to treat balls, honeysuckle or catnip toys, or toys that can be hung on the wall or on doorknobs. The best approach if you don’t know your cat’s preferences is to try some of each type to keep your cat stimulated, active, and out of trouble.
Is your cat not easily motivated? Try putting his favourite treat in a treat ball or dispenser and watch his interest spark.
2. Watch Out for Hidden Dangers
There are a number of household hazards that could compromise your cat’s safety, especially if your cat is being left alone for an extended time period.
Double check your houseplants to see if they are toxic to pets. The ASPCA has a comprehensive list here. Reconsider how appropriate they are to keep in your home or simply move them to a closed room or somewhere your cat cannot access them while you are away. This is especially pertinent around the holidays – you might be surprised how many popular holiday plants make the toxic list.
Keep other holiday hazards such as wrapping, bows, tinsel, and other decorations to a minimum or move them somewhere inaccessible. See more Holiday Decorating Hazards for Pets.
Ensure any roman blinds have detachable adjusters and that these are unsnapped before leaving. Cats can even become tangled in the detachable kind!
3. Use a Large Capacity Water Reservoir
Automatic waterers are indispensible if you ever leave your cat alone for more than one day and quite handy to have in the everyday as well.
In addition to the water your cat drinks, some water will evaporate. Enclosed reservoirs, like many waterers, are covered and cause less evaporation.
Water fountains can usually hold a large volume of water, and stay clean, fresh, and cool. Remember, water fountains with filters will need to be topped off every few days to replace lost water and for best functioning. A good way to ruin your pump (and have a thirsty cat) is to let your fountain pump run dry.
4. Use an Automatic Feeder
Some cats can be left to free-feed and still remain slim. However, many indoor cats require food portioning, especially if left alone for long periods of time. Proper portioning will prevent overeating and vomiting.
To ensure your cat is getting only the calories he needs while you are away, make use of an automatic food dispenser. Select how much food your cat gets and how often with automatic pet feeders.
Away from the house frequently at mealtimes? Automatic pet food dispensers are also excellent for people who work irregular hours or have busy schedules.
5. Clean the Litterbox
No one likes a dirty bathroom. Make sure you clean your cat’s litterbox before you leave and, if necessary, get someone to keep it tidy while you are away. This will keep your cat happy and hopefully prevent any surprise presents on your floor.
6. Set New Heights
One of the most difficult parts of leaving your cat alone is keeping her entertained. Cats love climbing up high and a lofty spot can keep your cat happier while you are gone.
Cat trees make a handy addition to any home with cats. Aside from providing a safe spot to scratch, cat trees give your cat the height she desires. Kudos if you place your cat tree near a window where your cat can watch the wildlife and keep an eye on the neighborhood.
7. Ask a Friend to Check In
If you are going to be away from the house for longer than 3 days, you should probably get someone to come in and check on your cat. A trusted friend or family member can give your cat some friendly attention and refill food and water bowls.
Don’t have anyone available to look in on your cat? Pet sitters or nannies offer the service. Just make sure you check references before booking an unknown pet sitter for the first time.