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Home > Cats > How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone At Home? FAQs & Tips

How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone At Home? FAQs & Tips

domestic cat lying on floor and looks up attentively to something it hears

Cats make wonderful pets, but most are unwilling to leave the house to travel, unlike dogs. If you need to go to work or take a vacation, you might be wondering how long you can leave your pet alone. It all depends on the life period your cat is at. Adults can handle around 8-10 hours per day. Meanwhile, kittens demand more attention, therefore you can only leave them alone for around 2-3 hours periodically.

Keep reading as we answer your doubts about the topic and provide tips and tricks for spending time away from home without worrying about your cat.


How Long Can an Adult Cat Stay Home Alone?

Adult cats can handle being alone in the home for 8–10 hours without any significant issues arising. The cat will likely sleep much of the time, using the litterbox once or twice and only requiring a small amount of food and water. With minimal preparation, your cat should even be fine to spend up to 24 hours alone, as long as it isn’t too often.

How Long Can a Kitten Stay Home Alone?

Kittens require more attention than adult cats. They are curious and can wander off into dangerous parts of the home if no one is watching, and they are more likely to become afraid. Kittens also need more food and water than adult cats, so most experts recommend leaving a kitten alone for no more than 2–3 hours. If you must leave the house for longer, you will need to find someone to watch your kitten until you return.

scottish fold british shorthair mixed breed cat kitten
Image Credit: OlhaTsiplyar, Shutterstock


What Preparations Should I Make if I Need to Leave My Cat Home Alone for the Day?

If you need to leave your cat home alone for the day, a few simple steps can help make sure it’s as stress free for your pet as possible.

  • Make sure there is enough food and water so your pet doesn’t get hungry or become dehydrated.
  • If possible, let the cat have free run of the house. Trying to lock your cat in a room can stress them out, which might cause them to misbehave.
  • Make sure the litterbox is clean and there is plenty of litter.
  • Check the temperature of the house. It’s quite common and even recommended to turn off the air conditioner when you leave the house, and many people will even reduce the heat setting if they know that they will be away for a while. However, cold and hot temperatures can stress out a cat and make them uncomfortable, so we recommend using the automatic settings on the system and leaving the temperature set as usual when you leave.
  • Provide toys that will keep your pet entertained while they wait for you to return.

Old ginger cat resting on couch
Image Credit: shymar27, Shutterstock

What if I Need to Leave My House for Several Days?

If you need to spend more than 24 hours away from home, you will need to take extra steps to ensure that your cat gets the care that they need. We recommend asking a friend or family member to stop in and check on the cat at least once a day. Hopefully, the person can also hang around for a little while to help your cat feel less alone.

If no one can visit your home daily, the next best option is to see if a friend or family member will watch the cat at their house. They won’t be as comfortable as they would be at home, but they will likely spend most of their time exploring their new environment, which can help keep them occupied until you return.

If no friends or family members are available, check your local newspaper and other sources to find a pet sitter who can help, or you can take the cat to a kennel or shelter for temporary boarding.

What Can I Expect if I Spend a Significant Amount of Time Away From Home?

Spending too much time away from home can cause your cat anxiety, and they might become lonely. These feelings can manifest in many ways but usually in the form of bad behavior, which is how your cat shows you that they are unhappy. Scratched or torn furniture and clothing is common, as is relieving themselves outside the litterbox in an area where you frequently sit or lie down. Caretakers might also notice increased meowing and aggressive behavior. Many cats will ignore you when you get home if you spend too much time away, often going so far as to run and hide for several days until they are satisfied that you won’t leave again.



Despite spending much of their daily time alone, cats are extremely dependent on their owners for food, water, a clean litter box, and affection. Adult cats can be left alone for 8–10 hours, so they should be fine while you go to work, but if you need to spend any more time away from home, we recommend having someone check on your cat to ensure that they have everything that they need and to spend time with them. If you have a small kitten, you will need to keep a constant eye on them, so you will only be able to leave them alone for a few hours.

Featured Image Credit: Dima Berlin, Shutterstock

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