Home Alone. Can Cats Really Fend for Themselves for 7 Days?


This article will provide an overview of the considerations around leaving a cat home alone for an extended period of time, such as a week-long vacation. We’ll examine the risks and benefits of leaving cats alone versus bringing them along or boarding them. Topics covered include preparing the home, keeping a cat entertained, options for supervision, special considerations for kittens and certain breeds, preventing potential issues, and concluding with best practices and recommendations.

The goal is to ensure cat owners are equipped with the information needed to make the best decision for their pet’s health and happiness when they are away. By reviewing preparation strategies, outlining risks, and suggesting solutions, cat owners can hopefully travel with peace of mind knowing their beloved cat is safe and content in their absence.


Before leaving a cat alone for a week, it’s important to stock up on food, water, and litter to make sure the cat has adequate supplies. Cats should always have access to fresh, clean water. Make sure to fill water bowls daily or get a recirculating water fountain that provides a constant water supply (The Dodo, 2022). Leave out enough food for each day based on the portion sizes recommended for your cat’s weight and age. Most adult cats will eat around 1/2 cup to 1 cup of food per day (Purina, 2022). It’s a good idea to give extra portions in case the cat is hungrier than usual.

The litter box should be cleaned before leaving and filled with fresh cat litter. Consider getting an extra-large litter box or self-cleaning litter box to extend time between cleanings. You may also want to place additional litter boxes around your home. Having 1 litter box per floor is ideal for cats.


It’s important to provide cats with adequate entertainment while you’re away to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. Be sure to leave out plenty of interactive toys that will capture your cat’s natural instincts to pounce, chase, scratch, and play. Some good options include wands with feathers or furry attachments, balls with bells inside, treat puzzle toys, scratching posts, and catnip toys. Rotate the toys so your cat doesn’t get bored with the same ones. Providing a variety of textures and surfaces for scratching is also important to redirect scratching away from furniture. Place scratching posts around your home near windows, doorways, and other areas your cat likes to scratch. [1]

Cats have natural instincts to play and hunt, so leaving out toys that appeal to those behaviors can provide mental stimulation and physical activity while preventing destructive behaviors from boredom. Interactive toys that cats can bat around and chase are ideal. Scratching posts also give cats an appropriate place to scratch their claws, which is another natural feline behavior. With adequate entertainment options, your cat can stay happy and occupied in your absence. Just be sure to rotate the toys so they remain interesting.


When leaving a cat alone for an extended period of time, it is essential to arrange for someone to check on them at least once per day. This allows the caretaker to replenish food and water, scoop litter boxes, provide medication if needed, and monitor the cat’s overall health and wellbeing. According to pet experts, daily visits are ideal for cats left alone as it provides social interaction and mimics their normal routine (https://www.purrmorecats.com/blog/whats-the-right-visit-frequency-for-my-cat).

There are several options for arranging supervision. Hiring a professional pet sitter to visit daily is ideal. Alternatively, asking a trusted friend or neighbor to check on the cat can work if they are reliable and have a key/access. Some people install a webcam so they can monitor the cat remotely. Automated feeders and litter boxes provide some help but are not sufficient on their own. No matter what, arranging hands-on supervision to visit at least once per day is strongly advised when leaving a cat for an extended period.

Risks of Leaving a Cat Alone for a Week

Leaving a cat alone for an extended period can pose several risks to their health and wellbeing. According to the experts at Catnetting, cats should not be left alone unattended for more than one day.

One major risk is boredom and stress. Cats are social creatures who thrive on companionship and interaction. Being left alone for a week with no stimulation or human contact can cause anxiety, depression, and problematic behaviors like aggressive scratching. As noted in this article from Catnetting, bored cats may resort to destructive behaviors to entertain themselves.

There are also physical health risks to leaving a cat for a week. Lack of fresh food and water can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, and urinary or bowel issues. Cats who don’t eat regularly are at risk of developing hepatic lipidosis, a life-threatening liver disease. Illness or injury that arises with no supervision can quickly become serious.

According to the Quora experts, the risks depend partially on the cat’s age. Kittens are more vulnerable and require more frequent care than adult cats.

Kitten vs Adult

There are some important differences when it comes to leaving a kitten alone versus an adult cat. Kittens have very different care needs compared to adult cats.

Kittens under 4 months old should never be left alone for more than 2-3 hours at a time. Their care needs are constant and they require feeding every 4-6 hours. Kittens also need socialization, play time, and training during their early months. Leaving a kitten alone for extended periods can lead to behavior problems down the road 1.

Adult cats over 1 year old can generally be left alone for up to 8-12 hours at a time, as long as they have access to food, water, litter, enrichment activities, and a safe space. Adult cats are calmer and can entertain themselves while alone. But they still require daily interaction and shouldn’t be left for multiple days 2.

So while adult cats have greater independence, kittens have much higher care needs and require consistent attention. Leaving a kitten alone overnight or for an entire day should be avoided.

Breed Differences

Some cat breeds handle solitude much better than others. For example, according to this article, Russian Blues are very independent and do well spending time alone. They are loving cats but don’t necessarily need constant companionship. Himalayans and Persians are also good choices for people who work long hours, as they tend to be calm and relaxed when left to their own devices.

On the other hand, breeds like Siamese and Bengals crave a lot of attention and interaction. As noted in this Quora post, these active and vocal breeds are not ideal for households where they will be frequently left alone. They are more prone to behavior issues like destruction and excessive meowing when their social needs aren’t met.

In general, mellow and independent breeds adapt better to alone time than those bred to be affectionate lap cats. It’s important to consider your lifestyle and the breed’s typical temperament before getting a cat that will be home alone for stretches of time.

Travel Options

When leaving a cat alone for an extended period, pet owners have two main options for care: using a pet sitter or boarding the cat at a facility. Both options have advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Hiring a pet sitter to come to your home allows the cat to stay in its normal environment. Pet sitters can visit once or twice per day to feed the cat, change litter boxes, play with the cat, and monitor its health and behavior. Some pet sitters will even send photo or video updates. This personalized care helps reduce stress for the cat. However, it is more expensive than boarding. Also, pet sitters may not be available on short notice or for long durations (Cat Behavior Associates).

Boarding the cat at a kennel or cattery allows round-the-clock supervision from staff. The facility handles all feeding, litter box cleaning, and other care. Some facilities have veterinarians on staff too. Boarding costs less per day than pet sitters. However, boarding is more stressful for most cats, due to the unfamiliar environment and proximity to other animals. Reputable facilities have separate spaces for each cat but interaction with people is limited (Cat in a Flat).

Preventing Issues

The key to minimizing risks when leaving a cat alone is preparation. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your cat is microchipped and has an ID tag on their collar in case they get lost (McCune, 2022).
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check on your cat daily to feed them, clean the litter box, and provide companionship. Offer to return the favor when they travel (Jones, 2021).
  • Consider using a pet sitter or boarding your cat at a kennel for extra supervision. This is especially important for kittens under 6 months old (Smith, 2020).
  • Set up cameras so you can monitor your cat remotely. Interactive cameras allow you to talk to your cat which can ease separation anxiety (Arm & Hammer, 2022).
  • Give your cat plenty of toys for mental stimulation and arrange hiding spots for security. Rotate toys to keep them interesting (ComfortedKitty, 2021).
  • Ensure your cat is up-to-date on vaccines and flea/tick prevention in case they escape outside (McCune, 2022).

With the proper preparations, most cats over 6 months old can do well alone for up to a week. Check with your vet if you have any concerns. Focus on meeting your cat’s basic needs and reducing stress before your trip.


Arm & Hammer. (2022). Helping Your Cat with Being Left Alone & Separation Anxiety. https://www.armandhammer.com/articles/tips-leaving-cat-alone-separation-anxiety

ComfortedKitty. (2021). Leaving Cats Alone While On Vacation: 15 Tips To Follow. https://www.comfortedkitty.com/leaving-cat-alone-vacation/

Jones, A. (2021). How to Prepare Your Cat for Time Alone. Catster. https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/how-to-prepare-cat-for-time-alone

McCune, S. (2022). How Long Can You Leave a Cat Alone? PetKeen. https://petkeen.com/how-long-can-you-leave-a-cat-alone/

Smith, L. (2020). Leaving Your Cat Home Alone? Here’s What You Need to Know. VetStreet. https://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/leaving-your-cat-home-alone-heres-what-you-need-to-know


In summary, while most healthy, adult cats can be left alone for 24-48 hours, there are some key considerations to keep in mind. Kittens and older or ill cats require more frequent care and supervision. Make sure to leave sufficient food, water, litter, and entertainment supplies for the time you’ll be away. Consider using a pet sitter to check in at least once if you’ll be gone for more than 2 days. Do not leave a kitten alone for longer than 6-8 hours maximum. Take steps to prevent issues like escape or household accidents. While short solo stints are usually fine, cats are social and affectionate pets that prefer companionship. With proper preparation, you can help ensure your cat remains happy and healthy in your absence.

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