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Can I Leave My Cat Alone for a Weekend? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Vet approved

	Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Any cat owner knows that cats are independent and self-reliant. Most cats nap during the day and eat when they want. They don’t require being let out to potty, nor do they need to be walked like dogs. When you have travel plans or need to skip out for the weekend, can you leave them alone for a weekend?

While technically you could leave them alone for a weekend, it’s not recommended for a few reasons, such as an illness or some other unforeseen issue or injury. There is some debate about whether leaving your cat alone for a maximum of 2-3 days is okay, but you’ll have to assess if leaving your cat alone for that long is doable, depending on your cat’s personality and routine.

Read on to learn the pros and cons of leaving your cat alone for a weekend.

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Why Should I Not Leave My Cat Alone for a Weekend?

Since cats are independent,1 it may seem feasible to be able to leave them alone for a weekend; after all, it’s only 2–3 days. However, a lot can happen during this time, such as an unexpected illness or injury. For instance, your cat falls from the cat condo or off anything up high. In that case, your cat could injure itself, and no one would be around to take your cat to the vet for treatment. A severe injury could evolve into a dire medical situation that needs to be addressed immediately.

Your cat could suddenly become ill and need medical treatment ASAP. If you’re not home and your cat is alone, the illness could result in a dire medical event that could end in the worst outcome.

Some cat owners buy automatic cat feeders and waterers so that their cats will have fresh food and water while they are away; however, these types of devices can malfunction, leaving your kitty with no food or water.

Even though cats are known for their independence, they still benefit from human interaction. Human interaction is excellent for your cat’s mental health,1 and leaving your cat all alone may cause anxiety and/or stress. Recent research supports what many owners already know for a fact: that our presence matters to our pet cats.2 The study showed that cats are more eager for attention from their owners after a longer period of being apart from them.

cat inside a red backpack
Image Credit: Magui RF, Shutterstock

Tips for Keeping Your Cat Healthy, Happy, and Safe

Cats need physical and mental stimulation and providing cat toys and a scratching post is ideal for keeping your cat happy. Cat condos are excellent for giving your cat a safe place to retreat, especially if you have other pets in the home. Always feed a high-quality cat food, and keep your cat’s weight at an optimal number to prevent obesity.

What About the Litter Box?

Cats can be picky about their litter box, such as not liking the litter you’re using, or the size may not be appropriate. Regarding being gone for a weekend, your cat may not be pleased with having a dirty litter box and may relieve himself outside the litter box. Some people may be able to get away with cleaning the litter box before they leave, but others may come home to urine and feces outside the litter box.

You can place a couple of extra litter boxes for your kitty to have other places to do his business rather than using the dirty one. Self-cleaning litter boxes are an excellent option when you’re away, too.

Two cats using a self cleaning litter box
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

Should I Board My Cat While I’m Away?

You can absolutely board your cat in a kennel that specializes in taking care of cats. However, cats are territorial creatures and may become stressed in a boarding facility. There are pros and cons to boarding your cat, but it’s still a favorable option, especially if you’re gone for more than just a weekend. A boarding facility will give your cat the attention he needs, and you can rest assured your cat will be well taken care of. Also, if your cat becomes injured or comes down with an illness, the boarding facility can take care of the problem.

You can also enlist the help of a family member or friend to check on your cat each day you’re gone to ensure all is good. Ensure the person has the phone number of your veterinarian before leaving.

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In the end, your cat should be just fine for a weekend as long as you leave everything prepared. Ensure your cat has plenty of mental and physical stimulation with toys and a scratching post, and make sure you have a working automatic food and water dispenser. As for litter boxes, either place a couple of extra boxes or invest in a self-cleaning litter box.

We highly recommend asking a friend or family member to come by once or twice daily and check on your feline friend. As we’ve stated, much debate surrounds the topic of leaving your cat alone for a weekend, and it’s really dependent on your cat’s personality. You know your cat the best, and if you feel he will be okay for a weekend, ensure you have everything we’ve discussed in place to ensure your kitty will be safe.

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Featured Image Credit: mediarney, Pixabay