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Do cats get lonely when left alone?

Do cats get lonely when left alone?

Despite their reputation for being aloof and antisocial, cats can form strong bonds with their owners and enjoy socializing. At Douglasville, our veterinarians offer helpful advice and tips for leaving your cat alone.

The Sociable Feline

If you are planning to work outside or have to be away from home for several hours, you might be curious about how long your cat can stay alone. The reality is that similar to humans, cats have varying needs based on their age and distinct personalities. Here are some guidelines to assist you in determining the safe duration for leaving your cat home alone.

Loneliness, Boredom & Cats

As a cat parent, you may have noticed that your feline companion is more sociable than their reputation suggests. Some cats enjoy following their owners around the house and meowing as if they're having a conversation. They may even curl up on their pet parent's lap as soon as they sit down. Other cats, however, may only glance at their owners occasionally to make sure they're behaving themselves.

But do cats get lonely? The answer is usually yes. While some cats are naturally independent and prefer their own company, others happily greet their owners at the door and follow them around the house. Personality plays a role in how well a cat adjusts to being alone, but all cats need their people – some just need them more than others.

Age Matters When Leaving Cats Alone

Very old and very young cats tend to be more vulnerable and need more attention than middle-aged cats. As do cats with health concerns. So be sure to take extra care when leaving cats with health conditions, kittens and senior cats alone.


Feeding kittens 3-4 times a day until they reach 6 months of age is crucial. Young cats should be supervised as they can easily get into trouble. If your kitten is under 4 months old, it's not recommended to leave them alone for more than 4 hours at a stretch.

Gradually increasing the time you spend away from home, seeking advice from your vet, can help your cat adjust to being alone. After your kitten reaches 6 months of age, it's best to have a friend or family member take care of them if you need to be away for an extended period.

Alternatively, you can ask someone to check on your cat a few times a day to ensure their safety, sufficient food, and social interaction, preventing boredom. For young kittens, pet boarding is an ideal solution if you need to be away for more than 2-4 hours. Many facilities offer excellent care and attention for cats of all ages.

Senior Cats & Cats With Health Issues

It is not recommended to leave your senior cat alone for extended periods of time. Fortunately, there are reputable pet boarding facilities that offer attentive care 24/7 for cats in need of extra attention. If your cat must stay home alone, it is essential to have someone check on them twice daily. It's best to consult with your vet to determine how long it is safe to leave your senior cat alone.

For healthy adult cats, it may be possible to leave them alone for 24-48 hours, depending on their temperament and environmental factors such as temperature control and adequate food and water. When leaving your cat home alone, be sure to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety and well-being.

Middle-Aged Cats

When leaving your cat alone, it's important to take precautions to ensure their safety and well-being. Make sure they have access to dry food and clean drinking water, and clean their litter box before leaving. To prevent loneliness or messes, consider a trustworthy pet boarding facility. For health concerns, consult your veterinarian. Here are some tips for keeping your feline friend happy and healthy.

Tips for Leaving Your Cat When You Need to be Away

If you are planning to be away from home, here are a few tips to help ensure that your cat stays safe while you're gone.

  • Speak 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 wellbeing.
  • We strongly recommend that you have someone check on your kitty once or twice a day while you are gone, to ensure that your kitty is safe and has enough food and water for the duration of your absence. 
  • Check the weather and be sure that your thermostat is set so that your home will remain at a comfortable temperature while you're away.
  • Provide your cat with enough food for the duration of your time away. You may want to invest in an automated pet feeder to ration the food and keep it fresher.
  • 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 to help your cat's water fresher and cleaner while you're gone.
  • If your cat is particularly fussy about their litter box you may want to leave 2 fresh clean boxes of litter for them.
  • Consider leaving a radio or tv on so that your cat hears voices while you are away. It may help to relieve your cat's boredom.
  • Take your cat to a local pet boarding facility. Cat boarding facilities can offer your kitty a clean and bright place to stay where they will be well cared for and provided with plenty 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.

Looking for a safe, clean and friendly place to leave your cat while you're away? Our team would love to get to know you and your cat! Contact Douglasville Veterinary Hospital today to learn more about our feline boarding and to book a visit to our facility.

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Douglasville Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Douglasville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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