Sometimes, cat owners might need to leave their cats alone when travelling, but in general, a cat can’t fend for itself for too long a period. In fact, supervision is regulated by Swedish law, meaning that it’s illegal to leave your cat alone without care for too long. A healthy cat should see humans at least twice a day, and needs not only food and water but also social contact.
AGE, HEALTH, BREED AND SIZE ALL DETERMINE HOW LONG YOUR CAT CAN BE ALONE
Just like us humans, every cat is unique and has its own personality. How long you can leave your cat alone depends in part on its personality, but also on factors such as age, health, breed and size.
A kitten that needs care and food from its mother must not be separated from her unless absolutely necessary, and then only temporarily. Only when a kitten’s 12 weeks old is it ready to be separated from its mother.
An older cat also has special needs and generally requires more care than a younger cat. If you have a cat that’s injured or pregnant, you also need to take this into account.
If you need to leave your cat alone and it’s purebred, keep in mind that some purebred cats, such as Siameses and Oriental Shorthairs, often have greater social needs than other breeds. They can be more negatively affected psychologically by being left alone for too long. Also, breeds with a lot of energy, such as Bengals, are often more prone to becoming stressed when alone because they require a lot of exercise and play to feel happy. Read about your cat’s breed before leaving it on its own.
PREPARING TO LEAVING YOUR CAT ON ITS OWN
If you ever need to leave your cat alone for an extended period of time, it’s important that you arrange for a cat sitter to look after your cat.
FOOD, WATER AND LITTER
If you leave your cat alone, it should have plenty of nutritious food and water available. Indoor cats should have free access to drinking water, and outdoor cats should have the opportunity to drink water at least twice a day. Ideally, outdoor cats should also have free access to water, so go ahead and place several water bowls in shady places throughout the garden so the water doesn’t evaporate quickly. Also make sure the cat sitter knows where things like food and cat litter are.
A SAFE SLEEP AREA AND EXERCISE OPPORTUNITIES
As well as food, water and the opportunity to fulfill their needs, it’s also important that your cat has its own sleeping area and the opportunity to scratch, for example, a scratching pad or scratching post. An indoor cat also needs exercise, so stimulating toys and activity feeders can be necessary investments before you leave your cat on its own. If cats’ senses aren’t stimulated, it can negatively affect their wellbeing.
ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS EXIST TO PROTECT CATS
There are animal welfare regulations that protect the wellbeing of cats so that all cats have the best possible chance of living happy lives. These regulations mention the minimum things that must happen for a cat to feel good both physically and mentally. Laws on the supervision of dogs and cats are part of these regulations, and can result in a fine if they’re not complied with.