Seven reasons you should not leave cat home alone on vacation
If you could ask your cat, what do you think they would say? We think they would say different things than you think.
Do you think you have an independent cat? We think you have a cool cat. Being in veterinary medicine and Pet Home Health Care for over 2 decades, Lory Nelson Brunner, our Director of Home Health Care, has learned a lot about the feline mind and how it works. She has taken care of feral colonies and single cat homes, and the likeness of personalities is not as different as everyone pegs them to be.
Leaving a cat home alone for longer than a day, even with plenty of food in a cat feeder and a water fountain, is not an idea that should cross your mind when making a choice of what animal to adopt. Cats are very social animals. They depend on you for trust and care even if they hide when someone new comes in the house. Just because they don’t sit on your lap does not mean they don’t need daily care. And it doesn’t mean leaving them alone if you head out of town for the weekend or longer is acceptable.
Don’t leave your cat home alone because:
1. They need social interaction: As far as mental health goes, you could come home to an angry cat and cause personality changes that are unfavorable because they were left without any interactions from you or a pet sitter.
2. They need supervision for their safety: Cats can get into trouble when they are alone or bored- like we all know. They get into the drapes and power cords and get stuck behind refrigerators. (Yes, this actually happened to a client of ours before she started service with us!)
3. They need cleanliness and upkeep: Dirty, soiled litter boxes are an issue and can create bad behaviors such as finding a clean place to urinate and defecate on- sometimes on prized shoes or belongings.
4. Technology isn’t fool-proof: Kitties can spill their water fountains, automatic feeders can fail. It’s hot in Miami and if there is a power outage or malfunction of the AC unit, the house could become dangerously hot if left unattended.
5. Kitties and their curiosity… Some cats will eat foreign material and plants when they are bored, and that can mean issues with digestion, health complications, and more. Leaving your cat home alone for even a day can delay much-needed help.
6. Outdoor kitties are at even greater risk: They hang out with the bad kids on the block and come home with cuts and abscesses that will become life threatening if not caught and cared for in time (not that they should be outside at all but if you feed a stray or have a kitty door). Outdoor kitties are also exposed to predators, the risk of being run over, parasites, and more. Read a great post on the perils of being an outdoor cat here.
7. Need to stay on vacation longer? Trip changes and delays happen as well. Being gone longer than anticipated can lead to added stress for you and be hazardous to the cats health.
Bottom line: kitties need daily interaction with people
Most importantly, your cat does need human interaction from you and if not from you, from a caring person with compassion and the skill to recognize concerns that the cat displays during the interaction. Things like excessive drinking, unused litter boxes, or excessively used litter boxes are signs a professional would be able to recognize but would go unnoticed if you leave your cat home alone. Uneaten food or lethargy can also be recognized quickly and noted for you to address when you return. Things you wouldn’t even realize are signs or symptoms of health issues or common early warning signs of other diseases can be communicated to you in order to get checked when you return.
Hire a cat care professional you trust:
Having a pet home health care technician or professional pet sitter care for your cats while you’re gone or when you are gone long days and your dogs are alone and need a walk or exercise can be considered a complimentary mini check up. We certainly would recognize common characteristics and make recommendations if something is out of the ordinary, maybe sooner than when it becomes an emergency.
How Equipaws Pet Services cares for kitties:
We have found that keeping a log of behavior and appetite, litter use, and safety is helpful. We check the entire house at each visit for safety issues and signs of water leaks or broken windows. If your home alarm goes off, we go check on the animal’s well-being and secure your pet when needed. That noise can be terrifying for them.
Don’t leave your cat home alone longer than 24 hours without a visit from a professional pet sitter for the health and well-being of your precious cat. Have someone spend at least 25-30 minutes with them every 24 hours. If they are on medications the recommended time span between observation and interaction is a minimum of 12 hours. You care for them so much and so do our technicians, the caregivers you have right at your fingertips.
A founding member of the Equipaws family, Frankie can mostly be found working behind the scenes, helping co-create online branding, managing several social media accounts, designing brand collateral, writing copy, and managing events. She also fills in for pet sitters and dog walkers when needed in Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and South Miami. Her own small pack consists of Boots the Shih Tzu mix and Nutmeg the Chiweenie.