- Pets and Animals
How To Leave Your Cat Home Alone
Leaving your cat alone at home?
Although most of us may feel rather uncomfortable leaving our pets alone at home for more than a few hours, sometimes there is no other solution. Fortunately for cat owners, cats are easier left alone at home than other pets, especially dogs for example. Although cats love to be in the company of humans, they are much more independent than dogs and they will interact with us on their own terms and conditions and only whenever they feel like it. They are much more able to take care of themselves and much less dependent on their human owners for their daily needs and well being. Also, cats are more attached to their daily environment and habbits than dogs and would certainly prefer to stay home alone for a few days than to undergo long car drives and be exposed to strange surroundings.
Even so however, there are some things you should know and keep in mind if you are planning to leave your cat or cats at home alone for longer than a day or so.
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Tips on leaving your cat home alone
The most basic precondition for leaving a cat or any other pet alone at home for more than a few hours, is to provide it with enough food and water for the while you will be away, as well as to give it free access to a toilet area for its toilet needs. Cats are much easier than dogs in this respect. For one thing, cats are better able to take care of themselves and even if your best idea is to leave a large bowl of dry cat food and another huge bowl full of water, they will usually economize on their supplies and not eat and drink everything up before you have even turned the corner, like dogs do. In my early years of being a cat owner and before organizing myself with pet doors and automatic feeders, I did just that: I left a large bowl of cat food and 2-3 bowls of water around the house and this is what happened: Upon my return, 2-3 days later, I would discover to my surprise that the cat had just nibbled at the food and drunk very little water as well. As soon as she saw me open the front door, she would jump on the food and eat all of it within minutes! This led me to believe that cats are wiser than dogs in this respect and that, not knowing when their owner will be back to provide more food, they will economize as much as they can! However, cats are very picky and if their food is not as fresh as they like or if bugs and ants find their way in their food or water bowl, they will be too disgusted to eat or drink!!! So if your work schedule or life style oblige you to leave your cat alone at home rather often, you might be better off buying an automatic cat feeder and waterer. This will certainly give you some peace of mind while you are away, knowing that your feline friend has an abundant supply of fresh and clean food and water.
Giving your cat access to a toilet area is obviously crucial while you are away. Again, cats are fairly easy in that respect, as they do not need to be walked and they do not necessarilly need to have access to an outside area. A cat is perfectly happy to use its litter box, although if you live in a house with garden and it is used to the outside, it may feel rather cooped up and get cabin fever if you prevent it from going outside when you are away. Cats need their freedom and they might do silly things like scratching their claws on the couch or carpet, or ripping up curtains and upholstery if they don't have the chance to burn up their energy in less annoying ways.
Things to keep in mind before leaving your cat alone at home
Whether you decide to give your cat access to your garden or backyard or nor while you are away, depends on where you live and a series of other factors. You must keep in mind that cats jump and climb, so unless your garden is really secluded and walled in, giving your cat access to it while you are away (or even when you are home for that matter) amounts to giving it near absolute freedom. If there is a lot of traffic where you live or your neighbors do not like animals, this may not be a good idea. I have been using a pet door for years, giving my dog and two cats the freedom to go in and out as they please whether I am home or not, and on frequent occasions when coming back home after a short business trip or weekend, I found one or both my cats keeping company to my neighbor and eating grilled prawns on his couch!!!!!
You should also keep in mind that cats are predators and also that if they really love you, they might want to surprise you with a welcome-home-gift like a dead mouse, bird or...snake upon your return! If your cats have access to outside areas while you are away, you might want to close off some carpeted or upholstered areas of the house. Last summer, after being away for 3 days, I came home to find a dead and smelly mouse on the one and only wall to wall carpet in the house - my son's room!! We had to rip it up and throw it away as it was impossible to clean properly!
You may also choose the opposite, to give your cats the freedom of roaming your garden or backyard while you are away, without having access to the house. In this case, you might want to invest in an outside cat shelter which will keep them safe, warm and dry whatever the weather conditions. This will also help to keep their food and water supply safe from other stray animals that might be around. Outdoor cat houses.are also a great idea if you have both indoor and outdoor cats!
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