Felines have been known to be smart and independent creatures. They keep to themselves, clean their fur, and even hunt their food.
They’ve adapted to the harshest of conditions, and for centuries, have been one of man’s most extraordinary companions.
While your cat may have inherited the adaptive instincts of their bigger cousins, they still need your love and attention. If your cat is used to fending for themselves, leaving food out for them while you’re away will keep them fed.
However, some cats might feel the stress of being abandoned – causing them to overeat or get restless.
Leaving your cat home alone is a cause for great concern – especially if you have to do it for a few days.
A lot could happen, and a lot could go wrong while you’re away. Luckily, there are some workarounds on how to care for your feline friend – even from afar.
How long can I leave my cat home alone?
The longest time you can leave your cat alone is one day. Any longer, and you’ll need a pet sitter.
Cats tend to get stressed without their humans and will end up trying to get out of the house if they’re left alone for too long. Although most house cats love the indoors, the lack of company will make them agitated.
What is the best food to leave out for my cat?
Leaving wet food out for your cat to help themselves is fine as long as it’s paired with some dry food. Ideally, once they finish their wet food, they’ll snack on their dry food – keeping them fed for some time.
Besides keeping your cat full, the wet food will also keep them hydrated.
Savory wet food will stick to your cat’s mouth longer, so they’ll be licking it off of their teeth and lips for a while – keeping them busy for longer.
At the same time, dry food is much more shelf-stable and is best paired alongside wet food.
The combination of wet and dry food will keep your cat full for a full day – feasting on the wet food and snacking on the dry one.
Besides food, be sure to also keep a generous amount of water in your cat’s water bowl so that they can quickly rehydrate themselves.
The last thing you want is your cat choking on a dry snack – so best to have a full water bowl ready for them before you leave the house.
How much food should I leave for my cat?
Depending on how much your cat eats, you should leave a little more for your cat while you’re away. If they’re usually fed a bowlful, double the amount and put some in an extra bowl just in case.
A hungry and agitated cat will do unpredictable things, so you should leave a lot of food out for your feline friend. Dry snacks are great for your cat to nibble on, so be sure to leave a generous amount of that as well.
However, some cats have been known to binge eat when alone. If your cat gets easily stressed, they could end up finishing their rationed meals even before you get back home.
This usually happens with cats who are very close to their owners. The sudden absence will make them anxious – making them constantly whine and snack on their food.
How do I stop my cat from binge-eating while I’m away?
The stress of your absence will not only make your cat binge eat; it could also lead to them doing a lot of unpredictable things.
They could start clawing furniture, curtains, and toppling things over – as they’ve become restless and anxious about their isolation.
Thankfully, you can avoid all this chaos by asking a trusted friend or neighbor to watch over your cat.
They can stop by your house and refill your cat’s food bowl according to your instructions – after which, they can update you with a call.
Ideally, this friend or neighbor is already familiar with your cat. Otherwise, your cat will go through more stress if met with a stranger.
If no friends are available to watch over your cat, you can hire a professional pet sitter. A pet sitter should be able to stop by your house at certain times to take care of your cat while you’re away.
Ideally, they could stay awhile to keep your cat company for a short time. Just like humans, cats don’t do too well with too much isolation.
A pet sitter will ease your cat’s stress – as well as yours. You can better focus on your vacation or out-of-town activity once you know that your beloved feline companion is in good hands.
Besides leaving food for your cat, a pet sitter will watch over your cat’s litter box getting full. Cats dislike the smell of a dirty litter box.
If their litter box is left uncleaned for too long, your cat will look for other places to relieve themselves – such as the living room carpet or an indoor potted plant.
Spare yourself the nasty surprise, and be sure to ask your pet sitter to clean out your cat’s litter box as often as they can.
Should I get an automatic feeder?
Many times, it can be challenging to find a trustworthy pet sitter with a reasonable fee.
However, if you are willing to invest in your cat, an automatic feeder could be the way to go. This is a machine that dispenses food for your cat on the schedules that you set.
What makes an automatic feeder better than leaving a large amount of food for your cat is that it keeps them from binge-eating.
Investing in a feeder will eliminate the middleman, as you will be taking care of your cat – only this time, with the help of technology.
There are a variety of automatic feeders on the market – many of which are quite affordable.
Simple automatic feeders dispense a fixed amount of food onto your cat’s bowl at set times – regardless if their bowl is empty or full.
Other automatic feeders have a built-in bowl and sensors that gauge how much food she will be dispensed.
High-end automatic feeders come with a voice and video feature – where you can monitor your little feline pal via WIFI.
Along with that, you can even talk to them – so they can hear your voice and calm down. Take note that automatic feeders need to be replenished now and then.
If you’re planning on a trip that will last a few days, you should hire a professional pet sitter who will watch over your cat and refill their feeder.
Cats can usually manage one meal refill if you’re gone for a day. Any longer than that, then they need the supervision of a trusted human.
What should I look for in a professional cat sitter?
Nothing compares to the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing that your cat is in good hands. Hiring a professional cat sitter may cost you more, but at least you’re assured that you’ll come home to a healthy, stress-free cat.
Do take note that you should know what you’re looking for in a cat sitter. Be sure to read any reviews and recommendations about the pet sitting service and their employees’ experience.
If you have time, you can do a personal interview of the pet sitter and see how they interact with your cat.
You can also gauge them by how your cat likes them. In the end, your cat does have the final say as to what they think about the pet sitter.
If they have bad chemistry, then you may want to look for someone else.
Additionally, you wouldn’t want to expose your home to theft, so be sure to check with the pet sitting company for the legitimacy of their operating licenses, paperwork, and registration.
As an added precaution, you can inform several of your neighbors of the pet sitter coming into your house so that they can also keep an eye out for you.
Besides giving them food, the ideal pet sitter should be able to provide your cat some human interaction to keep them from feeling too isolated.
Most cat sitters can even do basic house sitting chores if asked, such as bringing in mail, turning lights on, and watering plants. Once you’ve chosen a cat sitter, be sure that they become familiar with your cat.
Caring for your cat
Your feline friend is a life companion. They may not show it all the time, but they’re loyal to you in many ways.
As simple as feeding them can be a challenge, especially when you’re not in their midst – but luckily, there are a lot of uncomplicated solutions for that.
Whether it’s leaving extra food out, hiring a cat sitter, or buying them that fancy automatic feeder – as long as you decide with your cat’s best interest in mind, everything ought to work out.