(Minneapolis, MN, USA)
Hi, Dr. Neely,
My boyfriend and I are going on a vacation to Mexico for three weeks. Our roommate will not be home during the vacation or I would leave her in his care.
My friend has offered to take my cat into her house for this time period.
I am curious if it would be more stressful to leave the cat at home and have someone come and feed her every day although they would not have the time to come and visit for a while, or if it would be more stressful to her (my cat) to have her live at my friend's house for this time period?
I would leave her litter box, her food bowls, and a pillow that smells like myself at my friends house for her. My friend would have more time to pay attention to her if she were to stay at the friend's house.
On the other hand, my friend has a male cat, and my cat is a female. Both animals have their reproductive units removed and are passive and fairly friendly.
My cat has lived with a male cat before so may not be surprised by the existence of another cat, although she currently is the queen of the house.
I am worried that everything may not go swimmingly as my cat has not been left without myself or my boyfriend for this long of a time.
I plan to take my cat over to my friend's place beforehand so that she knows the place and has a chance to meet my friend's cat before they are forced to be roommates. If this does not work out I will have to leave her alone and to have someone come to feed her daily.
Therefore, I am curious whether you would suggest that I leave the cat with a friend and her cat or whether I should leave the cat at home and ask someone to check on her daily.
I am worried that my cat will get very lonely if there is no one home as she has been very lonely in the past when there has been no one home for a day or two although she has enough food.
I am thinking about leaving my friend the key to my house so that if all does not go well, there is a plan B, where my cat can stay at home instead.
Which do you think is the better option? I really would not like to cause my cat any more stress than is going to come of this situation, but I would really like to enjoy my vacation as well.
Thank you very much for your advice,
Oh, Courtney, you pose a difficult question. None of the solutions are perfect, but that does not mean that you should not have a lovely vacation and that your cat will not be just fine when you return.
Research has shown that cats prefer their homes to their owners. Kind of hurtful to think about, but true. If a cat had to choose between moving to a new house with you or staying in the same house with a new owner, the cat supposedly would select staying in the same house.
Cats are very much creatures of habit. They are easily thrown off by a change in their environment.
The very best solution would be if you could find someone who would live at your home while you are away.
If that is not possible, then the other two options each have their advantages and disadvantages.
If your kitty stays in your home, she will be happy with the surroundings but yes will be a bit lonely and will not have the supervision that you would like.
If she stays with your friend, she will be in a strange place AND will be with a strange new creature! However, she could be supervised better than if she is at home alone. And have some company.
So ...again my first choice would be to find a house sitter who would live in your home while you are away.
My second choice would probably be to try visiting your friend a few times with your cat to see how things go with her other cat and her home.
Last on the list, I guess, would be to leave her alone for that length of time unless the person coming in can spend time petting her and playing with her and hanging out.
Good luck. I hope you can work something out that will be comfortable for you. I know how you feel. I have been in your situation before and it makes any loving pet parent nervous.
Comments for Going away on a long vacation- better to leave cat at home or with a friend?
Return to General Cat Care.
If your cat is comfortable going to another place you might want to consider leaving them at a friend's or relative's home. The benefit of this option is that your furry friend will have constant supervision and be provided with more attention.Is it better to leave cat at home or with a friend? ›
No matter how independent your cat is, we do not recommend leaving your cat alone without daily visits from a friend or a professional cat-sitter for more than two or three days. Today, there are many options to care for your cat while you are away. Keep in mind that, cats tend to be independent, territorial animals.Should I bring my cat on vacation or leave her at home? ›
Most of the time, traveling is quite safe for cats. For extended trips that will be a week or longer, traveling with your cat may make more sense than leaving them at home. Being away from home with your cat for several days allows them to get comfortable with a new environment and stay on their usual routine.Will my cat be OK when I go on vacation? ›
Though most cats will get along fine if they have a litter box, fresh food and water, accidents can happen. Injuries or illnesses can creep up quickly and may threaten your cat's health if undetected. So, a plan to have someone watch over your cat while you're away is a good idea.How do you leave your cat when you go on vacation? ›
Have a Cat Sitter Watch Your Kitty. If you want to leave your cat at home while you are on vacation, a good option is to have a cat sitter come in every day to clean the litter box, provide your kitty with fresh food and water, and offer them some cuddles and quality one-on-one playtime.Are cats happier alone or with a friend? ›
Pairs are Happier
Despite their independent natures, cats are social creatures that need companionship to thrive. Left alone, a cat can develop behavioral problems, and in some cases, even show signs of depression.
Most adult cats are fine being left home alone for up to 24 hours, under the right conditions (more on that below). If you need to leave for two or three days, a full week, or longer, you should make sure someone is coming over to care for your cat daily.Will my cat forgive me for going on vacation? ›
Vacations are meant to be fun for people, but due to the change in routine, they can, unfortunately, be a cause of stress for cats and result in behavior problems and separation anxiety. Cat behavior problems can occur during the owner's absence, while being transported, or when the owner returns.Can I leave my cat with a friend for a month? ›
"Domesticated cats are used to being with people on a day-to-day basis. I don't recommend leaving a cat for three months. The long absence might take a mental toll on the cat which could lead to urinating out of the box or even becoming anti-social."What does my cat think when I leave for vacation? ›
Observant creatures that they are, cats sometimes feel inclined to explore outside the boundaries of their territory, especially when left idle. Your cat may think that venturing outside is a ticket to paradise, but the hazards are plentiful.
Holiday time can be a stressful time for your cat. When you go away it disrupts their normal routine and they can become unsettled. There are several options to choose from when it comes to looking after your cat when you go on holiday to help minimise that stress.Will my cat be OK alone for 5 days? ›
As long as fresh water is available, some cats can be left alone for up to 24 hours. However, longer or more frequent periods of time away, such as full days or nights away from home can be more disruptive. Your cat should not be left alone for long periods of time.Will my cat remember me after a week vacation? ›
Anyone simply "present" in their life is someone they may remember, but not associate with any emotion. But as long as you and your cat have shared a pet or two, and as long as you fed them a few of their favorite meals, your cat will remember you as well no matter how long you are gone.How long can cats stay away from home? ›
It isn't uncommon for cats to go missing for 24 hours, especially if they like spending a lot of time outdoors. In some cases, cats can even stay away from home for up to 10 days at a time. We also know of cats that leave home while their humans are away on holiday, returning soon after the family arrives back.How long is too long to leave your cat at home? ›
When it comes to longer absences, the cat lovers and experts behind Animalpath.org say that healthy, adult cats shouldn't be left alone for more than 24 to 48 hours.How do I know if my cat needs a friend? ›
- Clinginess. If your cat meows a lot, follows you around, and won't leave you alone, they may be asking for more social interaction. ...
- Excessive Grooming. ...
- A Shift in Sleeping Habits. ...
- Litter Box Issues. ...
- Odd Eating Habits. ...
- What should I do if one cat dies?
For cats that are left on their own for long periods each day, it is a good idea to consider providing another cat for company. Sociable interaction with another cat can greatly enrich their daily lives. The younger they are when introduced, the greater the chances of their getting on amicably most of the time.Do cats remember their home after being away? ›
Can Cats Find Their Way Home Years Later? Yes, cats can return home many days, weeks, months, and even years after they wandered off or were lost.Is it OK to leave my cat for 3 weeks? ›
Experts can't agree on exactly how long a cat can safely be left alone. However, there is a point where it becomes animal abuse to leave your pet without access to human contact and clean food and water. We know cats are quite independent, but they still need your care and love.Will my cat hate me if I leave for a few days? ›
Though they may seem antisocial at times, the fact of the matter is that your cat LOVES you, and really hates it when you're gone. Leaving your kitty alone for an extended period of time will likely cause serious anxiety, which can lead to destructive behavior.
Leaving a cat alone in your home might be suitable for a short trip away, but leaving cats alone for 2 weeks is never a good idea.Should I feel guilty for leaving my cat? ›
While leaving their pet, people may feel guilty for doing so. This is a normal feeling to experience and there are ways to combat that guilt. Understanding that your pet is probably okay while you are gone is a great place to start to reduce the guilt that is experienced when leaving your pet at home.What to do with a cat when you go away for a month? ›
There are a number of options to ensure your pet is well cared for when you're away. The best option is to have a friend or family member look after them. If this isn't possible you could use a pet sitter or take them to a boarding establishment.Will my cat miss me if I go away for a month? ›
Do cats actually miss their owners? Yes, they do. The cats miss the owners whenever they are away or have been detached from the owner. They notice the absence of all the showered love their owners have left for them.Can I leave my cat alone for 3 months? ›
Age. While an adult cat is able to handle being alone for a day, kittens and younger cats benefit from closer attention and care. They are more likely to get into mischief while you are gone, so you shouldn't leave them alone for 24 hours until they are at least six months old. Leaving.Do cats get mad when you leave for a long time? ›
Some single indoor-housed cats become anxious when left alone for long periods of time. These cats appear to be unusually sensitive to their surroundings, and may be very attached to their owners. Here are some signs of "separation anxiety" in cats: Excessive vocalization (crying, moaning, meowing)Why won't my cat leave me alone after vacation? ›
Cats are social and form deep attachments to people.” Cats with separation issues may act out when you're gone. Another reason your cat might be acting strange after a vacation is that cats enjoy routine, and you being gone causes a disruption in that routine.Will my cat be OK alone for 48 hours? ›
Normally, cats can be self-sufficient for up to 48 hours, but longer than this would be inadvisable as they may run out of food and water and their litter trays may become very unsociable! Try and arrange for a cat visitor to call and add some social interaction to your cat's day and break up their alone time.Will my cat still love me if I leave for 2 weeks? ›
If she is still a young kitten (six months old or younger) then she won't miss you as much. But if she is an adult (one year and older), especially an adult that you've had since it was a kitten, then yes she will definitely miss you and your absence will have a profound affect on her.How many missing cats return home? ›
A retrospective case series was conducted where self-selected participants whose cat had gone missing provided data in an online questionnaire. Of the 1210 study cats, only 61% were found within one year, with 34% recovered alive by the owner within 7 days. Few cats were found alive after 90 days.
Stress. Stress is another common reason why cats run away. Cats are creatures of habit – they don't like changes in the household or to their routine.What if my cat hasn't come home in 3 days? ›
You do not need to worry if your cat leaves, however, if it has been more than two days, you should consider notifying your local vet and animal warden that your animal has not come back, as they might have been injured, preventing them from coming home.Can I leave my cat alone for 30 days? ›
On average, most veterinarians would say that a cat can safely be left alone for no longer than 24 hours, with 36 hours being the absolute max limit.How long can cats go without people? ›
Cats who eat dry food that you can make readily available may be left on their own for 24-48 hours as long as fresh water is accessible as well. Beyond that time frame, water may get too dirty to drink and the litter box full.Do house cats prefer to be alone or with another cat? ›
Cats often prefer to live alone, so think very carefully before getting another one. Most cats will be friendly with cats they grew up with, but they may not accept having to share your home with a new cat. If you do want to get another cat, you'll need to introduce them patiently and carefully.Do cats get sad when their friends leave? ›
The short answer is yes, cats do experience separation anxiety. However, there's more to learn about the way cats process separation and the symptoms they may display if they have separation anxiety, too.Do house cats prefer to be alone? ›
Cats like their own company and should generally be kept on their own. Living with other cats is a common cause of chronic stress which, in turn, can cause all sorts of health issues for your cat. It is sometimes possible for cats from the same litter to live together.Are cats happier with a second cat? ›
Cats are family-oriented and usually live with their relatives. Cats will sleep together, share common feeding areas, and groom one another within family groups. For this reason, cats often do well adopted in pairs.Do cats miss their owners when they go on holiday? ›
Research has shown that cats don't show signs of separation anxiety when their owner is away. Some cat owners know this: you return from a holiday but your cat acts pretty indifferently! Other cats even behave like they are "offended" and pretend not to see you at all.Does my cat get lonely when I'm gone? ›
However, domesticated cats have evolved to crave companionship, often forming strong bonds with humans and sometimes even other pets. So, do cats get lonely? Because of the attachments they form, the answer is yes; cats can feel lonely!
While leaving their pet, people may feel guilty for doing so. This is a normal feeling to experience and there are ways to combat that guilt. Understanding that your pet is probably okay while you are gone is a great place to start to reduce the guilt that is experienced when leaving your pet at home.How many days can cats be left alone? ›
Experts recommend not leaving your cat alone for more than 24 hours. If you go away for a prolonged period, you should hire a sitter to keep your cat company. Delgado recommends not leaving “a cat alone without a person to check in on them for more than 24 hours.”What is single cat syndrome? ›
Single kitten syndrome is the idea that young kittens, when raised with other young kittens and cats and then adopted into a home by themselves, can become aggressive, anxious, stressed, and even develop behavioral issues like inappropriate chewing/scratching and inappropriately using the litterbox.What to do with cat when going away for a month? ›
Consider getting a cat sitter – either a friend, neighbour or family member who can visit at least twice a day and make sure your cat is well-fed and safe. Before you leave, make sure you leave the following: Emergency contact details. Details of your vet.