With the weather warming up and quarantine restrictions relaxing, people are thinking about taking trips again. Around Missoula, you needn’t travel far to experience the beautiful scenery, hiking, bicycling, camping, and numerous other activities Montana has to offer. However, unless your cat is trained to accompany you on such excursions, it’s probably a good idea to leave them behind.

But, can you leave your kitty at home for an extended period? If so, for how long?

As you may already know, each cat has a different circumstance and personality, so it’s impossible to calculate a perfect number. For example, a strictly indoor cat is much more reliant on their human for care compared to an outdoor cat. But, generally speaking, you should never leave your cats alone for more than 24 hours. However, for best practices, we would recommend a much shorter time span of 12 to 16 hours.

Obviously, food and water availability are the first considerations when leaving your cat home for any length of time. A clean litterbox is a second consideration. You must also ensure that your home is free of hazards that can be discovered by a bored, roaming cat with hours to spare.

There is one important, additional consideration when leaving your cat home alone: your cat will miss you, believe it or not! Cats are creatures of habit, and they become stressed when their routine is interrupted. If you’re not home when they generally expect you to be there, your cat might start behaving badly: urinating outside the box, climbing ledges they’d never visited before, knocking over things they’d never considered touching, scratching up furniture, and so on. For some cats, stress can also cause bladder pain, which may need medical intervention to treat.

Of course, this all assumes that your cat is completely healthy. An unwell cat has special needs. If your cat has a serious medical condition such as diabetes, is recovering from surgery, or is suddenly displaying abnormal behaviors, you should not leave your cat alone for an extended period!

So, if you’re going to be away from home, what do we recommend? If you have a reliable, trusted friend, family member, or pet sitter, you should have them feed and check on your cat at least twice daily. We also humbly suggest boarding at Cats on Broadway for even closer monitoring of your feline family member!

Now, there are a number of companies who sell automatic food/water dispensers, automatic litterbox cleaners, and even cameras to monitor your home remotely. These aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re not foolproof. If they don’t freak out your cat outright, these dispensers have been known to jam or even dispense everything all at once. If you’re camping off the grid, a remote camera system will not help you keep tabs on your cat at all.

We hope that you’ve found this newsletter to be informative and that you and your cats are staying well! Give us a call if you’re planning a trip and would like to schedule boarding for your cat. We’d love to meet you and your feline friend! =^_^=