This weekend, my kittens spent 3 nights alone for the first time. We left Friday (fed them that morning) and were gone Saturday and Sunday, returning early Monday morning. We attended an out of state wedding and decided the kittens were ready to handle a weekend alone. I was worried. Our kittens are just about 4 months old, but they are still babies and had never been alone for that much time before.
A huge benefit of having cats is that they can be left alone for an overnight, or a long weekend. These are some things I took intoconsideration before leaving my kittens home alone for the first time.
Food and Water
Make sure you provide enough food and water for your cats. Remember, it is better to provide extra food and water, rather than not enough. The amount of dry food you leave your cats should be based on the number of days you will be gone and the daily recommended amount of food (which should be indicated on the food bag.) You may want to include some extra dry food in case you are delayed in getting home!
Cat bodies are 80% water, so it is crucial that you provide fresh water for your cats. The exact amount of water your kitten or cat will need varies depending on weight and food intake. If it’s your first time leaving your cats home alone, you may want to consult your vet to ask how much water to provide. You can also buy water dispensers at pet stores that will provide a fresh supply of water into a dish as your cats drink (like a water cooler for cats!)
We left our kittens with two 6 cup Glad plastic containers filled with water. When we returned there was plenty of water left, but it won’t hurt to leave extra!
Remember that you won’t be home to regulate the temperature of your home. Make sure to set your thermometer and heating/cooling system to keep your home at a comfortable temperature for your pets.
Since our kittens are young and it was their first weekend alone, we decided to confine our kittens to our master bedroom and attached bathroom. Before leaving we carefully went through the room and removed our breakables. Cats can jump very high and figure out how to access different surfaces, especially with days alone to strategize. So please make sure to remove breakable or valuable items – even from high places.
Some toys might pose safety threats if your cats aren’t supervised. A few weeks ago one of our kittens got herself tangled in the string of a teaser toy. It was wrapped around her body twice and also wrapped around her neck. We got her free and she was not hurt, but if we hadn’t been there to help her, she could have been injured or strangled. Evaluate your kitten or cat toys to make sure they are safe for unsupervised play.
Most experts recommend having one more litter box than you have cats. (One cat should have two litter boxes and so on.) Our kittens currently have two regular adult litter boxes, which have been sufficient so far. We placed both litter boxes in the bathroom for the kittens to access. Cleaning the boxes was one of the last chores I did before leaving and I also made sure there was at least 3 inches of litter in each box.
Sometimes cats won’t use a litter box if it isn’t ‘clean’ and it can be hard to predict how your cat will do over a long weekend. The number of litter boxes your cats need for an overnight or weekend alone will vary depending on the size and number of cats you have.
Our kittens did very well during their first weekend alone. There weren’t any bathroom accidents and there was plenty of food and water left over. Emotionally, I was worried. Logically, I knew that I had prepared my kittens for their weekend alone.
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!