Some adult cats like their solitude, but kittens tend to need lots of socialization and activity. When they’re in their busy kitten months, their little brains are working on forming strong bonds with their human and animal companions. Being left alone for long periods of time can cause loneliness. And of course, kittens love to get into mischief!
Every kitten is unique. But there are some accepted guidelines for how long you can leave them by themselves. Read on to answer the question: how long can you leave a kitten alone?
When can I start leaving my kitten alone when I go to work?
Cats are known for being more low-maintenance than dogs. After all, their bathroom is indoors, so they don’t need someone to take them out for a walk! But when they’re little, kittens need more frequent attention than adult cats. They’re generally fed three times a day, and need to have their water refreshed daily, too.
In general, kittens between 8 weeks to 4 months benefit from human interaction every 4 to 6 hours.
Some people will leave their kittens for longer, but in the early weeks especially, it’s important to have someone check in on them during the day. As your kitten gets bigger and more confident, you may find they can stay alone longer.
By the time kittens are six months old, they can be left alone for the entire workday.
You may have heard that two kittens are better than one. Indeed, a pair of kittens will keep each other entertained and busy while you’re out. Plus, it’s double the fun and snuggles! For extra entertainment, get a pet camera that lets you check in on the fun while you’re away.
Can I leave my kitten alone overnight?
You can probably guess the answer to this one: kittens need attention at least every four to six hours, so they cannot stay alone overnight. In addition to their food, water, and litterbox needs, kittens can get themselves into trouble when left alone for too long. Just consider the mischief they cause when you’re there watching them! Plus, a sudden illness or injury can turn serious quite quickly for tiny kittens.
If you’re going to be gone overnight, arrange for a friend or pet sitter to stay with your kitten. You could also have them stop by several times but not sleep in your home. Either way, your kitten will be a lot happier and safer with regular attention while you’re away.
A kitten-proof room can help
Setting up a dedicated kitten space is a great way to keep your kitten busy and distracted while you’re out. Plus, let’s be honest: it contains the mess! Bathrooms and laundry rooms make great kitten rooms because they’re relatively small and have easy-to-clean floors.
Here’s a quick list of how to set up a kitten room:
- Make sure all electric cords are put away or taped down
- Remove any house plants
- Remove or secure breakable items
- Make sure windows and doors close and latch completely
- Cover up any potential holes
- Set up the litterbox in one corner, and food and water bowls in another part of the room
Then, stock the room with stuff to keep your kitten busy while you’re gone. A soft bed and a safe scratching post or pad will help. “Play-alone” toys like fluffy balls, crinkle/crackle balls, and catnip mice provide fun and distraction when you’re gone. You can also leave a TV or radio on low volume.
Have a kitten sitter on call
As mentioned, it’s okay to leave your kitten alone for a few hours at a time. But they really do need frequent attention, and it’s also smart to prepare for delays and emergencies. If something prevents you from making it home in time for your cat’s evening meal, having a trusted cat sitter or friend to call can put everyone’s mind at ease.
A reliable kitten sitter can make sure your little furball has everything they need while you’re gone. From stop-in play sessions to overnight stays, a professional Rover sitter can help. Or, ask some friends if they’d be willing to pitch in. After all, plenty of people love to hang out with kittens but may not be able to have one at home!