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Whenever I go on vacation I leave my 1-year-old cat with my friend, who also has a cat. My cat and his cat HATE each other, and I was wondering if I can leave my cat alone at home. I plan to be gone for multiple weeks.

Is he old enough to stay home alone?

How long can he stay alone?

How much food would I need to leave with him?

Should I ask a neighbor/friend to come over to check on him, and if so, how frequently?

  • "Every week"? You mean you're talking about multi-week absences? – Monica Cellio Oct 11 '13 at 15:43
  • @MonicaCellio Yes – Abdullah Shafique Oct 11 '13 at 16:11
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    Short answer: pet-sitter visit once a day is the minimum. – Esa Paulasto Dec 18 '13 at 16:32
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It's not really about age once they get past 6 months, and it depends on him.

If he's the reclusive sort that doesn't want or expect a lot of attention, you can have a friend come over daily to make sure he's got food and water and a little play time, and tend to the litter box as it needs it. It's good to have feeding systems that store enough for a couple of days no matter what, you never know when something might come up.

If he craves attention and actively seeks it, you probably don't want to leave him at home alone for a protracted amount of time, or no longer than twice the length of time you'd normally be gone. That could be quite a bit of stress on him, and that can lead to undesirable things. He'll need a couple visits each day you're away.

If you don't have a friend that you trust with a key, consider a good cat kennel where he'll have plenty of room and opportunity to interact and play with people. Just check them out first, the best ones are those that come recommended by other cat owners you know.

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No, you should avoid doing that. You should, at least, make someone visit the cat twice a day. It's a misconception that a cat can live alone for many days, but it's not true. Domestic cats can become depressed, and even get sick. A few more problems can include:

Cat who develops a urinary track infection can become critically ill in less than 24 hours. Therefore, if you are even planning just a short weekend getaway, a pet sitter or a friend should be looking in on the cat at least twice per day. This person should plan to stay for a minimum of one hour so they can observe the cat and make note of any behavioral abnormalities (ideally, it should be someone who knows the cat fairly well so the better to notice if something seems different). Of course, the caregiver should be provided with contact information for the owner as well as the phone number to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic and copies of all the animal’s medical record. (Source: http://www.pawschicago.org/)

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The simple answers are that at a minimum someone needs to clean the litter box and check food and water, and ideally it should be someone who likes cats, whom the cat likes, and who is willing to take some time to play with/pet the cat. I hire a friend's teenage kid for this.

The long answer is that it very much depends on the individual cat. I've known cats who panic every time their human opens a suitcase; I've known cats who could be trusted alone for five days (beyond which I have to agree with them that the litterbox gets pretty vile).

I'd suggest a catsitter visit every other day as a minimum until you know your own cat's tolerances very well. More is better, especially if the cat might have any medical issues. Hiring a trusted teenager, especially one who likes cats, can be fairly cheap. (I pay $10/day, since I can afford it, it's worth that much to me, and it's partly an excuse to encourage the kid to think about earning and saving money -- but I'm sure I could just ask for it to ne done as a favor, or any price in between .) If you don't know anyone you trust with a key, hiring an adult cat-sitter or boarding the cat are good options though more expensive.

The alternative is to admit that your lifestyle is nor currently suited to being a pet owner. Or to figure out how the cat could comfortably travel with you; sometimes that can be made to work.

(Yes, I saw the twice a day recommendation. Honestly, unless you know the cat has health issues I consider that overkill. Not a bad idea, just hard to justify on a price /benefit level. YMMV.)

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