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Tabby cats are some of the most adorable animals on the planet. As pets, they make fine companions, showing plenty of love and affection. They are also very social and intelligent cats who love getting attention from their owners. However, just like humans are, tabby cats are just as reactive to a lack of attention.
A tabby cat can go through a period of separation anxiety if their owners were to leave them for long periods of time. Whether it’s a weekend trip out of town or if you’re gone to work for a few hours, this can greatly affect the mood of your cat. There are certainly some important factors to consider when it comes to caring for your cats social and mental state of mind.
In this article, we’ll share with you the different ways cats can react due to long and short term separation from their owners. We’ll also look at some effective strategies to help limit the stress on your pet and keep them happy and occupied while you’re gone!
Can Tabby Cats Be Left Alone
Yes, tabby cats can be left alone. Any cat for that matter can be left alone as long as the owner takes care of a few important things. When leaving a cat alone you’ll want to make sure they have access to the following resources.
- Access to food and water
- Access to clean litter boxes
- Room to roam around
- Plenty of toys to play with
When it comes to caring for a cat that has to be alone for any period of time, it’s important they have access to food and fresh water. How much food a cat eats on their own is completely in control of the owner. To make sure your cat sticks to their diet, it’s important to measure out how much food they get and what times they eat.
Ideally, if you’re planning to be gone for most of the day, you should feed your cat in the morning hours. For most cats, a combination of wet food in the morning is a great place to start. Follow this up by providing the cat with a certain amount of kibble for them to munch on throughout the day. After returning home later in the evening, you could then feed your cat another round of wet food or additional kibble. This feeding plan works well for most cats who are on their own during a normal workday.
No matter how much your cat eats or drinks, they need access to fresh litter. Litter boxes that are well-maintained help reduce the risk of stomach issues and keeps your cat happy. If the cat has a dirty or full litter box, they may refuse to use it. For self-feeding cats who are left alone throughout the day, it’s especially important to check the litter box regularly and clean if necessary.
Sometimes maintaining a litter box can be difficult when you’re busy. It may be worth investing in a self-cleaning litter box to help automate the process. Some cats need time to get used to automatic boxes, so it’s important to gradually acclimate them to it.
It’s never a good idea to leave a cat locked in a kennel for long periods of time. This is why we encourage allowing your cat to roam freely. If you’re worried about furniture and scratches, try to confine your cat to a single room. This allows cats to get plenty of exercise and to stretch properly throughout the day. It might also be a good idea to provide plenty of toys for a cat to play with. This can help keep the cat stimulated, especially if there is not a fellow cat for them to engage with.
How Long Can A Tabby Cat Be Left Alone
There’s no set amount of time a cat can be left alone, but it’s recommended to go no longer than 72 hours at a time. If the cat is still a young kitten, they should never be left alone longer than 4 – 5 hours. This is because they are still young and developing and need more monitoring. Kittens typically eat more frequently than adult cats, and also tend to get into more trouble!
Adult cats that are left alone 3 days or less will need to have plenty of food and water available. Ideally, it’s never a good idea to leave a cat alone for more than 24 hours. You should never plan to leave a cat alone any longer than 3 days. If a cat were to go 3 to 7 days without any monitoring or interaction, then there is a consequence. Below are a few things that can, unfortunately, happen to a cat that is left alone too long.
- Risk of injury
- Running out of food and water
- Your cat can become sick
- Litter boxes will overflow
- Your cat will get depressed or upset
Leaving a cat alone for 24 – 72 hours is not always ideal, but it’s certainly more manageable and safer for them. Here are a couple of tips for preparing your cat to be alone for a long period of time.
- Portion out just the right amount of food
- Provide extra water in case of spillage
- Use a video monitoring device
Video monitoring devices are great if you have pets in general. They allow you to check in on your pet remotely. If you plan to leave your cat to run out and about the home, then having a video device can be really beneficial. In addition to that, providing the right amount of food and extra water is always a smart idea. This way if your cat has an accident, they’ll have access to more of what they actually need.
Now, if you plan to leave your cat alone for long periods of time then it might be a wise idea to set them up with someone that can watch them. Simply having a friend or family member check-in on your feline pal once a day is all your cat needs. Not only does this help keep them happy from a social standpoint, but it also cuts down on the risk of overfeeding.
There are also pet boarding services specifically for cats. Many of these are locally run and they provide everything your cat needs from food to playtime and dedicated attention.
Do Cats Get Lonely When Left Alone
While it might seem like cats are interested in very little, the reality is that they do indeed get lonely when left alone. Cats are very social, and intelligent. They can become very attached to their owners and develop routines based around them.
If you go to work on a daily basis at the same time and return at the same time, your cat will be expecting you to continue on that schedule. This is why if you have to leave your cat for a period of time, they will sometimes become stressed out. Even if your cat is watched by someone else while you’re gone, they still have an expectation to interact with their owner.
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Lonely
Cats are very independent pets, however, they do indeed get lonely. Usually, when an owner returns home from an extended trip their cat will make sure they know it. Signs of a cat that is very lonely includes
- Excessive purring
- Biting (sometimes aggressively)
- Constant meowing
- Following owners around the home
- Weird sleeping patterns
- Eating too much
- Poor grooming
No one wants their furry little companion to ever be lonely, so if you witness any of these symptoms it’s important to fix the problem immediately. A cat that’s been left alone for a while should get some immediate attention such as petting, being fed a meal, or played with. If not you can expect the cat to meow tirelessly until you do. Your cat will also probably follow you around the home.
Occasionally, cats will get upset if they do not see their owners for a long period of time. This may lead to some aggressive behaviors like biting at the legs and fingers. If this sounds like your cat, then it might be a good idea to let them warm back up to you gradually. Cat treats are a good way to keep them happy, and playing with toys that don’t involve your arms or legs is a good way to keep them stimulated without getting bitten.
When feeding your cat, it’s important to not overfeed them. Eating can be a calming activity for cats who are stressed, but it’s important to still monitor their intake. Having a few treats available will help reduce overfeeding.
Another indication that your cat is stressed is poor grooming habits. This can include a cat not keeping up with their grooming, but also natural shedding that turns excessive. Expect to brush your cat, or use grooming gloves if they’ve been alone for over 24 hours.
One of the harder issues to deal with is when a cat falls into an abnormal sleeping pattern. This is something that may take days to rectify, so it’s important to be with the cat. Cats who have this issue may wake up several hours earlier than usual. Some cats might sleep longer than usual, and others will be very lethargic signaling depression.
Other Signs Your Cat Has Separation Anxiety
Tabby or not, all cats experience some form of anxiety. Here are a few signs that your cat is experiencing some form of anxiety
- Frequent hiding
- Aggressive behavior
- Not using the litter box
When a cat has been alone for a while, the last thing they expect to see is someone walking through the door of the home. Naturally, your cat will probably run off into hiding. Part of this is them figuring out what’s going on, and eventually realizing who you are. When a cat cannot anticipate your presence, that can really cause some serious issues.
Usually, when a cat is in hiding they can become aggressive and go into a protective mode. This means any physical interaction with them can lead to some nasty scratches or bites. Cats will sometimes tremble as if their entire world has turned upside down! Not using the litter box at all whether it’s clean or not is also an indicator your cat has become anxious.
Do Cats Need A Companion
Cats can get lonely when they don’t’ have a companion. While not a necessity, a companion is a great thing for cats to have. They can share in many activities together and it helps prevent loneliness. One thing to consider when getting a companion cat is to make sure it has a similar temperament to your current cat.
By doing this you can prevent some early conflicts by either cat. Adult cats can be very hostile to unknown felines, so the addition of another cat should be done gradually. Start off by giving them limited time with one another and make sure to monitor them.
Having separate feeding bowls and litter boxes is also a good idea. Ideally, it’s best to introduce a new cat while they are still young. Cats can actually build unique bonds with one another when they are littermates.
Lonely Cat Solutions
Although cats can be left alone for days at a time, they can develop loneliness. Dealing with loneliness as a cat is tough living, and you as an owner should do your best to keep them happy! Below are a few solutions that can help a cat feel loved and prioritized.
- Getting a companion cat
- Allow them to look outside
- Play calming music
- Give them extra attention
- Make the environment interesting
- Leave your clothes on the floor
- Reach out to your local vet
While our cats may want to be around us at all times, sometimes it’s just not possible. So if you own a cat or plan to, it’s important to factor them heavily into your daily routine. Carefully planning out their meals, how you’ll communicate with them, and more will help greatly with their separation anxiety.
The more attention your cat gets, and the more comfortable their living arrangements are, the better off they will be when you do have to leave for long periods at a time.
Ideally, you’ll want to get your cat a companion while their young so they can grow together comfortably. Adding a companion to the mix after your cat is an adult is much tougher to do but possible. Many cat owners have found great success by putting on a little music and letting it soothe their cats. Light classical music works really well with pets in general.
The more interesting their environment is, the less bored the cat will be. Making sure there is a kitty condo, plenty of toys to play with and places to jump and run around can be very therapeutic for cats. Also leaving your clothes on the floor allows them to get access to your scent, which makes them think less about the fact that you are not physically present. This kind of gives them a piece of you to hold onto, and it works really well with most cats.
Of course, if you feel your cat really has some serious anxiety issues, you can definitely take them to the vet to get checked out. It’s important to remember that every cat is different. Whether it’s tabby or not, they will all require different levels of care and attention. Spend some time with your cat and really get to know their tendencies and everything will work out just fine!