Having a kitten at home can be such an exciting time for the whole family. Unfortunately, as much as you would like to stay in and play with your new buddy the whole day, there are times when you need to be away from home for hours or even days.
Kittens can be safely left alone at home for a short period of time, but they should not be left home alone overnight. There should always be someone around to check in on them, especially during their first 4 months of development.
With the new furry addition to your home, you may have to do some adjustments to your day to day schedule just to make sure that your kitten is well taken-cared of. Here are some important things that you need to know about leaving your kitten at home.
Leaving Your Kitten Alone at Home
Kittens are adorable, but they are a lot of work. They require a lot of attention, interaction, and activity during their crucial development stage—which is the period of time between their 8th week until about their 4th month.
During this time, they need to be checked every 4 to 8 hours to ensure that all their needs are met. So obviously, this means you can’t leave your kitten all by itself at home for more than a couple of hours to work or do some errands.
Of course, being around your kitten every hour of the day is not possible, so you need to have someone else look after your kitten while you attend to your other responsibilities.
When is it okay to leave a kitten alone at home?
Raising a pet is a labor of love. It will demand a lot of your time, energy, and patience. Thankfully, there will come a time wherein your kitten would be able to fend for itself. Once they reach their 6th month, they should already be able to spend the day on their own.
This means you can go and attend to your obligations during the day without worrying too much about your feline friend.
If you’re wondering by when you can leave your kitten alone at home overnight, then the answer would have to be never if they are younger than 4 months old.
Even if they are old enough and are already able to fend for themselves, they can get depressed and anxious when left unattended for long periods of time.
How long can you leave your kitten alone?
Generally speaking, the younger the kitten, the shorter the time it should be left on its own. This means you may have to do some special arrangements if you need to be away from home, especially if you’re living alone.
Here’s a guide on how long you can safely leave your tiny little furball alone at home.
- If your kitten is 0-4 months old, you can only leave it alone for 2 to 4 hours.
- If your kitten is 4-5 months old, you can only leave it alone for 5 hours.
- If your kitten is 6 months old and up, you can already leave it alone for 8 hours.
You need someone to look after your kitten if you need to be out of the house for more than a couple of hours. It’s important that your kitten has sufficient food, a comfortable place to sleep, and round-the-clock access to fresh water while you’re away.
How to Leave Your Kitten Home Alone
Regardless whether you’re leaving for an hour or the whole afternoon, you need to ensure that your kitten has everything it needs to sustain itself while you’re away. Here are some tips on how to leave your kitten home alone.
1. Make sure that your kitten has access to fresh water (or milk).
Newborn kittens, or kittens below 1 month of age, only need their mother’s milk for sustenance. Giving them water is totally unnecessary and not really recommended. If your kitten’s mother—real mother, that is—is no longer around, you can give it a kitten milk replacer.
As soon as your kitten starts eating anything other than their mother’s milk, which is around their 2nd to 3rd month, it’s very important for them to have access to fresh and clean water all the time.
2. Make sure that your kitten has sufficient food at its disposal.
If you need to be away from home for just a few hours, then you can stick to your regular feeding schedule. But, if you’re leaving your kitten, say for 8 hours, then you need to ensure that it has access to food while you’re away.
If you have a newborn kitten and you need to be out the entire day, you might need to ask someone else to ensure that your kitten gets fed—either from its mama cat or a milk replacer.
3. Make sure your kitten has access to a litter box.
If your kitten has already been litter-trained, you need to ensure that there are enough litter boxes around for your tiny furball to use while you’re away.
Shallow open-top litter boxes are highly recommended for kittens as these are very easy to access. Kittens also tend to wander away from their homebase, so place their litter boxes in areas that are free from obstacles and clutter.
For newborn kittens, you can use a cardboard tray to provide something even more shallow for them to walk over.
4. Make sure that your home is kitten-proof.
Kittens are inquisitive little freaks that love to explore every nook and cranny of their surroundings. This is why it’s very important to make sure that your home is kitten-proofed as your new kitten learns to adjust to its new environment.
Make sure to get rid of poisonous plants, toxic chemicals, small objects, and dangling cables from your kitten’s reach to prevent untoward accidents.
Do kittens get lonely when left alone? Cats do get lonely when left alone for long periods of time. When their social needs are not met, they can get depressed and anxious, which can have a negative effect on both their health and behavior over time.
Should I leave a light on for my kitten overnight? You can opt to leave a night light on for your kitten during its first few days as it adjusts to its new surroundings. It’s important to not do this for too long, though. Turning off the lights during night time can help your kitten establish its sleep patterns at home since cats tend to be nocturnal creatures.
Where should kittens sleep? Kittens sleep up to 16 hours a day, so it’s very important that they have a comfortable sleeping area at home. Find a nice, quiet corner away from the hustle and bustle of the household and create a kitten-proof space where your kitten can cozy up.