Leaving a Cat Alone for 3 Days

Leaving Cat Alone For 3 Days

Cats are independent animals with a mind of their own. However, being independent does not mean you can leave them alone for too long. If you are wondering what will happen to your cats if you leave them for 3 days, read below to find out!

Do cats like to be alone?

Sure, they like being alone with themselves most of the time and you might think that they may hardly notice your regular absence when going to work or school. There are limits to everything though, including how long cats want to be left on their own.

Do cats ever get lonely?

Yes, they can get lonely after being left alone for some time. They may get separation anxiety just like dogs and humans. Cats are social creatures that need stimuli and interaction like other pets. Leaving them alone for a while may not be a problem but longer periods away from home with no other animal or person to interact with can lead to the cat feeling lonely.

This may also lead to behavioral issues such as peeing on your bed, walls, or floor or tearing up the place. Aggression and excessive meowing may also be signs that your cat is lonely.

How long can you leave a cat alone?

Cat experts advise that you should preferably not leave your cat alone for more than 24 hours, but the length of time depends on the cat, her diet, and your environment. Beyond the given time frame, water may get too dirty to drink, food may get spoiled and the litter box full and dirty.

If you have a kitten, an elderly, newly adopted, sick or injured cat, there are some additional precautions you may consider. So how long can your cat safely be left on her own?

AgeTime she can be left alone
Below 4 months2-4 hours
4-5 months5 hours
6 months    8 hours
Healthy Grow-ups    24-48 hours

This table is only a rough estimate. Always remember to give them access to clean water, fresh food, a clean litter box, and a comfortable place to sleep. DO NOT leave a sick or injured cat alone, have someone to cat-sit or bring her to a shelter if you have to leave for days.

What will happen if I leave my cat alone overnight

What will happen if I leave my cat alone overnight
Image: istockphoto.com / Lulamej

Cats can sleep for 13 to 18 hours so leaving them home alone for a day to go to work or school should not pose any problems. Use a cat food dispenser and water fountain for her food and water. Prepare a clean litter box and give the cat her favorite toys and scratching post. To make it easier, leave some unwashed clothes in spots where you and the cat normally cuddle. Familiar and comfortable stimuli may help ease the transition. You may also shut the doors to any rooms she should not access, but make sure you do not lock her in the closet similar.

Again, if your cat is not comfortable in this situation, she will probably let you know by exhibiting destructive behavior, not using the litter box, or not eating or drinking as much as usual while you are gone. 

What can I do if I leave my cat alone for 3 days

It is important to remember that leaving your cat alone overnight is a quite different issue than leaving her for 3 days or longer. Before leaving home for 3 days, be sure to do some serious planning to ensure her well-being and safety while you are away. Here are some helpful tips on how to get them through for 3 days without you:


The most important thing of all is to give her access to clean water. A cat, without too many health complications, can survive at most three days without drinking water while a maximum of two weeks without food. The longer they go without water the more severely dehydrated they will get and this can lead to serious health complications.

Have a sturdy and stable water bowl that is not easily tipped or spilled even if she accidentally bumps on it. The size of the bowl should also be big enough to cover your 3-day absence. It is crucial to know how much water she can consume a day, however, a regular healthy cat typically needs one ounce of water for every pound of weight.

Here are some options for making sure she is drinking as much fresh and clean water while you are away:

1.  Place multiple water bowls

Place multiple water bowls
Image: istockphoto.com / Викентий Елизаров

Placing multiple water bowls in various locations around the house can pique their curiosity. With their nomadic personality, cats tend to wander around so drinking from a bowl in multiple locations can be of interest, on the opposite, drinking from a bowl in a single location every day might not appeal to them. However, she will still need clean and fresh water so this method is only good for the short run and some cats may be sensitive if the water has a stale smell or it has become tainted.

2.  Buy a water dispenser in pet stores or online market

You may use a cat water fountain to use for your cat while you are gone. A good water fountain has a free-falling stream that will strike your cat’s interest and make them want to drink. It is also hard to tip so you do not have to worry about spillage.  A good fountain also has a built-in filter that helps to remove bad tastes and odors from the water and helps keep it fresh.

3.  Leave the faucet on

This may not be advisable as you are wasting water resources and can cause a rise on your water bill, but this will be a small sacrifice for leaving your cat alone for days. Leave a slow faucet flow where she can reach the flowing water to provide supplemental water.

Some cats are fascinated with running water and may likely drink from the faucet instead in their water bowls. If you are having issues with her not drinking enough water, you can encourage her to drink on the faucet or better teach her how to turn on and off the faucet on her own.


Make sure your cat is well fed before you leave and that she has enough of stock of food to get her through the time you are away. An adjustment to your cat’s diet and feeding routine and diet will also be needed. 

1. Switch to dry food instead of wet food

Switch to dry food instead of wet food
Image: istockphoto.com / Valeriy_G

Do not put wet food on her bowl to eat later on because it will get spoiled and might cause diarrhea, vomiting or digestive upset. Instead, switch to dry cat food as it can last a week before it expires. If she is not used to eating dry foods, you can practice giving her a small amount until she gets comfortable eating it before you plan to leave.

2.  Buy an automatic cat feeder

After you have made her get used to eating dry food, then eating in an automatic feeder will be convenient as it eliminates the problem of how to feed her while you are away. There are different types of feeders you can buy from pet stores or online for the same purpose:

  • Gravity Feeder – a simple and cheap feeder, the only disadvantage is it tends to dispense a lot of food at a time.
  • Electric Automatic Feeder – a feeder that dispenses food in smaller amounts at set time intervals.
  • Smart Feeder – a feeder that has a built-in camera for monitoring your cat; you can also schedule to feed her anytime from your smartphone with the smart feed app.

Litter Box

Cats need a clean litter box no matter how long they will be away from home. Cats are demanding animals in terms of cleanliness and hygiene so she may likely avoid using a dirty litter box and instead do her business in other places, which you do not like when you get back.

1. Multiple litter boxes in several places

Just like placing several bowls around your house, apply this method also to her litter boxes. Leave one or more litter boxes in several different places, so that they have a few options to relieve themselves.

2. Buy a self-scooping and self-cleaning litter box

A self-scooping or self-cleaning litter box is an automated litter box that you can give to your cat to use while you are away. These litter boxes have the ability to self-scoop and self-clean themselves for weeks and you will not have to scoop, clean, or refill it. 

The special crystal litter will absorb cat urine and dehydrates the waste to instantly remove stench and odor.  The covered trap locks away solid waste and odor so you never even have to touch or see it.  This litter box uses a disposable tray that is leak-proof for quick and easy cleanup.

 self-cleaning litter box
Image: istockphoto.com / Lightspruch

Stimulation and Entertainment

Give her enough stimuli before you go by cuddling, petting, and playing with her. Any form of physical attachment may help to alleviate any boredom issues and behavior problems that can develop as a result.

Having a Petcube Play can help you stay connected to her wherever you are. You can monitor and talk to your cat remotely to help her ease the separation anxiety while you are gone.

Create activities and give her entertainment like serving a meal of dry food in a puzzle feeder, leaving open paper bags or cardboard boxes around, playing some cat music, give her exciting and safe cat toys (cat trees, balls, catnip toys, feather toys, and etc.) to keep her from scratching your furniture, and even a cozy high post near a window can make a difference to a cat who spends the day alone.


Taking a few extra measures to keep her safe while you are away is recommended. To avoid a dangerous situation, follow these tips:

1.   Remove any dangerous objects, poisonous plants, and ingestible chemicals out of her reach.

2.   Have a friend or a family member check-in from time to time to ensure that your cat is not stuck, locked in somewhere, or injured.

3.   Pin or leave your veterinarian’s contact number in a place that is visible in case of an emergency.

4. Equip her with a GPS tracking collar to see where your cat is going and where she has been in case she got out and lost her way.

Final Thoughts

If you are worried about leaving your cat alone, the best solution would be to hire a cat sitter. You can also invite a family member or a friend to check on your cat from time to time. You can also consider taking her to a boarding facility that specializes in cat care.