Setting Your Cat Up for Success During a Weekend Away | Dr. Elsey's
cat home alone running up stairs

Setting Your Cat Up for Success During a Weekend Away

You’ve planned your itinerary, packed your bags and are finally ready to hit the road this summer for a weekend away from home. Before you head out the door, ask yourself whether you’ve prepared your cat for a safe time without you. While cats are fairly independent animals, they’ll undoubtedly notice when you’re gone. We’re sharing our tips and tricks on how to set your cat up for a successful weekend home alone.

How Long Can Cats Be Alone?

It’s important to note that while most cats can handle short periods of time on their own, it’s best to find a friend or hire a pet sitter to stop by at least once or twice a day while you’re gone to scoop your cat’s litter box and refresh their food and water bowls.

Cat owners know that litter clumps can quickly pile up within the box, which could leave your cat seeking relief elsewhere in the house. Pet sitters often spend extended periods of time with your cat, so you can be assured your detailed instructions will be followed and your cat will be kept company while you’re gone.

Prepare For Your Pet Sitter

When introducing yourself to your pet sitter, provide them with a detailed overview of your cat’s habits and care routine. Be sure to show them where your cat’s items are kept and where to find your veterinarian’s information in case of an emergency. It’s a good idea to mediate an introduction between your cat and pet sitter so both feel comfortable around each other while you’re gone.

Keeping your cat’s daily routine as normal as possible will help alleviate any stress your cat may experience from your absence. Ask your pet sitter to perform their duties and administer any special care or medications around the same times you usually would. In the event of an emergency, it’s also wise to leave a spare key with a friend or family member so there’s an additional individual who can check up on your cat.

Provide Plenty of Enrichment

Enriching your cat’s environment with everything needed to stay calm and well entertained will help your cat feel more relaxed while you’re away. If your cat struggles with separation anxiety, playing comforting background noise like music or talk radio to make your cat feel less alone. Additionally, creating a space for hiding or a sunny window perch with a favorite blanket or piece of your clothing to cuddle up with can help your cat feel secure and content in your absence.

Boredom can often lead to destructive behavior, so offset any naughty ideas by providing plenty of toys and activities to keep your cat happily entertained. Scratching posts, cardboard boxes (with any tape removed) and food puzzles will keep your cat busy while you’re away, and you can also request your pet sitter to hold daily play sessions with your cat to make sure they’re having fun while getting in a bit of exercise.

Before You Go…

Make sure to perform one last sweep of the house to double-check everything is in order for your pet sitter and to perform any last cat-proofing needed. Here’s a checklist to follow before you go:

  • Remove any dangerous plants, chemicals, sharp objects, plastic bags, packing tape on boxes or loose cords your cat may feel compelled to chew on.
  • Keep the toilet lid closed to prevent any unwanted drinking or accidental swimming.
  • Leave the air conditioning on to maintain comfortable room temperature for your cat.
  • Make sure to leave the blinds open and tuck away the cords to avoid any hazards, so your cat can bask in the sunlight or watch birds from their window perch while you’re away.
  • Clean your cat’s litter box and refill with fresh litter before you leave. Make sure to instruct your pet sitter to scoop the box daily.
  • Secure all window screens and doors to prevent your indoor cat from escaping or getting lost while you’re away.
  • Prevent your cat from trapping themselves in a closet or room by using heavy objects like trash cans or phone books to keep interior doors completely closed or partially held open.
  • Check and lock digital ovens and stove tops to avoid any accidents caused by exploring cats.
  • Refill your cat’s water bowl and make sure they’ve been fed before you say goodbye.

Once you return home from your trip, make sure to provide plenty of snuggles and playtime! While preparing your cat for your absence might seem like a lot of work, it’s essential to ensure your cat’s safety and happiness while you’re away. Make sure you’re leaving your cat with the best care routine by taking our free litter quiz to discover which of our veterinarian formulated litters is right for your cat’s needs!