How Long Can I Leave My Cats Alone?

I recently had a conversation with some other pet sitters regarding the optimal frequency of visits for kitty clients. It appears that the consensus among most professional pet sitters is that a once a day visit is the standard for most cats not requiring medicine, and that every other day is the absolute minimum for any cat. Apparently, leaving a cat on its own for more than 48 hours is frowned upon…and quite passionately.

I confess that when my own cats have had no health issues that required someone to visit and administer medication, I have left them alone with some automatic feeders and multiple bowls of water for the occasional long weekend of 3 days. And I have more than a few friends and family members who do the same.

So I find myself, as I often do, conflicted. I can see this issue from both sides. And because I’m relatively new in this business and not yet willing to plant my flag on one side or the other, at this time I will simply ask that cat parents understand if a pet sitter declines your request for visits of frequency of less than every day, for the reasons outlined in the following blog post I came across while researching the issue.

I would also ask that those of us who may be inclined to leave our feline friends to fend for themselves for a weekend take note of these potential dangers, and do our best to guard against them.

I have copied and pasted the list from this blog post for your convenience. All credit for the following list goes to Purrfect Pet Sitting, LLC. I made notes next to the types of incidents for which I have some sort of personal knowledge or experience.

  1. Indoor cat greeted pet sitter outside.  Cleaning crew had been there and accidentally let her out.
  2. Client had accidentally locked cat in closet before they left.
  3. Cat managed to crawl into a vent and was trapped inside a wall. (NWPDC: I have heard this story from friends with cats).
  4. Cat had gotten tangled up in the computer wires and was unable to get free.
  5. Cat had gotten the cords from the mini blinds around its neck and was hanging. (NWPDC: A friend of mine came home to find her kitty dead because of this, and it stuck with me. All blind cords are tucked away whenever I leave my home, even if just for a few hours).
  6. Cat got stretchy collar stuck on its lower jaw and was unable to break free.
  7. Arrived at a house to find the door wide open and cat was gone.  Realtor had done a showing and didn’t close the doors.  Thankfully we found the cat!
  8. Arrived at a house to find it had been broken into and one of the indoor cats was missing.  I searched for days and eventually found the cat hiding under their shed.
  9. Cat had been peeing blood, took to vet and discovered he had a urinary blockage.
  10. Cat who normally doesn’t miss a meal suddenly wanted nothing to do with food.  Took to vet and discovered a fecal impaction.  Emergency surgery necessary.
  11. Couldn’t find two indoor cats anywhere.  After searching house found a torn out screen in the window where they had escaped.  Took a while, but managed to find both cats and coax them back inside.
  12. Cat had been playing with a ‘bird toy’ and gotten the string knotted around its front legs and was unable to move.
  13. Cats had been playing and accidentally closed the bathroom door, trapping them inside with no food, water or litterbox.
  14. Pet sitter could hear cat crying, but could not find cat.  After much searching she found the cat trapped inside a sofa sleeper.
  15. Arrived at sit to find the burners on the stove on. (NWPDC: This happened to me…I came home at lunch one day and found the side of my refrigerator starting to melt due to the gas burner next to it flaming away on high. I am almost certain I did not leave the burner on that morning – I don’t typically cook anything on mornings when I have to work. I can only surmise that one of my cats somehow managed to jump up on the stove-top and turn one of the knobs in the process, igniting the burner accidentally.)

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