Cats are proud and independent creatures. You know you can leave them alone, and they mostly will be fine when you are back. They even enjoy a reputation for preferring to be left alone mostly. However, felines are living breathing creatures, and they also feel left out when they do not receive some proper attention and are left for a long period.
But before we talk about anything else that might shorten your cat’s lifespan, which might stem from things like depression or hunger, a lonely cat might subject itself to sudden death if left in the company of sharp tools, electric wires, or other household gadgets which might kill it as they are also endlessly curious.
Let us now reiterate how cats feel loneliness and what are its impacts?
HOW TO SPOT A LONELY CAT?
Cats also have the need to build social relationships and a craving to form companionship. When a cat is left alone for a long time or feels that it is not getting their due attention from their owner, they develop a mental disorder common to household pets called separation anxiety.
A cat with separation anxiety will depict the following behavior:
- They will isolate themselves for an extended period.
- They will do their business wherever they feel like it.
- They will be very clingy and attention-seeking
- They will lick themselves more to make themselves look good.
- They will not eat properly.
Separation anxiety might occur once you have left your cat for long periods. Even though being notorious for preferring loneliness, your cat can only withstand as much as it can. A grown cat can only be left alone for a maximum of 48 hours, after which you need someone to check upon them.
“CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT”
You might have heard this phrase at least once in your life because it is true. Cats are notorious for always looking for something to do. If you have a pet cat, you can testify to this. So, when you leave your cat for a while, you need to do a few things.
First of all, you need to make your house fully cat-proof. Cats have great reflexes and can jump and climb to places. So, you need to fully lock away or make safe every nook and cranny of your house so that your cat will not be dangling lifelessly from your main power outlet cables when you are back.
It would be best to give them a few activities they can do to keep themselves busy, like toys they can play with or something they could scratch.
If you are going away for an extended period, then it is wise that you leave someone to look after your cat. If you cannot do that, leave an ample supply of food and water for them to drink. Also, leave a few cat litters for them.
However, you still have to make sure that someone will check up on them to have their amenities restocked and the litter cleaned. The extra company for a short while will also do them good.
Suppose there might come a time that you have to leave your cat home for an extended time frame, supposedly one week or so, then we strongly recommend that you do not. Many things can go wrong with an unsupervised pet, from thirst and starvation to injury and illnesses. However, if it has to come to it, ask or hire someone to look after your cat. This will not only save it from getting itself into trouble but also prevent depression and separation anxiety.
HOW TO PROPERLY LEAVE A CAT ALONE?
Now let us discuss how to properly leave a cat at home to be there in one piece once you are back. But do remember that this guide is only applicable to 48 hours. Longer than that, we recommend asking or hiring someone to look after it.
Leaving a cat alone for a while can spell disaster in all caps if the proper preparations are not done. There are four things you need to look out for before going anywhere with your cat alone at home.
Your cat will need some freshwater to survive. Place a few bowls of water at home for your cat to drink. Doing this will ensure that your cat is properly hydrated and has enough water supply whenever it needs it. Do this even if you are going to leave your cat alone for 10 minutes.
If you are back in time to feed your cat at their time, you are free to skip this step; however, if you are going for a more extended time, then do leave enough food for them.
Anything that is sharp or has electricity running through it can hide it or lock it behind a door. A kitty cat has to be fully cat proof in a safe environment so that you do not have to clean its guts out from your plugged-in paper shredder.
Also, have someone clean your cats’ litter at least once a day; otherwise, your cat is going to do their business on your couch or your carpet.
Have something there for your cat to play with. These can include cat toys and a scratching post. Also, leave on your TV to be playing something at all times so that your cat does not get fully alone.
So, now the answer to the question, can a cat die of loneliness? Well, it entirely depends on the duration and circumstance in which you leave it. If you have sharp toys and machinery all-around your house, you might come home finding your cat in more than one piece. Also, suppose your cat is left alone for a longer duration. In that case, it can develop separation anxiety, which will mostly add up to some behavioral issues, but your cat will survive if you treat it. However, it is not recommended you leave your cat for more than 24 hours unless you have all the essentials available to it and have someone to check upon them.