Money Matters Team

Leaving a cat alone in the house

By Money Matters Team 05/05/2021

Whilst it would be ideal to be able to take our pets everywhere with us, sometimes they have to stay at home. Cats may seem very independent, but they need you for a number of things and they do notice when you’re gone. Please remember, in general cats are content for 8-12 hours when left alone, but they shouldn’t be left any longer without clean water. And kittens will need more regular care and attention, so it is recommended to check in on them more often. We have some advice for creating a comfortable environment for leaving a cat alone in the house.

A clean litter tray

If you’re leaving a cat alone in the house, make sure they have fresh litter in their tray. Cats are very clean animals, and a dirty litter tray will not be a comfortable experience for them. If their litter isn’t clean, they’ll often go outside the box and this isn’t something you want to come home to! Experts recommend having one more litter tray than the number of cats in the house to avoid any conflicts.

Food and water

Before leaving a cat alone in the house, check their food and water. A cat should always have a fresh supply of water. If you’re away for most of the day, consider buying a pet water fountain to ensure your cat always has access to the freshest water. If your cat is alone for more than a day, ask a friend or neighbour to pop in and change the water at least once a day.

Making sure they have a supply of food to meet their own dietary needs is also important. If you have more than one pet with different needs, you should consider getting a feeder to keep meals separate.

Keep them busy

It really is true that time flies when you’re having fun. Your cat will look to find their own entertainment if they aren’t mentally stimulated – which can get messy! Make sure there are plenty of cat toys left out for them to play with. Try to avoid leaving your cat alone with any small or dangling pieces. If swallowed, these can cause a few health issues. Leaving a cat alone in the house can sometimes give them time to develop bad habits, such as scratching furniture. To avoid any damage to your furniture, make sure you have a scratching post for your cat. Catnip toys are also a great way to keep them entertained.

And if you want to keep an eye on your pet while you’re out of the house, there are a range of gadgets nowadays to allow you to check what they’re up to – even when you’re not there yourself.

Get them a friend

If you have room in your life, consider growing your furry family. Pets need socialisation too, and they won’t be lonely with a friend. Just make sure they get along before leaving them alone!

However, you should never get a second pet simply to entertain the first. You should be fully prepared to commit to caring for another animal and handling any socialisation issues that may occur.

Going on holiday

While you’re on holiday or away from the house for an extended period of time, you will need the services of a cat sitter – who can visit your home regularly - or cattery where your cat can go for its own holiday!

And don’t forget... if your cat has a mishap while home alone, make sure they’re covered by pet insurance.


This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.