Is it safe to leave my cat home alone? For how long?
For most cats, it is probably safe to leave them alone at your house for some time. However, it may be unsafe for certain cats. With older cats or kittens, it is not a good idea to leave them on their own completely. The reason is that they are much more prone to getting sick, and if an injury or illness happens while you are gone there will be no one there to take them to the vet. You can get a cat sitter or a neighbor to pop in once every day or two, and you will likely be fine as long as your pet has no history of serious, recurring illness. Just let them know the cat's favorite hiding spaces and ask them to look around and visually verify that the cat still seems healthy.
It is important to make sure that your cat has adequate water and food while you are gone. You should get a cat water fountain for the cat if you are going to be gone for more than a few days, as it will keep the water fresh. If you don't, it will start to taste bad and the cat may be unwilling to drink it, risking dehydration. Also make sure that there is plenty of dry kibble available for the cat to eat. Flush the toilets and leave the seats up. This gives them another water source for if there's some emergency and they need access to it. If you're staying away for longer periods, you should put the food in multiple bowls in different parts of the house, in case for some reason it gets overturned or damaged so that the cat cannot eat it.
Most cats will be pretty well-behaved when left alone, as they sleep most of the time anyway. You should leave some toys out so that the cat has something to do, and it is also a good idea to make sure the cat has access to a windowsill or glass door where it can watch birds and entertain itself.
Personally, I would not leave a cat alone more than a week. They are self-sufficient animals, but that is about the upper bounds for how long they can survive if something goes wrong. If somehow the food was destroyed in a freak accident (flooding of the house, the cat knocking the bowl over and trapping the food), the cat would probably make it that long. I have personal experience with this, as when I left New Orleans for a day-long trip to a friend's wedding, Hurricane Katrina hit. My cat survived trapped there for about a week - but she was emaciated and not doing well by the end of it. If you are going away for an extended period, you should find a local kennel and keep your cat there or have a trusted cat sitter.
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