Cats can stay home alone for only 3 days at a time and are like kids in that they need constant love, care and companionship. It is therefore important to get a cat caretaker to take care of your cats while you are away. In this guide I like to explain to you how to properly instruct your cat caretaker.
Why To Get a Cat Caretaker?
When cats are home alone for more than three days, they might get themselves in all sorts of trouble. Certain cats also go a bit wild when there is no longer a human around to take care of them. They might eat all their food in one day with nothing spare for the remaining days of your holiday. Worse yet is when their bowl gets dirty or dried out. Cats need like us humans plentyful of water to sustain a healthy body.
I don’t understand when people put a bag of cat food outside saying that their cats will survive while they are going on holidays. That your cat can access the bag, means a lot of other animals also have access to it. So this cat food bag will empty sooner than later. The next problem is access to clean water. In the summer this could be a problem with the heat. In winter it is too cold for cats to be outside.
Cats can also get hurt outside by other animals or be run over by a car. It is irresponsible behaviour to just expect everything to go well by leaving your cats outside while you are on holidays. The other thing with cats, is that they also need love, care and attention. A bag of food and a bowl of water isn’t going to give that, but a cat lover can do that for you and your cats.
Cats can stay for a limited amount of time home alone. They can stay home alone for up to three days (72 hours), as long as you provide them with adequate amounts of food, water and a clean litter box. When you are planning to stay away from home for a period of time longer than 3 days, it would be best to get someone to look after and take care of your cats while you are gone.
Instructions For a Cat Caretaker
These are the basic instructions we explain to our care takers. You can of course have your own variations to this or your cat might have even more special needs that they can do for you.
- How To Enter/Leave The House
- What and How Much To Feed
- Water Bowls & Cleaning
- Cleaning of Litter Box
- Cuddle and Playtime
1. How To Enter / Leave The House
We always have to spend extra time on instructing our caretakers on how to open the front door of our house. This is a thing you learn through experience, that not everybody takes that as common knowledge or logic.
When we open the front door to get into our house, we always have to be very careful opening it, or a cat will take the chance to run out, screaming “Freedom!”.
It is very important that the caretaker makes sure that no cat escapes when entering or leaving the house. It is about opening the doors slowly and bit by bit and having a leg in between or hands low down to stop any cats from escaping. It is also about closing the door rapidly after entering/exiting the house.
A possible solution to that type of problem, would be to have several doors that can be shut before the main door. In our case that doesn’t help all that much because our black cat Kira is able to open doors.
2. What And How Much To Feed
Different cats can have different food needs. Perhaps you have food for one of your cats that has to follow a strict, while the other gets a different type of food. Perhaps you prefer to give wet food in the evening and dry food in the morning.
Some cat parents want to feed their cat three times a day, others only once or twice. How often a cat needs to be fed, will also mean that your caretaker will have to visit them more often. This is usually not possible for our caretakers and hence they get only once a day
3. Water Bowls & Cleaning
Your cats will need adequate amounts of water throughout the entire day and during the entire duration of your stay elsewhere.
There are two sides to the story of water for your cats. First of all water will get dirty over time, because of cat paws, cat hairs and floating dust. Therefore, cat bowls need to be thoroughly cleaned and refilled daily.
Secondary, cats will also drink the bowl empty over time and will need their bowl refilled. In our case with a household of 5-6 cats, our two water bowls get emptied within 1-2 days.
That is why we have installed two water fountains in our house that keeps the water both fresh and clean and provide an interesting way to provide water for our cats.
Even though the bowls on the water fountain are slightly bigger at 2-3L, they still need thorough cleaning weekly and need to be refilled often.
4. Cleaning of the Litter Box
Especially when you are gone for a longer than four days trip it would be nice if your cat care taker can also scoop out the feces and clumps of urine. With good clumping cat litter that job should be a breeze. When you are staying away for longer than a whole week, a weekly total refresh of your cat litter might be required.
Make sure you have plenty of cat litter available and ready and bags to dispose of the litter products of your cat(s). Some cats are picky and might want a clean litter box every single day, others can handle a bit of dirt and will survive to the next visit.
5. Cuddle and Play Time
A cat care taker should (ideally also spend an adequate amount of time playing and cuddling with your cat(s). It is essential to the cats that they feel they are not home alone. There is actually someone coming around not just to fill the bowls, but also to play a bit. Cats love the attention they can get, even if it is just for an hour a day.
I am not saying you should tell them to give your cats treats, but I am trying to make you aware that some cat care takers love to give treats to cats. Perhaps you got a cat that needs a balanced diet that makes your cat go down in weight. Then a cat care taker free-feeding sweets might not be what you want.
There are treats of different qualities and calories, so you might even have a certain product you prefer to use instead. Therefore, it is important to instruct your cat caretaker well on which treats and how much a day.
Make sure you book a cat caretaker or at least a friend, family member or neighbour that can take care of your cats when you stay away from home for longer than 3 days. Today I have shown you what sort of instructions you will have to give to your cat caretaker.