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Leaving Cats Home Alone








For how long, and at what age can a Maine Coon be left home alone? This section addresses both long work days and away trips.

Here are our archived questions and answers related to leaving cats home alone. Just scroll down to read more about:

  • "Alone For Two Days?"
  • "How Do Maine Coon Cats Handle Being Alone?"
  • "Home Alone"
  • "At What Age Can I Leave My Kitten Alone For A Few Hours?"
  • "Will A MCC Be Defensive And Unloyal If...."

Alone For Two Days?

If we are lucky enough to welcome a Maine Coon into our family - there is an adult one available - how would it be for her if left on her own for two days a week? Lots of love the rest of the week.

Thank you

Reply:
Hi,

That's a tough one. Cats in general are independant. But not so much when it comes to Maine Coons. It sounds like you'd be a very responsible and attentive owner, and do whatever possible to "make up" for the two day absense when you are home.

Maine Coons bond strongly to their person. My concern would be that she'd become depressed as a result of the alone time. Without knowing her particular personality, there's no way to know for sure if that would happen.

You mention the word "family" so I'm thinking there are two or more peple in the house. I don't know if there is any way for you to stagger or alternate your time away from home so she's only alone for one day? That would be no problem.

It's fine to leave cats for a few days when away on occasional trips, and some cats may handle it just fine on a regular basis.

The best advice I can give is to speak with her current owner and see what they think. It'll depend on her nature.

A couple more thoughts: Do you have a close friend or family member who could come over once while you're away and sit with her, perhaps stay for a while and watch a televsion show in the evening?

And, have you considered getting another cat or kitten? Maine Coons are very social, and enjoy the companionship of another cat.

In the end, it's up to you and this cat. For some cats, it's no problem. And if it's two workdays with one night in between, that's not all that long. And if she's in need of a good home, it sounds like that is what you can give her!

All The Best,
~Carrie

Comments:

Alone for two days
by: Kim

Cats get really stressed out when left alone. They may think that you died and aren't coming back; and act accordingly.

My vote is no to two days alone
by: Sharon

Does 'two days' mean 48 hours alone or just alone during the day? My rule of thumb used to be 24 hours alone. Not any more. A lot can happen in 24 hours as I found out when my husband and I did an overnight for my 50th birthday. My then 18 month old Coon came down with some mysterious issue whereby he was extremely dehydrated when we came home, listless and had been throwing up what looked and smelled like stool. He was rushed to the vet who did radiograph which showed he was totally constipated. Albeit this condition must have started before we left, but went unnoticed. Several vet visits later he was on the mend, but we nearly lost him. Never found out what happened or why. I have three cat sitters and when we are gone one of them comes in twice a day for 1/2 hour to scoop boxes, fill food and water bowls and play with them.






How Do Maine Coon Cats Handle Being Alone?

Running Errands:



If I leave to go do an errand for two - three hours, how will the cat handle it?

Should I put on a cat video, t.v., radio, toys?

Reply:


You certainly can do those things, and if your cat is young, he or she will probably enjoy the entertainment.

But, you don't have to (though it's good to leave toys around). Folks leave their cats home alone all the time with no ill effects. That is one of the differences between owning cats verses owning dogs.

Now, being gone all day every day takes more consideration. Maine Coon cats do get lonely.

But running errands, and leaving for a few hours at a time should be no concern!

If your cat is feisty or mischievous, you may want to consider setting up a "safe room" free of breakables. And you will want to make sure he/she can't get into any poisonous plants, household chemicals, or chew on wires etc. when you are gone.


All The Best,
~Carrie

Comments:

chewing electrical cords
by: Dexter

Is chewing on electrical cords a Maine Coon trait? My cat chews on anything plastic

Kitten-Proofing
by: Maine Coon Cat Nation

Hi Dexter,

Chewing on electrical cords is not a "Maine Coon" trait, it is one of those random and unusual things that any cat or dog might do.

The majority of cats wouldn't do it, but since it is a deadly risk, it's best not left to chance. When our cats were little, Alice had an affinity for cords.

We simply tuck our cords under the tv stand where the cats and dog can't get at them, but there are also products designed to encapsulate them.

For more, check out our page on kitten proofing.

Best Regards,
Carrie

Lonelycat14
by: Kim

Since I use taxis a lot to transport my cat to the vet, I leave my radio sacnner, tuned to the cab company channel, on when I'm gone. It reminds my cat of the rides in the taxi which he always enjoys.

Lonely - Not Really
by: Gail (Quincy, MA, USA)

I'm gone all day, so my Abby is alone about 10 hours. She doesn't seem to mind; however, we both work at filling in the time, such as:

Animal Planet - she LOVES watching the different shows, especially when they feature the big cats. I've come home sometime and find her glued to the TV.

Rotate toys - that way, they always seem to be fresh, alleviating the boredom.

Perches/windows - we've got 3 windows with perches for her to watch/listen to the wildlife outside.

Scratching posts - a small sisel rope scratching post with a poofy feather thing attached via spring hangs from the door knob. She goes to town smacking the poofy thing around, then relieves her scratching on the sisel rope. We also have a huge, sturdy, free-standing sisel scratching post that I covered with catnip to attract her. It's got a heavy base and top, so she can launch herself at it and stick to it without it falling over (available at Amazon.com for around $35USD).


Small dog house - purchased from Walmart online (goes for about $35USD) - 2 pieces snap together. She loves to "get away from it all" sometimes and just chills inside it. She also has a few mats scattered about to lay around where ever she pleases.

QUALITY TIME - this is the most important! When I get home, the 1st thing I do is sweep her up in my arms, give her some love, then put her back down (takes around 10 seconds since she's not a lap cat). Then, we head into the bedroom, where she'll jump up on the bed, waiting for me to give her "pretty brushes." I alternate between a soft baby brush and a dog comb to keep her fur mats at bay. I don't like those brushes with the metal bristles since they can hurt. Gently stroking her fur, whispering sweet nothings in her ear and gently massaging her body is part of our daily ritual and she adores it. When finished, she knows the next thing is FOOD! Oh boy...she loves it!

Hope some of these suggestions help you enrich your relationship with your furkid. Good luck!



Home Alone

by: Smokeys Grandpa
(Cape Cod)

Our Smokey will not eat unless we are home and in the room with him. He will jump up on the table and inspect our dish then get down and eat his own.

Many times to get him to eat we have to put the dish on the counter, pet and talk to him as he eats.

What bothers us is he will not eat if we go away. Even the Vet called us one time because he would not eat and they had to feed him by IV.

We were told that is the breed. We worry because we have a few commitments that will require us to be away for 12 hours or so.

Has anyone had this problem and how did they solve it?

He is one and a half year old SPOILED Maine Coon cat.

Reply:


Hi Smokey's Grandpa!

It sounds like Smokey is definitely living the good life!

I find it very interesting that you were told this is the breed. I feel that there is just as wide of a range in eating habits among Maine's as there is among any group of cats.

Within the Maine Coon breed you'll find picky eaters, cats who will only eat in a certain place or a certain food, or at acertian time of day. But even more, you'll hear about well-fed cats that don't seem to have an "off" switch. They may pick all day, or simply eat too much.

It sounds like this started when he was a kitten. What began as you going out of your way to "get him" to eat, has become Smokey's ritual. Something he expects, and is even trained for. A habit tied to food is hard to break. He associates this lovely special treatment with feeding time. You are coaxing him to eat every time, but he just figures this is the way it is!

It makes sense that he wouldn't eat at the vets. He was not only not getting his ritual, but he was not home! He was in a cage with unfamiliar sounds, smells, and probably quite scared.

So getting to your real question, how to get Smokey to eat when you are not home. First, it won't hurt him to go the 12 hours waiting for you. So don't stress about that too much, as long as he drinks water. He's at home and happy, and I would be shocked if he starved himself at home.

If you were leaving on a road trip that could pose a real issue, though. You don't want to never be able to leave him (with a pet sitter or friend) for the next 10 - 20 years!

It sounds like a behavior taining issue now. If you just put down the food, he won't eat because he's waiting for the special treatement. So if he wont' eat, you worry about him, and do the things he's waiting for so he eats. It's a cycle!

My guess is that he's going to have to experience some hunger to help you on your way. Perhaps, once he starts eating, you can move away slowly. Start by petting him more lightly, then for a shorter time. Then just talk to him. In essence, "wean" him from the attention he expects from you at feeding time. Around this time you may find him sneaking a bite when you are not coaxing him. Always keep a little fresh kibble around!

Here is something else you can try: dribble something irresistable on his kibble (when he's hungry), like a little gravy from you dinner, and walk a few steps back. See if he'll eat it without any fanfare.

I hope some pet parents of picky eaters pop in to give their tips too!

All The Best,
Carrie




PAWSitive Passages!


PAWSitive Passages!

At What Age Can I Leave My Kitten Alone For A Few Hours?

by: Jennifer (Canada)

I just adopted a 12 week old kitten that is part Maine Coone.

He is extremely affectionate,friendly, not afraid of anything and requiring constant attention.

I love everything about his personality in just 2 days we've become extremely attached and I won't leave him alone for more than 3 hours at a time because I'm worried he'll get incredibly lonely as he is always by my side purring and follows me around much like a dog would.

I have even resorted to taking him to work with me because he's so little and has a tendency to get into everything.

At what age would it be safe to leave him by himself for a few hours?

Reply:
Hi Jennifer,

It's wonderful to hear how quickly you have bonded with your kitten, and how responsible and conscientious you are!

Maine Coon cats are just like that: always by your side, purring and keeping you company. They would rather be with you than alone, especially when they are little and full of energy. As he ages, he'll nap for a good portion of the day and there won't be as much "togetherness," though he will always prefer to be around you.

You can go ahead and leave him alone for a few hours at a time whenever you'd like. I would recommend creating a "safe room" for him. It can be a bedroom or bathroom that you have designated for him.

That way you will be sure he doesn't have plants or wires to chew, nick-knacks to topple, or other mayhem in the making!

Maine Coons are companions, but they are still cats. Caring for them is a responsibility but never a burden :)

Send us a picture when you can!
All The Best,
Carrie

Comments:

Thank you for the response by: Jennifer
Dear Carrie, thank you so much for the advice, I feel alot better. I've had cats all of my life but none like this. Lol, I think I'm addicted to Maine Coons :)




Will A MCC Be Defensive And Unloyal If....

I am in the service and get deployed for 3 months or more. If my husband and I adopt a Maine Coon Cat, will he or she be distant or angry with me when I return home?

Thank You,

Kathryn

Reply:
Hi Kathryn,

No, your cat won't be mad at you. He or she will probably be very happy when you return, somewhat like the viral videos of dogs who are so happy they squeal when their person returns from service. Though a cat won't be as overt with their happiness, of course!

As long as your husband is on board with the idea, (is he a cat person, too?) and can give your Maine Coon lots of love when you are away, all will be fine.

One thing you can expect is that the cat might bond more strongly with your husband. Maine Coons tend to choose one person to become most attached to. He or she will still love you a lot, too, though!

All The Best,
Carrie

Comments:

Missing you while you are away
by: Missy and Busters mom

Gizmo a sweet girl just loved being around me. When I would get the suitcase out she would jump in and play while I packed. Then she would sleep on the suitcase till I had to go on business travel. A month at a time. My hubby and her did not bond and she howled for me. He would put her outside and she would wait on the roof for me watching and waiting. So if you can make a video of yourself talking right to her and have hubby play it for her, it might help.










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