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How to Keep Your Cat Happy While You’re Away: Vet-Approved Tips & Tricks

Written by: Rachel Giordano

Last Updated on June 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

white British long haired cat smiling or happy

How to Keep Your Cat Happy While You’re Away: Vet-Approved Tips & Tricks


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

When it comes to being home alone, cats are a bit different from dogs in that they tend to be more independent. However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect their needs while you’re away, whether for the day or longer.

Despite the common thought that cats are solitary creatures, most are quite sociable and form strong bonds with their owners. In short, your cat will likely be quite sad when you leave the house, so ensuring that they’re happy while you’re gone is essential to their well-being. Here are great tips and tricks to keep your cat happy in your absence.

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The 8 Tips on How to Keep Your Cat Happy While You’re Away

1. Provide Puzzles and Games

Puzzles and games are an excellent way to keep your cat mentally stimulated. For added fun, offer your cat interactive cat puzzles with treats inside for even more stimulation. Puzzles and games can help keep your cat occupied for long periods, and they are essential items to keep in your arsenal.

tortoiseshell maine coon cat playing with puzzle feeder toy
Photo Credit by: Maximilian100, Shutterstock

2. Establish a “Cat Zone”

Cats love to have their own space, and providing your cat with an area in the home that they can call their own is important. Even if you don’t have an extra room to designate for this purpose, a corner of a room will suffice as a cat haven. However, choosing a room with a window is ideal to give your cat a view.

Cat trees act as playgrounds for cats. These enable your cat to receive physical stimulation, and they will enjoy climbing and batting at objects on the cat tree, providing hours of entertainment. Cat trees are also useful to provide a chance to rest at different heights and to increase a sense of security.

Cat scratchers are important to have for your cat’s enrichment. Scratching is a natural instinctive behavior. It helps to keep the nails in shape and is a means of communication. Lastly, make sure your cat has plenty of cat-safe toys, cat tunnels, and ping-pong balls, all of which cats love!

3. Provide a Window Perch

Cats love to stare out the window, and providing a window perch will keep your kitty entertained for hours. You can buy one, or if you’re a DIYer, you can make one easily at little cost. If you want to provide even more enrichment, choose a room for the window perch where your cat can view birds, squirrels, and other wildlife.

a tabby cat sitting on a hammock by the window at home
Photo Credit By: Christin Hume, Unsplash

4. Utilize Your TV

Nowadays, nature and animal shows are abundant, and you can try leaving your TV on for your cat’s entertainment. Ensure you leave it on a channel with animals so your cat can watch and bat to their heart’s content.

Don’t have an aquarium? Cats love to stare and watch fish, and finding a channel with aquatic views can keep your cat entertained for hours. You can also play soothing sounds or music, either from your TV or other device, to help soothe your cat. It’s better to consider a bit of classical music than, say, Metallica, for example.

5. Clean the Litter Boxes

Cats are particular in that they require clean litter boxes to relieve themselves; a dirty litter box simply won’t do. If you don’t clean the litter boxes regularly, your cat may decide to relieve themself on your bed or clothing. If you have one cat, you need at least two litter boxes in the home.

If you’re going to be away for a couple of days, ensure both boxes are clean and have enough litter in them. If you’re going to be away for an extended period, consider hiring a pet sitter to clean them for you.

If it fits your budget, you may even consider investing in an automatic litter box that cleans it for you. These types of litter boxes may be pricey, but they are worth their weight in gold.

Combating tough cat litter smells is an ongoing battle for pet parents but luckily, there are products out there designed to help! Two products that significantly reduce odors are the Hepper Litter Additive and the Hepper Enzyme Spray. Find out which is better suit to your needs with our breakdown of each product below. 

Hepper Enzyme Spray - New Label Hepper Litter additive
Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Cat Litter Deodorizer Powder
Eliminates smells
Eliminates smells:
Eliminates smells:
Removes stains
Removes stains:
Removes stains:
Light fresh scent
Light fresh scent:
Light fresh scent:
Works on multiple surfaces
Works on multiple surfaces:
Works on multiple surfaces:
Neutralizes odor within cat litter
Neutralizes odor within cat litter:
Neutralizes odor within cat litter:

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

6. Provide a Cardboard Box/Paper

Cats are fascinated by cardboard and the sound of crinkling paper. Best of all, they are inexpensive. Throw some pieces of paper on the floor, and leave the cardboard box from a delivery for your cat to enjoy. Take heed to ensure the cardboard box is on the ground so your cat doesn’t get injured from a fall.

Empty toilet paper rolls are also excellent toys for your cat to play with. Paper bags work well; just ensure you remove any handles on the bags to prevent your cat from getting tangled up.

7. Invest in a Food and Water Dispenser

Cats love consistency, and having fresh water and food dispensed at specific times of the day will please your kitty so you don’t disrupt their routine while you’re away. Automatic pet feeders are pretty incredible, as they allow you to customize meal sizes and mealtimes and even dispense treats on demand, right from your smartphone.

Cats do not drink water nearly as much as dogs, and having a pet water fountain keeps the water fresh and debris-free. They also entice your cat to drink because they are intrigued by the flowing water.

Cute cat drinking from water dispenser or water fountain
Image Credit: Creative Cat Studio, Shutterstock

8. Get Your Cat a “Buddy”

Getting another cat can provide your first cat with a friend to play with. However, adding another cat to the mix should not be taken lightly, especially if your cat is older and set in their ways. It may take time for your first cat to accept the other, but in time, it can be beneficial. When two cats play together, they can have a joyous time, and they may also groom each other and nap together.

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Keeping your cat happy while you’re away is not too difficult; it just takes providing your cat with items for enrichment. It’s best to rotate toys often to keep your cat from getting bored. A good way to add new toys is by subscribing to a toy box delivery service. You can customize your subscription to ensure your kitty receives the kind of toys and treats they love. Also, remember to keep the litter boxes clean, and you may even consider adding another cat for companionship.

Featured Image Credit: Sviatoslav_Shevchenko, Shutterstock

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