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How to Care for My Cat While Working Full Time: 9 Expert Tips

Eleanor Glaum

By Eleanor Glaum

a young woman or cat owner working in the office with cat

You don’t need to resign yourself to a cat-less life just because you work full-time. If you’re a cat-lover who has a full-time job, it is certainly possible to have a special feline companion in your life. The emotional benefits of owning a cat are well-documented, and a furry friend may be just what is needed to counteract the stresses of a full-time job.

However, you may have some ethical concerns regarding whether it’s okay to leave a cat at home while you’re at work during the day. Unlike dogs, cats are generally aloof and independent. Adult cats don’t usually require as much validation and attention as dogs. The good news is that a cat may be perfectly happy to keep your couch warm while you’re at work, provided you take specific steps to ensure their happiness while you’re away.

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The 9 Tips for Caring for Your Cat if You Work Full Time

1. Have Plenty of Food and Fresh Water Available

Always have plenty of fresh food and water available for your feline friend. If they eat wet food in the evenings, clear away any leftovers before you leave for work in the morning. It’s not a bad idea to leave good quality dry kibble out for them to snack on during the day until they get their evening meal. If you prefer not to have food freely available, then make sure not to skip their breakfast and dinner time.

Ensure their food and water are easily accessible and placed in a cool spot where the kitty is comfortable. Monitor water levels to determine whether you need to leave more water, and ensure their water bowl cannot be easily tipped over.

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2. Ensure Litter Box/es are Clean and Accessible

The general rule is to provide one litter box per cat plus one extra. Litter boxes should be large enough to allow cats to maneuver around within. High sides are a good idea to prevent litter spray. A litter box mat underneath their tray is an excellent addition since it will save you cleaning time and prevent litter from being tramped all around your home.

Try and get into a scoop routine so you don’t inadvertently leave your cat at home with a soiled litter box. We suggest scooping before you leave for work and again when you get home. Every week or two, give the litter box a good scrub with soap and warm water and install fresh litter.

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3. Provide Entertainment

The sky’s the limit in this department! You could turn your home into a veritable kitty palace. There is no shortage of games, toys, scratching posts, and furniture available to keep even the fussiest feline entertained. It’s well worth investing in a good selection of toys, particularly if your cat is confined indoors. They will probably save your furniture, curtains, and carpets from being shredded!

Make sure that you spend some time playing with your kitty and the toys so that they form enjoyable associations. This will also help you determine the kinds of toys they enjoy the most so that you can get more in the future.

4. Install a Cat Flap

You may be fortunate enough to live in a quiet neighborhood with a yard. If that is the case, consider installing a cat flap in a door or window so your pet can come and go at will. Cats are naturally inquisitive and alert.

Most of them enjoy outdoor time soaking up the sun, breathing fresh air, and relishing the sights and sounds. Be sure that your yard is a secure and safe kitty haven. As an alternative to a cat flap, you could leave a window slightly ajar for your cat to enter and exit the house.

5. Cat-Proof Your Home

It’s a good idea to examine your home for any kitty hazards. This includes things that could cause your cat harm and precious items they might damage. Remembering that cats are skilled climbers, these may consist of areas that would normally be out of reach to dogs and children.

Remove any poisonous plants and lock away medicines. Check whether there are heavy objects that could be knocked over during boisterous play sessions or whether there is anywhere that your cat may become trapped. Are the toilet lids down?

You know your cat well and the trouble they could get into. This will help you take the necessary steps to keep them safe and preserve your belongings.

DIY Extra Large Pet Gate for Cat
Photo Credit: Kitty Loaf

6. Spend Quality Time with Your Cat

This is the easiest tip on the list! We’d spend all day cuddling and playing with our precious feline if we could. But since you’re obliged to be apart from them for most of the day, you should make the most of the time that you do have with your cat.

Bear in mind that cats are prone to bouts of non-negotiable aloofness. Even if you’ve been apart the whole day, you might get home to a grumpy kitty who doesn’t want to cuddle, and you’ll have to respect that.

7. Set Up Kitty Lookouts and Nap Spots

This is particularly important if your kitty is exclusively indoors. Cats are creatures of habit and will usually have several favorite spots for napping and watching the world go by. You can observe your cat and see if you can identify their favorite spots. Then, you can make them more comfortable with a cozy cushion or blanket.

Generally, indoor cats like to choose a nap spot or vantage point that’s elevated. Beds, chairs, and shelves are favorites, but you could also invest in a kitty tree or condo.

cat chilling on its window perch
Photo Credit: Saman Tsang, Unsplash

8. Be Observant of Your Cat’s Health and Behavior

If you have taken the plunge and brought home a new feline buddy, or even if you’ve had one for a while, it’s a good idea to observe their health and behavior. Changes in either of these may indicate that they are unhappy with their living arrangements. It may be obvious to you that they don’t enjoy being left home alone, or you may be unsure of how to interpret these changes. Your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist will be able to help you understand your cat’s communication and make any necessary changes.

Changes in health and behavior are just as likely to indicate some other veterinary concern. If you have any doubts or concerns, get in touch with your veterinarian to provide clarity.

9. Set Up a Wireless Surveillance System

If you are interested in technology and gadgets, consider installing a wireless camera or two in your home, and you can check up on your cat at any time. It’s improbable that your feline companion will get themselves into any real trouble while you are at work, but if they do, you could pick up on it immediately and act swiftly. Some pet cams will even let you interact with your beloved feline remotely.

Robot CCTV Camera
Image Credit: APChanel, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions About Owning a Cat and Working Full Time

You may have doubts and concerns regarding owning a cat and working full-time. Check out these frequently asked questions to see if they will help you decide and set your mind at ease.

Is It a Good Idea to Get a Cat If I Work Full Time?

Absolutely! If you pay attention and put effort into setting up your kitty safely and comfortably at home by following the previous tips, chances are they will be content for the 8 hours you’re at work. As with anything, especially situations involving animals, there are exceptions and anomalies. That’s why it’s advised that you always observe your kitty for any signs of anxiety or ill health.

cat owner belly rubbing her cat russian blue
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

Can I Get a Kitten if I Work Full Time?

Unfortunately, this is not a good idea. Kittens are like children. They require almost constant care, engagement, and supervision. Kittens must be fed between two and four times a day, depending on their age. They also require regular litter box training and socialization, which is impossible without being around during the day.

Unless you can take 3 months off work to spend with your kitten during this most impressionable time of their life, you should adopt an adult kitty.

Will My Cat Get Anxious or Depressed If I Leave Her at Home All Day Alone?

Provided all of their needs are met, your cat will probably be happy at home alone during the day while you are at work. Adult cats spend much time napping, particularly during the day, and your presence is not required for that!

Remember to provide them with plenty of food, fresh water, clean litter boxes, and entertainment. Of course, there are exceptions. Some cats are people-centric, and although it’s unusual, they may suffer from separation anxiety. If you suspect your kitty is suffering from separation anxiety, chat with your veterinarian or animal behaviorist for a confirmed diagnosis and tips to manage it.

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Are Two Cats Better Than One?

In most cases, yes. Domestic cats are social animals and find comfort in the presence of other cats they approve of. If you live in an apartment that doesn’t enable free outside access, you should consider adopting a pair of cats. If possible, adopt a pair that already knows and likes each other, such as siblings. Sterilized indoor cats who are strangers to one another are more likely to develop affection for one another if they are introduced correctly. Two cats will readily entertain and comfort one another in your absence.

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There is no reason why you should not get a cat or two if you work full-time. The benefits of having a feline companion are numerous. The effort required to set up your home and life to accommodate a furry friend is negligible and well worth the investment.

Nothing can be better than coming home to a loving meow at the end of a hard day’s work. We can’t think of a more effective way to unwind than by cuddling and playing with your beloved cat on either side of your daily grind. We hope this article has provided you with some valuable tips to organize your living space and schedule so that you and your kitty can exist in blissful contentment.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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