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Home Alone For the Holidays- Tips and Hazards of Leaving Your Cat

Home Alone For the Holidays- Tips and Hazards of Leaving Your Cat

Cats have often been the pet of choice for many people who are called away on business with short notice and those that want the freedom for short weekend travel.  The key is to prepare in advance and always look for new ways to keep your cats “staycation” fun with things that bring out a cats natural curiosity. 

There will always be differences of opinion on the subject of leaving cats home alone and for how long it is acceptable. Since knowing so many worst case scenarios, I have become an expert on the tragedies that can occur. I’ve become a little bit like an ambulance driver through experience with people seeking funds for the sometimes avoidable incidents that have occurred while people are away. But, I’d like to help you create an environment that will provide safety and can stimulate your cat’s inquisitive senses; with just an added precaution to leave your pets’ veterinarians’ number.   

To depart on your next trip with confidence, allow me to share some of my knowledge of the hazards and tips that are things that I believe every pet-parent should remember and know before leaving their cat(s) home alone.

Because routine provides continuity and a feeling of security for most all beings, ask a neighbor if they would look in on your cat and offer a canned food breakfast and dinner meal that brings the pleasure of that, “Oh, so familiar sound” of a popping can of cat food. 

While you are gone, automatic lights can mimic the ambiance of a lived in home and make your home less appealing to burglars. In addition, leaving soft or classical music on for your cat can cut the sound of silence. Or, why not investigate the latest research in “cat targeted music”

If there’s still time for a holiday surprise, why not buy a new cat tree or incorporate the installation for some added enjoyment with cat climbing shelves. This is one element of interior design for pets that will make all cats happy for their “staycation”.

Use the following tips to make your cats happy when leaving your feline companion(s).


A bird feeder hanging outside a window is an inexpensive way to provide great kitty T.V! 

Wadded-up paper balls, rubber balls and any balls without bells or small objects inside.

When you’re away some cats can become terribly destructive without more action to fill their day. Petmate’s cat circle is definitely a boredom-buster and a great interactive toy! It’s simply a ball that will never become lost enclosed in a plastic circle. I recommend this product in all my feline pet-parenting classes.

Cardboard cat scratchers that come with catnip to rub in the grooves for just $6.99 are the best value and are available at Trader Joes in many states across the U.S.. When one side of the scratcher is destroyed it can be pried up and flipped to get more use.

The more boxes the merrier! Cats love to claim ownership of boxes and rub their scent glands in their cheeks against them. Make boxes even that much more enticing by placing a small amount of catnip inside the cardboard boxes that your cat(s) can roll in.

Surprise your cat(s) with some furry toy mice inside some cardboard boxes. But, please don’t forget to remove the eyes and any feathers as they pose a health risk, too! Your cat(s) can find hours of long-lasting play inside and outside the box.  

Sheets of tissue paper placed on the floor make for great play for cats like summer fun on a Slip ‘N Slide toy.
Crumpled Up Paper – Kitties just love office work!
Paper Towel Cardboard Inserts – Even kitchen supplies can be fun!
Toilet Paper is no surprise to most cat owners that try to discourage their cat from make a tremendous mess unrolling the T.P. most of the time. “Oh, what fun!” “But, why not… it’s Christmas time!”


Just to be safe leave a bowl of water in the bathtub with a very “infrequent” drip.

The dangers are if the batteries run out!  So, please have someone look in on your pet.

Why not look into buying a Catit puzzle feeder toy and a Food Tree by Catit found on Amazon or

Keep the seat down and leave untreated water in the toilet. The disinfecting toilet solutions are deadly poison.

Tempting and deadly are the cords. Adult cats and especially kittens could get caught and if not hanging themselves have a frightening experience becoming tangled.

Of course most cat owners know that paper bags make fun places to hide. But, the dangers some people don’t know is if the paper handles aren’t cut off.
Many cat lovers have discovered this terrifying cat experience themselves after a curious cat gets its head stuck and runs the house with groceries exploding from the sack as it slams into furniture.
Fun Tip: After trimming brown bag handles, they can be tied together to make a great paper toy that adds hours of fun to a tile or linoleum floor.

Plastic bags whether with handles or not are never a good idea to have within reach of a cat to crawl in as they could suffocate.

Wand toys with feather teasers are in all the stores, but, quite frankly pose a risk and can’t expect a cat to ignore. Put your pets feather wand toys away because unsupervised play poses a choking risk. 

String or yarn is the most commonly known choking and intestinal blockage risk for a cat. But, has anyone considered how dangerous dental floss is?

Chewing on an electric cord could cause any pet serious injury or electrocution. Cord covering products like Chewsafe and CritterCords cover lamp cords, computer cord covers are sold on and ready for you to investigate.

Lastly, when you arrive home make time for a scheduled bout of playtime with your kitty cat(s)!

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DiAnna Pfaff-Martin began her journey helping animals in 1996 by writing “The Community Animal Report” for her local homeowner’s association newsletter. It quickly grew into a city-wide publication that was delivered to local vet offices.

Her publication helped raise awareness for animals searching for new homes and raise funds to help shelter dogs and cats that needed expensive veterinary procedures. DiAnna’s philanthropic efforts developed into the charity known as Community Animal Network, a veterinary medical rescue.

The needs of her community combined with her passion were recognized by the local newspaper which published her weekly column, “The Pet Of The Week”, for eighteen years.

Currently, she teaches pet-parenting classes, consults on feline behavior and about cat care; how to administer pills and other medications. Her charity offers hands-on veterinary medical internships to aspiring veterinarians and she still is the director of the rescue Community Animal Network.



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