How to Care for a Cat While Working Full-Time: 7 Simple Tips


Cats are popular pets for a lot of reasons, but partly due to their independence. As long as they have food, water, and a clean litter box, cats will entertain themselves until you’re around for playtime and snuggling.

This helps when you have a full-time job that takes you out of the house for eight to nine hours each day, leaving your cat alone. Fortunately, there are ways you can ensure your cat has what it needs while you’re working.

Here are seven ways to care for your cat while you work full-time.

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How to Care for a Cat While Working Full-Time

1. Provide Food and Water

cat eating food in the bowl
Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock

When you’re gone for a big chunk of the day, you may be concerned about your cat eating and drinking. As long as you provide a small bowl of food and some water, your cat is more than capable of tending to its own needs while you’re gone. If your cat is a big eater, consider getting an automatic feeder to dispense food throughout the day at set times.

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2. Keep a Clean Litter Box

As long as cats are healthy and have a clean litter box in a secure, comfortable area of your home, they will use a litter box readily. You won’t need to return home or ask someone to let your cat out. Better yet, you can get an automatic litter box that does the work for you.

That said, cats must be litter box trained, which can take some time. Most cats catch on quickly, but kittens and rescue cats or semi-feral cats may require a few litter boxes in different parts of your home to avoid accidents. In addition, cats that have health problems, such as a urinary tract condition, may soil outside of the litter box as a symptom.

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3. Install a Cat Door

tabby british shorthair cat enters the house using cat door
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Cat doors are a helpful way to give your cat access to your home that you may not want to leave open all day. If you have a dog, for example, you may want to restrict access to the area where you keep the cat’s food and litter.

Though it’s not recommended, if you have indoor/outdoor cats, a cat door allows your cat to go in and out as it pleases during the day. This is also helpful if you have a catio or similar setup for your cat to get some fresh air and enrichment.

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4. Leave Toys Around

Active cats require a lot of entertainment to avoid boredom and destructive behaviors. While you’re gone all day, leave toys around the house for your cat to enjoy. They don’t need to be fancy or expensive. Variety is key, so include scratch posts, cat trees, and plenty of small toys.

Many cats will find endless entertainment from simple things like empty boxes. If your cat is really high energy, consider getting electronic toys that mimic chasing prey.

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5. Cat-Proof Your House

Some cats can get into trouble without supervision. You don’t want to come home to broken vases and destroyed plants, so make sure to cat-proof your home. This isn’t always easy with an agile, curious cat, but consider moving valuables onto high shelves or into closed rooms where your cat can’t get to them.

playful british shorthair cat
Image Credit: Richard Stocker, Pixabay
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6. Schedule Check-Ins

If your cat is young or new and doesn’t do well on its own, schedule check-ins. If possible, take time off when you bring a new cat home or plan to pick up your cat ahead of a long weekend to spend some time together before going back to work.

If taking time off isn’t possible, see if a friend or family member can stop in to check on your cat and spend some time with it.

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7. Make Your Return Exciting

cat playing with woman owner
Image Credit: Oleg Ivanov, Unsplash

You’re probably tired when you come home but celebrate your return with treats and playtime. Your cat has been alone all day and will be excited to see you, so plan some fun before getting settled in. Your cat will eventually look forward to when you come home from work.


Is It Good to Get a Cat if You Work Full-Time?

Many people work full-time, so that’s not a reason not to get a pet. Cats are highly independent and may be a better choice than a dog for people who work full-time, but they still need care and attention. As long as you provide all your cat needs throughout the day and give your cat plenty of quality time when you come home, it will learn to adjust to its alone time.

That said, it may not be ideal to bring home a kitten or a stressed rescue cat if you work a lot. Some cats are better at being alone than others, so your kitten or rescue may not adjust well to eight or nine hours alone during the day. In this case, it’s best to adopt an adult cat breed that’s not particularly clingy.

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Cats are great pets for people who work full-time, but they’re not entirely self-reliant. If you provide your cat with everything it needs throughout the day, your cat can be fine on its own while you’re at work. Then, you both can look forward to quality time together when you return.

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Featured Image Credit: Konstantin Aksenov, Shutterstock

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