How to Feed a Cat While You're Away

Cat food dispensers keep your kitty's bowl full.
i cat food image by Allyson Ricketts from

Being a cat guardian doesn’t mean giving up vacations. If you’re going away for a few days, you can likely leave your cat at home with some extra food and water. However, if your cat has special dietary needs, ask a professional to care for her while you’re gone.

Step 1

Fill as many bowls with water as needed to ensure your cat has plenty to drink while you are away. The amount of water your cat requires per day depends on her size and other factors. Healthy adult cats need about the same amount of water -- measured in milliliters -- per day as the number of calories they eat, according to the ASPCA.

Step 2

Place water bowls in your kitchen and bathrooms, and choose containers with heavy bottoms to prevent tipping. If your cat normally drinks from a water dispenser or fountain, consider buying a second one and placing it in a bathroom or another tiled location. Avoid carpeted locations in case the dispenser leaks while you are away from home.

Step 3

Place a towel under the water bowels or dispensers to catch spills and drips. Also, do not place food and water dishes directly next to each other. Few cats can resist the fun of mixing their dry food and water.

Step 4

Fill your cat's bowl with dry food if you plan to be away for just a night or two. Most cats only eat until they feel full, and you should be able to estimate how much food your cat will need in the time you are gone. Add a little extra, just in case some pieces are accidentally scattered or batted under the refrigerator.

Step 5

Use a food dispenser if you plan to stay away for several days. Food dispensers generally work in one of two ways: they dispense small amounts of food at set times, or they release food every time your cat empties her bowl. You can buy them in various sizes from most retail pet stores.

Step 6

Fill treat-dispensing toys before you leave. These interactive toys will not only keep your cat fed, they also will provide entertainment while you are out of the house.

Step 7

Speak with a family member or friend about checking in on your cat during your absence from home. Have your loved one refill water and food bowls, empty litter pans and spend some quality time with your cat.

Step 8

Hire a professional pet sitter to visit your home once or twice each day while you are away. While most cats do not require a pet sitter to stay home for only a few days, some may become lonely, have special nutritional needs or otherwise require daily care. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters can provide a list of sitters in your area.

Step 9

Arrange for your cat to stay at a boarding kennel. If you cannot find a pet sitter or if your cat needs near-constant supervision, a kennel may be your best choice. Let the kennel know of any dietary restrictions or feeding schedules before dropping off your cat.

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