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Leaving kitten alone

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm a bit in a dilemma and hoping to get some help in resolving this problem. For a little background information - I have a seven month old kitten who I consider like my little girl. My boyfriend and I are extremely attached to her, as she is to us. We can't go anywhere in the house without her following one of us into a room. When she's not sleeping she wants to play, and meows constantly to let us know this. We do indulge her and when she meows for attention we will either pick her up, hold her and talk to her or play with her. We spend at least 4 half-hour periods playing with her at a minimum, often more.

Now for the problem - My boyfriend and I are both in the military and unfortunately we have both been tasked to go teach on a recruit course (boot camp). The base we would be teaching at is a 20-30 minute drive from our house so we will be able to come home in the evenings, when we're done our day. However, a day consists of leaving at 4:30 AM and coming home around 7:00 PM. One of us might be able to leave slightly earlier some days, but it's also probably that we will be coming home even later other days. We would be doing this for about three weeks. I just don't know what to do about this situation. For feeding she should be somewhat fine. We would feed her her wet at 4:30 AM before we leave and then again as soon as we come back. We free-feed her dry food so she will be able to munch on that the whole time (will it be a problem to her adjusting to this different feeding schedule - normally she's fed her wet at 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM?). What really worries me is that she'll be all alone for such a long period of time. She's never been left alone longer than 10 hrs (and it's only happened twice). I’m so afraid she'll be extremely lonely and depressed, especially since she will have no one to play with. We’ll certainly leave a lot of toys out for her, but it’s really interactive play that she loves (chasing after my thrown hair elastics or her bouncy ball, Da Bird, etc.).

I have asked everyone I can think of to take care of her. Two family members can, but there are some drawbacks:
1 - My dad can take care of her (he took care of her for 12 days while se were on holidays and she seemed to enjoy it at his place - he's retired and is available to play with her all day and his place is much bigger than ours so she has a lot more room to run and explore). However, he will not be available to watch her for the first week and a half or so.

2 - My boyfriend's mom. She doesn't really know anything about cats. Due to health reasons I'm afraid she might not be able to keep up energy-wise my cat and play with her very much. Lastly, she has a dog. Now, the dog is barely 12 weeks old and is smaller than my cat, but I'm afraid of the interaction between the two. I have no idea how my cat will react. Will she be afraid of it or constantly torment it? She is pretty confident so I think the latter is what might happen. Also the dog still isn't quite litter trained yet.

We have been wanting to get another cat as a playmate for Coda, and having one during this period of time might help with the loneliness aspect of it. However, I'm wary of doing so now as I don't think there's enough time to do a proper introduction and get them acclimatised to each other before leaving them for 12+ hrs on their own. In addition, I feel like I won't be able to bond and take proper care of this new cat since I won't be there very much for three weeks. As well, if we add another cat, my boyfriend's mom would not be able to cat-sit them.

I just don't know what to do. I'm so lost and am losing sleep and worrying my head off about this situation and what will happen to my little girl. I'm still trying to work out something and only have one of us go teach, but it's really not looking good.

Any advice on what to do would be much appreciated
post #2 of 7
She should be just fine by herself. She's likely to sleep most of the time you're away, then want to play all night. I work a 12-hour night shift and I'm gone for 14-15 hours at a time. My first kitten was less than 8 weeks old when I started leaving her alone for that length of time. She didn't tear the place up or pee outside the box, but she definitely wasn't happy with me. She wouldn't let me sleep more than 10 minutes at time the next day.

You might want to confine her to one room until you see how she reacts. Make sure she has her food, water, and litter box (as far away from the food as possible), and it would be good if there's a window she can reach to look out.

Calming for you and Coda.
post #3 of 7
I agree she will more than likely sleep while you are gone, alternating with looking out the window. She is seven months and should be fine being alone. She may get into some mischeif so make sure there is nothing she can break or ingest. All you can do is give it a try and see how it goes! If you find she is terribly unhappy (not eating etc.) than Grandpa can watch her the last week and a half.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the reassurance! I'm still pretty worried but at this point I guess there's not much I can do, just wait and see how she takes it.
post #5 of 7
I'm sure she'll be fine. Cats do sleep 18 or 20 hours a day, so she'll be well rested for when you get home. Just make sure she doesn't have access to anything you don't want to suffer the depradations of kitty boredom, and she'll be fine.

Seriously, though, as long as she has the food/water/litter she needs, a window to look out and some toys to lose under things, she's good to go. My Shasta (long gone to the RB now) was 7 weeks old when I got her and I was single and living on my own, so she was on her own during the day from an early age, and by 7 months accustomed to much longer absences.
post #6 of 7
Oh man you remind me of myself when I first got my first boy! lol
She will be fine! Cats sleep A LOT! LOL its amazing how much they sleep in the day and have night crazies. If your dad can come by and cat-sit that would be good too or have a neighbour or friend just drop in and check on her? Can u do that?
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
She's been a part of the family for 4 months now and I'm still such a worry-wart when it comes to her...I can't imagine how I'll be when I have kids, lol.

I hope Coda won't be too crazy at night. She's normally really good about letting us sleep all night, as long as we tire her out before going to bed. Without all the numerous play sessions we normally have with her during the day, who knows how she'll be at night. Oh well, even if she keeps me up all night I'll have time to wake up during the 5:00 AM morning runs I have to lead
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