Ideally, you shouldn’t leave your Ragdoll cat alone at all for any length of time. They are very social animals and need constant attention and contact so when they are alone they become depressed or destructive. So what do you do if you have to leave your ragdoll cat alone? And how do you make it happy? Below I will explore the possible options and solutions for dealing with this situation.
There are a few things you can do to make your cat happier if you have to leave them alone. While much of this applies to all cats, especially indoor ones where they are totally reliant on you for their entertainment and company this is doubly important for the ever social Ragdoll cat.
How Long Can You Leave a Ragdoll Cat Alone Without Distress?
This is a question I asked when getting Boo. The problem I found with asking a question like this one is that everyone had different views and circumstances. Some cats were fine for a full 8 hours while others were not ok with being left so long. The length of time changed depending on who you talked to.
There are however some constants that most people seem to agree on that can help you with your own cat. And you will know if your cat is struggling with being left so long.
Why Can’t Ragdolls Cope With Being Left Alone?
Ragdolls are very social animals. They need constant company. They will follow you around the house when you are there and get very lonely when you are not. This can lead to behavioural problems. Also because they are indoor cats they get bored on their own with not enough stimulation.
How To Tell If You Have Left Your Ragdoll Alone Too Long?
If you have left your Ragdoll alone too long you will be able to tell because they will either become depressed or destructive or both.
A cat that has been left alone too long may show this in different ways
They May Become Destructive
If they become destructive you will know it. While each cat may behave slightly differently however destructive behaviour includes chewing and eating things they shouldn’t like cables. They may wreck things like ornaments and other household objects.
You may find they have peed or sprayed where they shouldn’t have or worse even pooped.
Depressed and Lonely Cat Traits
While a depressed or lonely cat can be destructive, it can also exhibit other traits of loneliness. These include anxious behaviour, crying a lot and aggression. These traits can be shown in different ways.
Anxious behaviour can include your cat becoming timid and afraid of new situations or people.
They can lose their appetite and eat less, sleep too much or they may just poo or mark in unusual places.
They may also cry and worry a lot more.
How to successfully leave your Ragdoll along for longer periods
Is your Ragdoll a Kitten or Cat?
Kittens should not be left alone so long anyway when they are really young so if you have kittens you might need a different approach. Once they get older they can be left alone longer. Most kittens regardless of whether they are normal cats or Ragdolls are adopted in twos these days for their well being, if you get them from a charity and even some breeders prefer it. So they should have the company
As your cat gets older it sleeps more anyway.
Boo: Boo is 13 now and really doesn’t seem to notice that I have gone. I’m usually the worried one as it is infrequent and he is not used to it. When I get back he just saunters on past me, doesn’t even say hello and goes out the back door it’s like “Oh, you’re back, I want to go out now.” When he comes back in then its lots of attention and lap time and purrs.
When I am here he likes to be near me at all times, but when I am not he often goes upstairs to sleep.
He sleeps most of the day whether I am here or not especially in the winter months. When I adopted him he came with a brother and sister but the charity was happy for him to be on his own as the others had bonded but he didn’t seem bothered about them.
Tire Out Your Cat Before You Leave
If you tire out your cat before you go out it is more likely to want to sleep and be less worried about your absence.
Have a Routine
Cats love routine. If your cat knows you do a certain thing every day at about the same time it will get more used to this. Combined with other coping strategies it is more likely to adapt to your absence.
Enrich Your Cats Environment
If you have to leave your cat for any length of time making sure it has access to things to keep it occupied and stimulate its mind while you are gone.
If you can give them window access with a good view so they can see what is going on. If it isn’t too cold or risk of rain coming into the house and the window is secure, leave open a crack so they can also smell the outside. This makes a huge difference to their experience.
Leave the TV or radio on so they have some company. I have heard of some people leaving their cat with their tablets with interactive fish on or cat TV! Personally, I would have some concerns about leaving certain types of electronics on all day while out for safety reasons. I would be very careful. Also, do we really want to turn our cats into electronics junkies?
If you can you can build a Catio attached to the house with a cat flap this way your cat will have outdoor access and are less likely to get bored.
The Best Thing You Can to For your Cat when Leaving it Alone
Is not to.
If leaving your cat alone for long periods of time is something you know you will have to do before you get your cat then get two cats so they can keep each other company.
If you are buying kittens it’s usually advised to get two anyway. If you are getting a cat you might like to get a companion cat.
They don’t have to be a Ragdoll cat there are lots of loving moggies in need of loving homes that would be grateful for the chance of a family. Many Ragdoll owners do adopt companion moggies.
While it can bring with it its own challenges it is a solution that many people use.
The cats keep each other occupied and company.
Get Your Cat Used to You Going Out
If you leave the house and start with shorter periods your cat will get used to you going. Gradually increase these periods until you can go out as long as you need without your cat getting stressed.
Ideally, you can follow these other suggestions to help your cat cope with your absence.
If they show any signs of stress you might have to change your strategy.
What If I Work Full Time?
All of the above advice applies if you work full time. Also, if you can you might like to get someone to pop into the house and check on them and spend a bit of time with them while you are gone. You may have a family member or neighbour if not there are cat sitters who will do this if you want them to.
It’s definitely worth having the two cats in this case.
Not All Cats Are the Same
One cat will be fine with you gone, like Boo, whilst others will need the company. Ragdolls really need the company because of their social nature.
I think Boo is happier because he is not a full Ragdoll, he gets more attention here than he ever has so he is happier overall. He is older and sleeps more and he likes to have all the attention to another cat, even if I could get one might not be to his liking. Were I to get a full Ragdoll and my circumstances were different I would get two cats.
It may be different for your cat. You will know your cat’s personality and needs better than anyone. If you haven’t got your cat yet have a chat with the breeder a good breeder should be willing to help and give advice.