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As a cat owner, you may feel nervous about leaving your cat alone when you go away on business or take a vacation. It’s even trickier if your cat only eats wet food, so it’s natural to ask yourself, how to feed a cat wet food while away?
Wet cat food can’t be left out for too long or it will go off, but there are ways to make sure your cat is well-fed and taken care of while you’re away. Some options include using an automatic food dispenser, hiring a professional cat sitter, or boarding your cat in a kitty kennel.
The best option will depend on your cat’s eating habits, how long you’re planning to be away, and whether you have multiple cats in your household.
In this article, we’re going to cover how to keep wet cat food fresh and provide it to your pet while you’re away, as well as what to do when you come back.
How to keep wet food fresh?
Wet cat food has a longer shelf-life than dry food, but once open, it spoils quickly. Experts suggest it’s safe to leave wet cat food out between one and four hours, provided that it’s left in a cool and dry place. Everything beyond that is likely to result in food spoilage.
The best way to keep wet cat food fresh is to put it in the fridge after opening. It’s best to be stored in temperatures between 40˚F and 80˚F. It’s not a good idea to let wet food freeze, because it changes the food’s taste, texture, and nutritional value, so it may be less appetizing to cats.
How much food should you leave out?
If you’re going to be away for a longer period of time, you should never leave your cat’s bowls filled with large amounts of food. Not only would the food go bad, but also cats wouldn’t know how to manage food, and they could eat everything the first day, and spend the rest of the time starving.
Naturally, if you’re going to be away for several days, you need to hire a cat sitter or ask a friend or a relative to take care of your pet. If you’re only going to be absent for a couple of hours or a day, an automatic food dispenser is a great option. You can program it for different meal sizes and different time intervals so that you can control how much your cat has eaten.
One or two meals per day are enough for an adult cat, while kittens may require more meals.
How long can you leave your cat alone?
How long you can leave your cat alone depends on several factors, including your cat’s age, overall health, personality, and the environment they live in. Preferably, adult cats shouldn’t be left alone for longer than 24 hours. And that’s only if they have easy access to food, fresh water, and a clean litter box.
If your cat is less than four months old, you shouldn’t leave it alone for longer than four hours. For cats that are five months old, the maximum time limit is five hours, while six-month-old cats shouldn’t be left alone for longer than eight hours.
Although cats like to have some time for themselves, they are social beings, and they need interaction with humans or other animals. Leaving them alone for too long can lead to separation anxiety and other behavioral issues, such as refusing to use the litter box, excessive meowing, and aggression.
In addition to checking your cat’s physical health before leaving them alone, it’s also important to check if the house is safe for them to roam around unsupervised. Make sure there are no dangling cables, plants that are poisonous to cats, or chemical cleaners lying around, as these could potentially endanger your cat’s health.
Ways of feeding cat wet food while away:
Here’s how to make sure your cat is getting enough fresh food while you’re away.
Prepare wet and dry food
It’s a good idea to prepare both wet and dry cat food for your pet to eat while you’re absent. Cats can start off by eating wet food and snack on dry food later. Dry food is also more convenient to use because it lasts longer. However, even dry food should be replaced every day as it goes stale and it may lose its flavor and freshness.
Having both wet and dry cat food means your cat will have enough supplies until you get back. However, some cats prefer wet food alone and aren’t used to eating dry food. If your cat only eats wet food, try introducing dry food gradually to their meals before you start leaving them alone, so that they have time to adjust to it.
Use an automatic cat feeder
Automatic cat feeders come in various shapes and sizes and they are designed to make your life easier as a pet owner. To use one, you need to set up its internal timer according to your preferences and it will release food at that time.
Food dispensers can be programmed for different meal sizes and time intervals, so you’ll be able to provide your cat with well-proportioned meals and avoid overfeeding. Some brands even let you record your own voice so that your cat can hear it when it’s time for a meal.
The containers are sealed to keep the wet food fresh, and many of them come with built-in ice blocks. Also, many dispensers are adjustable so they can accommodate food and kibble of different sizes. Make sure to choose one that’s made of sturdy materials and has a secure cover so that your cat can’t open it and eat all the food.
They likely won’t work if you have multiple cats, as you won’t be able to control whether every cat gets their share.
Learn more about our top picks for the best automatic cat feeders.
Hire a professional cat sitter
If you plan on being away from home longer than a day, cat food dispensers won’t be enough, but you can hire a professional cat sitter to come to the rescue.
Cat sitters are a great option because taking proper care of cats is their job. Always vet your cat sitter and make sure they come from a reliable source and have all the necessary licenses and qualifications.
If you’re hiring a cat sitter through an online company like Rover, check the company’s policy thoroughly. Some pet sitting companies will send different cat sitters every day, which isn’t the best solution if your cat is scared of strangers.
Consider a boarding kennel
A boarding kennel is another good option if your trip will last for several days. You’ll be leaving your pet with professionals who possess extensive knowledge about different pets and their individual needs.
Bear in mind that you’ll have to provide them with your cat’s feeding schedule, proof of vaccination, specific dietary restrictions, and medications if there are any. Also, don’t forget to tell them about any existing allergies or health issues so that they can respond quickly in case of emergencies.
If your cat is anxious, a boarding kennel may not be the best option. Some cats have a hard time adjusting to a new environment and may end up being under a lot of stress. However, if there’s no other option, you can send pheromone products like Feliway with them to help keep them calm.
Ask your friends or relatives for help
If cat sitters aren’t an option (they can be pricey), you can always turn to your friends and relatives for help. Having someone who’s already familiar with your kitties makes the job a lot easier and you can be sure that you’re leaving your pets in good hands. But, as always, make sure you choose someone who’s reliable and trustworthy.
What to do when you come back
In addition to planning on how to feed your cat while away, it’s also a good idea to have a plan for when you come back. Some cats may be excited to see their owners, while others may not be so enthusiastic about their return. That’s no reason for concern, as cats may need some time to become used to your presence again.
Once you come back, be sure to give them a cuddle, a few treats, and spend some time with them – it will affect their emotional state in a positive way.
Takeaways on feeding wet cat food while away
People often think of cats as independent animals that can take care of themselves. While cats in the wild are pretty well-equipped to survive on their own, their indoor counterparts rely on their owners for food and shelter, so they need to be taken care of when you’re not around.
To make sure your cat stays well-fed while you’re away, you can prepare both wet and dry cat food or use automatic food dispensers for wet food. If you’re planning an extended trip, you can hire a cat sitter or ask a friend or a relative for help.
Once you come back home, be sure to show your kitty some affection. However, if you notice unusual behavior when you get back, a trip to the vet is always a safe bet.
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