There are two types of cat owners: those who let their cats wander everywhere, knowing that they will eventually come back and those that keep their cats locked inside, in fear that they will get lost.
This fear becomes even stronger if that’s also the way you got your cat: a stray wandered from its home and came into yours. If this happened with the previous owners, what guarantees that it won’t happen to you?
No matter if your cat tends to wander or not, you sometimes might wonder if your cat will come back once it gets outside. This article should be able to clear some things out for you.
Can Cats Find Their Way Back Home?
Scientists believe that cats, just like pigeons, have this “homing ability” that allows them to make their way back home. They explain it as a sense of a “magnetic field” which allows them to find their home. So, if the cat considers that your home is its home as well, it should be able to find the right direction.
Having said that, memory also plays a significant ability in finding their home again. Therefore, once cats have managed to “catch” the magnetic field and steer themselves in the right direction, they use their memory. Cats are incredible observers. So, the chances are high that they will be able to find their home by simply taking in their surroundings.
As such, cats have a good ability to make a visual map of the places that they have already gone through. They use landmarks such as houses or nature and anything else they might deem important.
Cats also have an amazing sense of smell. Their noses are packed with nerves, and cats are very picky about smells. Which is why this plays a very important role when it comes to finding their own home. They are great navigators and if they want to, they can easily make it back to your home.
What Are the Chances of Finding a Lost Cat?
We hear many stories about cats traveling for miles in order to reunite with their owners. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes, a lost cat does not make its way back home. Which is why shelters around the world are packed with lost cats.
There is approximately a 15% chance of finding a lost cat. And most of the time, this happens after the owner had implanted a microchip or a tag. Still, the sad part is that most cats that escape do not have a collar – which is why they end up going into the shelter.
If your cat is lost, you might want to look into the shelters first. If it was not captured by the pound itself, there is a chance that someone found it in the neighborhood, couldn’t find its owners and simply could not keep it.
The more you try to find a lost cat, the higher the chances are that you will be successful. For instance, if you post posters with a clear picture of your cat, someone might recognize it and contact you. Therefore, you should not give up easily.
Do Cats Wander Off for Days?
Yes, cats do have the tendency to go AWOL for days at a time. It’s common knowledge that cats are curious creatures and that they love exploring new places, even though they know that they shouldn’t.
This goes double if your cat has not been neutered and it has entered its mating season. If that is the case, it might disappear for days at a time, until the season passes.
Plus, if female cats do not find a male cat to mate with, there is a very high chance that they will wander so far away that it will take days until they manage to get home.
To sum up, it depends on the state of your cat. If the cat has been neutered, there is a higher chance of it coming back soon. But if it hasn’t been neutered yet, then you might want to get ready for the waiting game and pray that it will come back.
Bear in mind that if the cat considers your home to be its home as well, it might be able to return. Still, to avoid these unwanted scenarios – and litters of kittens – you might want to neuter your cat.
Aside from that, you might want to put a collar on your cat, as well as a microchip. These will ensure that the cat will eventually be found and returned.
Why Do Cats Escape?
There are various reasons why a cat might escape from your house but most of the time, it has to do with its curious nature.
Cats have originally been wild animals, roamers. While some cats do not like the idea of leaving home, others simply can’t curb their curiosity. So, they escape. Most of the time, it actually has nothing to do with the owner.
There might also be a chance that the cat escaped in order to get rid of an unhealthy environment. This usually happens if the cat is abused. Another reason might be that it’s in heat and it is looking for a mate.
How to Lure a Cat Back Home?
- Make sure that your cat is not inside the house. Check its favorite sleeping spots, confined spaces like drawers, under beds, your garden, and the garage, under your car, etc.
- Leave the door to your house open so that your cat can come inside if it returns in your absence. Leave someone behind to watch.
- Place your cat’s litter box at the entrance. This would be the surest way to make the cat recognize its home. You can also try with its favorite food and water at the escape point. It may attract other cats as well but there is a chance that your cat might be one of them.
- Ask your neighbors for help and assign each of them a street or two to search. Ask them to look under cars and behind trash cans.
- While you are searching try to act calm and do not run. Remember that sudden moves might scare your cat away.
- Take your cat’s favorite can of food or favorite jingling toy with you and shake it as you are searching so that the sound might attract your cat.
- If you could not find it during the day, organize a new search party in the afternoon. Cats hunt in the dark so there is a chance that your cat might come out of where it has been hiding in the night time.
- Take a torch with you so that it will make your cat’s eyes glow in the dark and you will be able to spot it more easily.
- Make lost cat posters and hang them around the neighborhood. Make sure that they include a colored photo of your cat and your phone number.
- Use social media to reach more people. Placing a reward might motivate others to look for your cat more actively.
- Visit local shelters and ask local charities for help. Also, check local vets to see if someone has brought your cat in.
- When you have found your cat, approach it very gently and offer it food if you have any with you. Check for any wounds and take your cat to the vet for a checkup.
How to Prevent a Cat from Escaping?
One way to prevent your cat from escaping is to neuter your cat. Most of the time, cats want to escape because it’s mating season. So, if you neuter them, you get rid of one big problem.
Another way would be to install insect nets at your door – or simply keep the doors closed. It goes without saying that a cat that can’t get out won’t escape. After some time, it will get comfortable with the idea of indoors.
To conclude, cats can eventually come home but they don’t always do that. Ideally, you might want to tag your cat and neuter it. In this case, if the cat escapes, at least you will know that it couldn’t get too far and that you have a higher chance of getting it back.
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