Imagine coming home one day, really exhausted but happy about the quality time you are going to spend with your feline. You reach home, close the door behind you and call your cat as usual. But this time around, Whiskers does not show up!
Cat running away from home often happens when their immediate environment changes. It could be because of a baby or a new pet being introduced at home. Other changes like moving preparations could also distress a cat to the point of running away.
It is hard to imagine that your precious feline is a runaway cat. But sadly, even the most well-behaved cat could one day wake up and vanish. They could go for a day or two and sometimes for weeks. Most of these felines come back home, after their escapade, and act as nothing happened.
And this leaves you puzzled with the question, why would a cat run away?
Why do cats run away?
First, we need to understand that cats are territorial beings. Once you bring them home, they will mark the entire house as their territory. Also, cats live and swear by routine. They follow the same procedure every day and it does not bore them.
Unless your feline grows curious.
A curious cat will want to venture out of their territory to explore other sites. For instance, if the neighbor brought in a new cat, your feline will want to scale the fence to meet their acquaintance. If an animal, like a rodent, was snooping around your home, your cat’s hunting instincts will activate and they will want to go after the prey.
Male cats are prone to run away from home when it is heat season. They will sneak out in the night to go after females and they will be back in the morning before you wake up. Competition for mates is also high during heat season so a male cat may not come back until they find a female.
It is also possible for a cat to run away and never come back.
Cats can sense changes in the home and this can affect their well-being. For instance, adopting a new feline pet puts a threat to their territory. Territory rivalry is likely to ensue and if your current cat is not too strong to fight, flight becomes the next best option.
A cat will also flee from home to resist new changes like a newborn or plans to move houses. Cats are territorial and do not like their humble aboard disrupted in any way. Moving houses means leaving their precious crib and a new baby means they will now have to compete for your affection.
One last reason is that your cat might have found someone who treats them better. Shocking right? But cats are suckers of affection and whoever deals the most gets all their loyalty. If the new neighbor spoils your feline with more delicious treats and pets, they will be spending more time there.
Yes, cats can be shifty like that.
So how now should we address the problem of a cat running away from home?
How can I stop my cat from running away from home?
First, you need to find out why your cat is running away from home. When we get to the root of the problem, you can employ any of the following solutions to change your cat’s behavior.
1. Spaying or neutering
Spaying your female or male cat can prevent them from straying. If your feline has no sexual interest in other cats, they are more likely to stay at home even when it is heat season. Only spay or neuter your cat if you have no intention of raising kittens in the future.
Never get harsh when your pet becomes a runaway cat. It will only aggravate them more and push them away for good. Always use positive reinforcement to woo your cat back home.
2. Include barriers in the home
If a cat running away from home becomes rampant, you may have to introduce barriers at home. Find out the routes your cat uses and seal them off. Do not leave windows open and block any other opening you think they use to venture out. Also, investing in a pet crate can help keep your cat in one place. Pet gates will only work on kittens, older cats will jump over.
3. Monitor your cat’s movements
Watching your cat’s movements can prevent them from running away and getting lost. One way to do this is by getting your cat chipped. Nowadays we have GPS trackers with great signal range. When you come home and your cat is gone, you can activate their GPS signal from your phone and find out where they are.
4. Take your cat out more
Cats can also run from home if they feel bored. Felines like the Siamese need frequent exercise to constantly stimulate their senses. Get in the habit of walking your cat outside. It can be around the garden or a few blocks on the street and back home.
5. Get your cat a collar
Get a collar for your cat and ensure your contact and phone number are on the collar. Ensure the collar has an anti-choke system so your cat is comfortable at all times. This makes it easy for someone to find your cat and bring them back home.
Cats hide when they are traumatized or scared of a new environment. They will mostly find the darkest unreachable areas in the house to hide. This can be under the bed, inside a closet, in a pile of clothes, or behind furniture.
If your cat does not return a day or two after running away from home, it probably lost its way. Try going around the neighborhood calling out the cat’s name. Put out ‘Missing Cat’ posters that have the cat’s photo and your contact information. Sometimes hanging familiar items, like the cat’s favorite blanket or cat food, outside the home can help direct the feline back home when they catch the scent of their belongings.
A male cat that is not neutered will run away in the heat season to seek a female. They can go away for several days to a week until they mate with as many females as possible. Getting your male cat neutered can help minimize this behavior.
Some cats can find their way back home if they are used to going out on their own. Cats that are not familiar with their new environment may find it hard getting back home on their own. Such a cat should be chipped or collared to make it easy to find them when they get lost.