Who hasn’t had this situation where they couldn’t find their cat. Some do find them back, others are less lucky. And in some occasions they come back after a very long time. Why do cats run away? Let’s find the answers to that question.
Cats simply love to explore and enjoy their life, so the chance is big that they wander off in a bigger circle than just your garden in case of outside cats. As an inside cat, the area of exploration is reduced and the chance of the cat running away is low.
We got currently eight cats running around in and around our house. Of the eight cats, five of them go regularly outside. They love to be outside to smell everything and explore the wealth of nature around our house. Some just want to enjoy the sun on the balcony, while others venture a little further away to the nearby lake. They hunt for prey within the forest and around the house.
While chasing this mouse or that bird and enjoying nature sounds and smells around them, they could end up further away from home than planned. This is an easy way to explain why sometimes cats get far away from their home.
What also could happen when they venture long through the neighbourhood is that they come across other cats and their territory. Cats are extremely territorial and also very much individual. They prefer to have no one disturbing their living area and nothing is allowed to change within it. Other cats will be told off, by a good cat fight or a chase after them to get them off their property. This is reason two why cats run far away from their home.
Other cats in their family or other cats in the neigbourhood could mean an added stress to the cats. Stress makes that cats will be out of their personality. They might not like to be in the situation they are in when they are at home or near home and try to get away.
Tiger for example, is such a cat. He has had some problems with the situation at our house. He isn’t the youngest around, so he gets easily upset with the younger cats that are continuously wanting to play with him. So he is rather outside than inside.
But in the same time there is some trouble outside. Three new stray cats have appeared in our neighbourhood and are terrorizing him. He has been in a couple of fights and so he comes home all annoyed of that too. I believe he has had a lot of stress lately. That’s why I installed CEVA Feliway plug-in pheromone diffusers in our house. It reduces stress, anxiety and aggression in cats. In the same time we try to do something about the strays together with the animal protection.
When cats are on their exploration trips, perhaps get chased away by other cats but in the end do get back to their house, they need to get food, drinks and get some quality time inside with their owners. When this owner isn’t home, they get disappointed, but the next moment they will see movement around them and will find their own food and water.
So even if your cat has been lost for the entire day, they suddenly might appear late in the evening or early in the next morning at your house. If nobody takes care of them then, they might just disappear again for a long time. Do this long and often enough and gets start to go back into their instinctual feral side. They will try to survive on their own and avoid all human contact.
We have had this situation a couple of times. We had people looking after our cats while we went on holidays, but as these people only come once in a while to our house and are not available during big parts of the day or evening, the cats didn’t bother come back in the times they were being visited.
They became a little feral again and when we arrived back home from our long journey, we were wondering where these dear kitties were. A long search started and usually after a few times calling for them and looking around we found them back, or they found us back. We have our method to find back lost cats.
Because outgoing cats might run away from home while you are gone for a longer trip, it is important to make sure you have made your arrangements.
Last but not least I do have to mention the case of death. Not the prettiest thing to talk about, but cats might run away from home when they are very ill or feel they are about to die. They feel like going to very narrow, small and lonely place where they can breathe out their last breath in peace. If you want to prevent this from happening, you are best to not let any terminal ill cats outside. That way you have control over where they are until their last moment of this life.
But even when they are unable to go outside, do know that they will generally try to find a small place somewhere in a corner. We saw our cat Nusse crawl away within the cat tree when she felt terribly ill. The last hour before her end she crawled away underneath the bath tub in our bathroom. We took her away from there and she died in our arms.
Cats do run away from home for a number of reasons. In most cases the running away bit can be prevented or at least minimized by preventive measures. Cats however love to explore in nature and are curious about everything. There are ways to contain your cat(s) within your area or to make sure they have always something or someone to return for. Otherwise there is still the option to have your cats wear GPS devices so that you can track them or always find them back when they have run away.