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What If My Cat Gets Outside? Will It Come Back?

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 probably have some questions and you’re looking for answers. 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 the “magnetic field” that 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, 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 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 or 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. 

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.

As such, 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 add a collar to 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 – and while some cats do not like the idea of leaving home, others simply can’t maintain 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

When luring a cat back home, you might want to first hope that it did not roam too far away, and it will use its sense of smell. The best way to do so would be to place their 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.

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 used to the idea of indoors.

Final Thoughts

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.