5 Reasons Why Your Cat May Go Missing And What You Can Do To Prevent It

By Daniel Richardson

Owning a cat is a great way of adding joy to your life, however there are times when the responsibility of owning a cat can be stressful.

In fact there are few things worse than the stress of losing your cat.

There are several reasons why your indoor/outdoor cat may disappear and understanding these reasons is key to safeguard against them happening.

Missing ginger cat
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Photo: in public domain

A Cat May Disappear In Pursuit of A Mate

It doesn’t take much to entice a male cat away from home. All it takes is for them to catch a sniff of a potential partner in heat and they will be powerless to resist their animal instincts. Particularly persistent tom cats will happily wait outside someone’s home for days if there is a female on heat inside. Consequently you may not see your cat for up to a week in these cases!

An easy way to prevent your cat from disappearing in response to their natural instincts is to resort to surgical intervention and have your cat neutered. This will make their desire to reproduce at all costs disappear and will give them your cat one less reason to go missing!

A Cat May Disappear Because He Finds Somewhere Nicer To Stay

Cats are fickle creatures, some significantly more so than others!

It is not unusual for cats to sneak into other peoples homes for a little look around, while most times they are probably chased out there will be the occasional home where they are welcomed in, given a drink and fed some delicious food and then allowed to have a nap in a warm comfortable corner.

Over time your cat may decide to stay there more frequently and for longer durations before eventually making it their permanent home.

In order to prevent this it is important to ensure that all your pets needs are adequately catered for at your home. This means that you need to make sure that their litter tray is clean, that they have fresh clean water and plenty of food as well as warm comfortable spots to sleep it.

An additional thing to bear in mind is that if any strange cats start hanging around your home don’t presume that they are homeless. Take them to your vet to scan their microchip to find out where they live before they decide that they live with you!

A Cat May Disappear Because He Gets Distracted

In the summer months cats can easily be distracted by a butterfly, bird or some other exciting prey.

If their pursuit of this particular prey lasts long enough your cat may end up travelling into an area they are unfamiliar with and may get lost.
While it is not common for cats to go missing for days at at a time due to this sort of behaviour it can happen, you will generally find that your cat will come sneaking back after night fall when it is quieter and they are able to retrace their steps in relatively safety.

One way to stop this sort of behaviour is to secure your garden with a cat confinement fence (which in theory is impossible for cats to climb over) so that when they do get distracted they can’t wander too far!

A Cat May Disappear Because He Has Been Injured

It is not uncommon for an cat which sustains an injury to hide itself away somewhere quiet and sheltered for several days until it has recovered and regained some strength. This is an instinctive response to their injuries which tells them they are vulnerable to predators so they need to hide in a safe place.

Cats are often found nursing their injuries in garden sheds or tucked away in dense bushes. Providing your cats injury isn’t serious they will re-emerge after a few days. However if their injuries are severe then there is a chance they may not ever re-emerge.

Obviously the way to avoid this happening to your cat is to do everything you can to prevent any serious injury happening to your cat.

The thing which is most likely to injure your cat in such as way is traffic. If you live near a busy road then the simple solution is to prevent your cat from going out, traffic injuries and kills hundreds of thousands of cats every year so it is simply not worth the risk.

A Cat May Disappear Because He Has Returned Home

If you’ve recently moved your cat may wish to return to his home range which is an area around the house where he formerly lived. If this is relatively close he’ll get there and if not he may end up wandering and be missing for a while.

P.S. If your cat went missing please tell me how it happened.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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2 Responses

  1. ellen says:

    My cat disappeared for three days but eventually turned up limping, I think he must’ve sprained his leg and gone to nurse his wounds somewhere, so glad he came back eventually!

    • Michael Broad says:

      Many thanks for sharing your experience Ellen. I am pleased that he turned up. It’s always an anxious time. I hope his leg is fully recovered.

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