What to do if the cat does not come home?

When a free-roaming cat doesn’t come home for longer than usual, cat owners get worried. Has something happened to my cat? Because life as an outdoor cat is dangerous. Cats can be hit or run over. They can be locked up somewhere unnoticed and fearful cats hide at unfamiliar noises and do not dare to go home afterwards. If the cat stays out, good advice is expensive. But there are some rules how to look for your cat.

Why cats come home later than usual

Young cats need more time than older cats to explore their environment. The Freigang lasts much longer, because everything is new and must be examined. If the territory is larger duration of the Freigang so long until the whole territory has been walked. After a move it can be that the cat gets lost. On the one hand it does not know the new environment yet and on the other hand it may be looking for its old territory. In the case of cats that are willing to mate, it can take up to two weeks until a sexually mature mate is found. Responsible cat owners therefore ensure that cats and males are neutered before going outdoors. Male cats like to have territorial fights with other male cats. On the one hand, serious fights can last a long time and on the other hand, the male cat does not dare to go home after a lost territorial fight. It can take several months until he comes home again. How long cats stay outside also depends on the season. In the warm season cats stay outside longer. They prefer to spend the winter in the warm home.

Searching for the cat

If the cat is dependent, first search the apartment or house. Cats like to hide in the most impossible places in closets, drawers, boxes, under the beds or in the laundry basket. Then search the immediate area and ask neighbors if they have seen the cat. Perhaps or the cat locked in a garage unnoticed. Therefore, search the surrounding area at different times of the day. When it gets quieter in the evening, the anxious meowing of a caged cat is easier to hear. Try to lure the cat with treats. If the cat does not come home, you can extend your search. Report the loss to the police/law enforcement agency. This is also the place to report it if you have recovered your cat Contact the local animal shelter and the pet registry online. Here it is helpful if the cat has in the chip for reading, on which the contact details are stored one. Register the chip with Tasso or Findex. Start a search call through social media. Place search notices with a recent photo of the cat, special identification features and your contact details in highly frequented places.

Search specifically for the cat

That the cat simply meets you on the street is rather unlikely, because when fleeing or afraid, cats act according to a certain pattern. Fearful cats and apartment cats that come outside unnoticed, hide under parked cars, in dark corners and in bushes. Curious cats have rather little desire to hide. They are out exploring and have a knack for locking themselves in basements and garages and other spaces. Therefore, ask the neighbors if you may search for their cat in appropriate rooms. Young cats also like to climb trees. There are countless reports where firefighters have had to pull young cats that overestimated themselves out of a tree.


Once the cat is gone, the first thing to do is not to lose your head. Most runaway cats reappear within a few days. If this is not the case, neighbors and friends, the social media can spread search calls. Local animal shelters and veterinarians can be a first stop. Don’t give up hope too quickly because even after a long time, cats can come home. But if a cat wanders off because it no longer likes its home, they should look for the causes.

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