Why Do Cats Go Missing for Days?

For most owners they will find that their cat comes back every night and does this quite happily all its life without ever going missing or disappearing for more than a few hours.

For male tom-cats that havent been neutered one of the most common reasons why they may disappear for several days (or even weeks sometimes) is they have caught scent of a female cat in heat. While it is not as common for them to travel so far and wide looking for a mate, un-spayed female cats may get frustrated and will go in search of a tom-cat if given the opportunity.

Getting your cat neutered or spayed doesnt mean they wont wander off chasing a bird or mouse or some other thing of interest they may have spotted but they are unlikely to travel anywhere near the kind of distances that the desire to mate would motivate them to travel! Cats are more likely to go missing during the summer months when the weather is great and they feel inclined to spend more time outdoors chasing insects and small animals. If your cat is caught unawares and frantically runs to a place it is unfamiliar with then this may cause them to go missing for sometime, particularly if they find themselves stuck behind a busy road or crossing.

In some cases disappearing for days at a time (combined with other symptoms) could indicate that your cat has ADHD . Cats are particularly sensitive to change in their home environment so they may decide to move on if they find a more favourable place that caters for their needs. For example if a new dog or baby arrives in your household your cat may start thinking that they would be better off taking up residence in the nice quiet house of the old lady who has fed them in the past.

In order to prevent this happening try to ensure that your cat is well looked after at home, it has clean fresh water, great cat food , a clean litter tray and, most importantly, a safe, comfortable, quiet place where it can hide away inside your house in order to get some complete peace and quiet when your cat needs to. As an Amazon Associate I may earn a small fee from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

How long do cats go missing for on average?

In our experience, it is not unusual for a cat to be MIA for 24 hours at a time. Some cats even disappear for two to three days at a time. But, no matter how often they do it, or how street-smart they are, it can still be a worrying time for you if you think you have a lost cat.

Where do cats go when they go missing?

Indoor or outdoor cats can be found outside under decks, on rooves, under parked cars, in tall trees, dense bushes or in drains. Most cats, when feeling overwhelmed or lost, will hide instead of run. They can spend long periods of time in one area moving from hiding spot to hiding spot.

Cats like to wander, so there is a good chance yours goes missing now and then. In our experience, it is not unusual for a cat to be MIA for 24 hours at a time. Some cats even disappear for two to three days at a time. But, no matter how often they do it, or how street-smart they are, it can still be a worrying time for you if you think you have a lost cat.

Even though cats are territorial animals, their garden is not their only limit. Not only feral cats but also domestic cats have a large territory. A domestic cats territory goes way beyond your house. The limits are not only defined by your cat, but also by other felines in your neighbourhood. Their territory is divided by where your cat eats, relaxes, plays, hunts, and goes potty.

During their walks, your cat rubs their face , scratchestrees , and pees to diffuse their pheromones and leave a trace . Even if they remain very rare, there are stories of cats finding their way back home after months of wandering.

It seems unlikely , but they can get scared by a loud noise , a stressful situation or can get carried away by prey and struggle to find their way back home. Just like humans, in any extreme situation, a healthy adult cat can go a couple of weeks without eating , while still being able to drink. They might come back dirty and full of fleas; it is then important to properly clean them and treat any parasites .

Hearing your voice might remind your cat that a loving family and good food is waiting for them. Put up lost posters and hand out flyers with a picture of your cat , any distinctive signs , and your contact information . Put up lost posters on electric polls , on your supermarket noticeboard and slip flyers in letterboxes .

Attaching a cat GPS to their collar or harness can give you, the owner, real peace of mind . Once your cat has got used to not go out at night, you can reduce their daytime outings by delaying their first stroll or calling them home early . Whether they have gone hunting, mating, or are lost, it is essential to not waste any time once you have realised your cat has gone missing.

A clicker and GPS tracker are also great tools to locate and bring back your cat quickly.

When your pet cat goes missing, it can be a very stressful experience. It is like losing a member of your family. Owners of lost cats fear for the wellbeing of their pet.

Outdoor cats may have left their regular comfort zone and have lost their bearings. If the weather is cool, check warm places such as behind heating appliances, under cars or in vents.

Indoor or outdoor cats can be found outside under decks, on rooves, under parked cars, in tall trees, dense bushes or in drains. Form a search party (made up of family and friends) and look in all areas you think your cat may be. While searching, bring along your cats favourite toy or an open can of food they love.

Tapping their food can (or making a noise associated with meal time) can lure your cat to you. However, indoor cats will often hide in silence so make your search primarily visual. Animal shelters and vets can get extremely busy and they can forget to call you, so check in with them regularly to see if there is any news.

Write Lost Cat at the top in big, easy to read letters. Include a large colour photo of your cat that shows any distinguishing features. Write a description of your cat including size, colour, name and any distinctive traits.

Update your outgoing voicemail greeting to include a message about your lost pet, so people know they reached the correct phone number. If someone decides to keep your cat, it can make it easy for them to change the microchip details. Put the cat posters up everywhere you can including animal shelters and rescues, vets, grocery stores, parks, telephone poles, community centres, pet supply stores, bus stops and anywhere else near your home where people may see.

Post a lost cat ad in your local newspaper or community newsletter. You can include food and water in the trap however this may attract other cats or wild animals such as rats or possums. Somerzby humane pet Traps require minimal assembly and fold up easily for storage when not in use.

Putting regular actions in place to prevent your cat from going missing is essential. Microchipping cats is compulsory in NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC and WA. The Somerzby Catio is specially designed to allow plenty of space for your cat to play and rest in comfort and safety.

The enclosure features a sheltered area underneath to protect your cat and their food from bad weather. Toni Benton Toni has a lot of experience with keeping pets and pet enclsoures, with her very cheeky British shorthair cat named Charlie and a rescue cat Rosie who is now nearly 17.

Un-neutered and Un-spayed Cats Often Go Missing

For male tom-cats that haven’t been neutered one of the most common reasons why they may disappear for several days (or even weeks sometimes) is they have caught scent of a female cat in heat.When this happens male cats will travel miles and miles to act on their animal instincts and if they find that when they get the female cat they desire is locked inside then they will simply wait until they get their chance, so it could often be as long as a week before your cat returns home to you.It is often presumed that female cats will not go looking for male cats even if they have not been spayed, however this is not true.While it is not as common for them to travel so far and wide looking for a mate, un-spayed female cats may get frustrated and will go in search of a tom-cat if given the opportunity.One easy way to prevent this from happening is to make sure you get your cats either neutered or spayed as soon as possible, this also helps prevent the growth of the feral cat population too.Getting your cat neutered or spayed doesn’t mean they wont wander off chasing a bird or mouse or some other thing of interest they may have spotted but they are unlikely to travel anywhere near the kind of distances that the desire to mate would motivate them to travel!

Distracted Cats may Disappear

Cats are more likely to go missing during the summer months when the weather is great and they feel inclined to spend more time outdoors chasing insects and small animals.Cats are famous for their lightning reflexes and I’m sure you will have seen how many cats when they have been suddenly startled by something will leap into the air and run as fast as they can away from whatever it was that frightened them so much.If your cat is caught unawares and frantically runs to a place it is unfamiliar with then this may cause them to go missing for sometime, particularly if they find themselves stuck behind a busy road or crossing.Most cats will eventually find their way back home after an incident like this but it may take them until nightfall, when traffic and noise has died down, to summon up the courage to retrace their steps.
While you can’t really prevent this kind of behaviour without keeping your cat permanently locked into your home it may be worth considering using a cat tracker so that you can keep an eye on where your cat has gone on it’s adventures.