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Do cats run away from home?

Updated: Feb 16

Reasons that your cat may run away from home

It is very unusual for a cat to run away from home. Cats normally like a routine and establish a territory where they feel safe . So for a cat to leave home there is often a change in the situation which causes upset to the cat. There are many reasons why the cat would leave home.

Neighbour feeding or second home

Many cats do find a neighbour to visit, often these people tend to feed the cat. This encourages the cat to visit regularly, often this becomes their second home. Sometimes the other home is a much more suitable environment for the cat. If the second home is more relaxed and quiet, you may find cats may prefer this kind of environment . If you home is busy or loud your cat may not like this and if there is to much activity can be unsettling for the cat. Some cats do not enjoy being around young children, the noise and consent movement may become to much so may leave to find a calmer environment.

Female could be in heat

Often a female will leave home in order to seek out a male, often male cats call the female and the female will venture out to find him. As they could be covering a distance the female cat will often get lost and be unable to get home again. It is important that you get your female spayed around the age of four months, so please follow vet advice. If you believe your cat is in heat, please make every precaution to keep her inside to prevent her getting pregnant or going missing.

Male looking for a female

Male cats often go missing when they have not been neutered, male cats become sexually mature between six and twelve months. Make sure you male cat is kept in until he has been neutered. Male cats can travel up to five miles in order to find a mate, unless you cat has been chipped there is very little chance you will find him. Always speak to your vet who can advise neutering thus prevent him going missing. Sadly a lot of cats that are run over are entire males out searching for females.


If your cat becomes pregnant there is a chance she may move out of home if the home environment is to busy. Cats do like calm, if there is to much going on at home she may prefer to have her kittens outside. In a place where she can have some privacy so her litter can be born in a safe, quiet space.

Illness or old age

When a cat become ill they often seek places where they can hide. If they are in a household that is to busy and loud they may leave home to recover. Its always important for you to understand your cats behaviour, and to notice any changes. They may disappear to find space where they will not be disturbed, away from your home.

Cats in old age often leave if they are close to dying, just to find a quiet isolated spot to rest to pass over.

Territory intrusion

Your cat will have a territory in the area where you live, each cat normally have their own patch. Often when new cats move into the area, there can be disputes over territory boundaries. Larger or more aggressive cats can often take over the territory and this could result in your cat being chased off the area. You cat maybe to scared to return back to the area and decide to move on.


Changes in your home routine may upset your cat, such things as someone new moving into your household. New items in the home, this could be new furniture or constantly moving items around your home. Cats do like a routine an can get stressed when things continually change. New pets moving into the household could also be to much for your cat.

Scared away

Sometimes changes happen in your area that may worry or stress your cat. Your neighbours may have a noisy van or lorry which frightens your cat, or maybe a dog moved into the area that is aggressive toward your cats or barks continuously, this will stress your out and may cause your cat to be scared away.


If your cat is continually left alone for long hours without food and water and no company then your cat could seek attention elsewhere and not return. The basic care will need to be met, a safe place to sleep at home where your cat can feel protected, with adequate food and water at all times. Although cats are very independent, they also like to be with company.

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