Indoor cats sometimes escape from home, just like dogs and other indoor pets. It’s devastating for a pet to run away, and a lost cat can be especially difficult to find. If your indoor cat has run away from home, you might not be familiar with lost indoor cat behavior.
A lost cat doesn’t necessarily behave the same way it does when it’s at home. Lost pets are often scared when they’re away from home. Fear causes them to behave in ways that seem out of character for them.
Knowing how to recognize a lost cat’s behavior patterns is important, whether you have a cat of your own or want to watch out for your neighbors’ cats. And, realizing how your cat might respond to being away from home could actually help you to bring them home more quickly.
Many lost cats stay close to home
A 2017 study conducted in Australia revealed that cats who go missing tend to stay near their home. Indoor cats who left their homes only traveled an average of 54 yards from their homes–in other words, a 2.5-house radius. If your indoor cat escapes from home, it’s comforting to know that in many cases, they’re probably not too far away.
Some lost cats hide quietly
One of the most frustrating things about lost indoor cat behavior is that even if your lost cat is near home, they may hide quietly. This makes it difficult to actually find your cat, no matter how close they are.
Even if your cat is outgoing at home, being outdoors and in unfamiliar surroundings can be frightening for them. To protect itself, your cat will find a safe place to hide, refusing to come when you call.
A normally calm cat may act feral when lost and afraid
An indoor cat may behave like a feral cat when away from home and approached by unfamiliar people. Your cat may be nearby, but they may not act as they normally do. It’s possible that even if you find and approach your lost cat, he or she may hiss, scratch, or behave in an otherwise distressed manner.
Friendly lost cats could be taken into another home
Sometimes, friendly cats who are lost might approach another home. If they’re not wearing a collar or tags, someone else could mistake them for a stray and take them in. Because lost cats stay so close to home, it’s important for you to notify as many people in your neighborhood as possible about your missing cat.
What to do if your cat goes missing
If your cat is missing, don’t panic – your cat could simply be hiding at home. If you’ve looked in every possible place your cat could hide at home, the next step is searching your neighborhood.
- Start looking for your cat immediately
- Check around your house for possible escape routes
- Let your neighbors know your cat is missing, and show them photos
- Make flyers and post them around the neighborhood (don’t forget to include a photo of your cat and your contact information)
- Offer a reward if you like (but don’t put the amount on the flyer)
- Contact your local humane society with a description of your cat
- Set up a humane trap and put food or an item from home inside
If you’re a cat parent and want to add an extra layer of protection for your cat, adding a Huan Smart Tag to his or her collar is a great way to go. Huan tags emit a low-energy Bluetooth signal to you (and other app users in your area!) when your pet is detected away from home or away from you.
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