15 October 2018 | Cat health issues

Why do cats wander, I wonder?

Kitty has been missing for a few hours. You begin to panic. You find her next door, happily lying on the neighbour’s patio in the sun. Is this normal? Although domesticated, a cat’s instinct is to roam; be it to search for a mate, an adventure, or place of safety and comfort. They often don’t see your home as their home, but simply a place that has food and somewhere to sleep. Having said that, cats are territorial, so if they do wander off, it’s unlikely that they would have gone very far.

How to prevent cats from wandering:

First things first, get them neutered. This will quell the desire to go on the hunt for a mate. Secondly, make your home as comfortable as possible for them, so they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Food and shelter are a priority, as well as providing a place of safety. Cats enjoy routine and don’t like change so consider these points when your cat’s gone rogue:

  • Have you recently moved house?
  • Has a new baby or family member moved in?
  • Have you got another pet?
  • Has your routine changed in any way?
  • Could anything be causing your cat stress?

  What to do when your cat does wander off:

  • Generally, cats don’t wander very far, so start by looking close-by, in any favourite hiding spots, before widening the search to neighbouring houses.
  • Check in warm spots (particularly if it’s cold) as well as high hiding places (open cupboards, trees etc).
  • If he’s been chased, chances are he’ll climb to get out of harms way.
  • Think of places he might be trapped; inside the garage, a car etc.
  • Rope in any family and friends to join in the search and post on community social network pages to get the word out quickly. There’s a big possibility someone would have spotted him and he’ll be home in no time.
  • Consider getting your cat microchipped, so if he does wander off, he can be immediately traced back to you if found.

 Why do cats wander off to die?

Contrary to popular belief, cats don’t know they are going to die, and disappear to spare you the pain and suffering. For the most part, if a cat is feeling unwell, they will go to one of their favourite hiding spots for some peace and quiet, and will then unfortunately succumb to their illness. So, if your feline friend has been missing for some time, check your garden or yard first, before sending out the search party.   So… remember; a safe, loving and comfortable home with access to plenty of of food and water will go a long way to preventing your cat from wandering off. And giving them all the attention they desire will not go amiss either!

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