Being in heat is the most common cause for a cat to flee from home.
Other causes include a difficult environment, substantial changes in their living condition, illness, childbirth, and other factors.
Reasons Cats May Flee
Some of the most common causes for a cat to flee are:
1. Sexual Preferences
If your cat has not yet been neutered or spayed, he or she may desire to go outside due to hormonal urges.
Most cats attain sexual maturity around the age of six months, however, if you reside in a reasonably warm region of the nation, this may occur as early as five months.
However, cats are seasonally polyestrous, which means that they do not just go into heat in the spring and fall. As a result, cats can cycle from January until late October.
The hot phase might range from a week to ten days or longer. Males typically go into heat due to the fragrance of females.
For example, if you have a spayed female but your male is not neutered, he may desire to mate with another female outdoors.
Having your cats ‘fixed’ before they reach sexual maturity can avoid a variety of health problems and make them less prone to flee.
2. They may flee in order to give birth.
There are many cats who give birth indoors, which is fine, but pregnant females may have claimed their territory in certain spots outside, and they may feel safer there than in your home.
If you know your cat is nearing the end of her life, keeping her entirely indoors is the best course of action. If they have nowhere else to go, most cats will select a favourite location in your apartment or house.
Make your cat as comfortable as possible by providing lots of fresh water and food, as well as a clean litter box in her space.
If you have recently moved, brought your cat to the vet on a frequent basis, or begun living with someone else, your cat is likely to be stressed.
If he or she is used to being outside every day, he or she may prefer to be outside rather than indoors.
Making minor changes to your living condition can usually address the problem.
However, some cats will return and alter their behaviour in order to cope with the stressor as well as possible.
Keep in mind that consulting an animal behaviourist can occasionally be beneficial.
4. Hunting Habits
If you allow your cat to go outside and there aren’t enough amusement options in your house (such as cat trees, cat patios, toys, or anything else), she may seek them elsewhere.
Cats are natural predators, thus they require daily stimulation of their hunting instincts.
If you are away from home for a long period of time during the day, even if you are sleepy at night, you must ensure that you play with your cat — this removes boredom and keeps your cat from becoming melancholy.
It also reduces your pet’s desire to go outside for multiple days in a row.
Males and females in their natural state mark their territory more than spayed and neutered counterparts.
This implies that if your cat is used to going outside and notices another cat marking the same area, he or she must be vigilant and guard their region as much as possible.
This mistake may be avoided by keeping your cat indoors from the moment she is adopted.
6. Insatiable Curiosity
Cats are more inquisitive than any other animal species on the planet.
However, if you’ve ever heard the expression “curiosity killed the cat,” you’ll know that this function may be hazardous to your pet.
Most outdoor cats go on walks to establish their territory, and this is something they do virtually every day.
However, if your cat travels away from your house, she may encounter difficulties, such as becoming trapped somewhere.
It’s heartbreaking to consider, but cats, like people, have a finite lifespan.
As a result, when most cats believe they are nearing the end of their lives, they will walk outside and you may never see them again.
Your cat, on the other hand, might become ill or suffer trauma while outside, and you won’t be able to help them if you don’t know where they are.
If you can’t persuade your cat to live solely indoors, a pet tracker may be the answer.
If you can’t afford one, at the very least have your pet microchipped and fitted with an ID collar so that if she is found, someone can contact you.
8. New members of the family
This is another reason why cats tend to flee, at least for a few days at a time.
You should aim to keep them indoors for the first two to three weeks after obtaining a new pet.
Also, because they must be introduced gradually, we recommend keeping the two cats in different rooms so that they may grow acclimated to each other’s odours before meeting for the first time.
There should be two or three litter boxes and at least one food and water dish for each cat in a household with two cats.
If you have just had a baby, your cat may feel ignored or as if she is now competing for your attention with the newborn, therefore she may seek attention and affection elsewhere.
How far can a cat go?
Male cats tend to explore a little further than females.
There have been reports of cats travelling remarkably vast distances and safely returning home.
A male may cover and mark around 150 acres of territory as his own. Females have a substantially lower figure since they typically designate 42 acres surrounding their dwellings.
Female cats are less interested than male cats, therefore they will normally wander around 750 feet (230 metres) from home. Males, on the other hand, tend to travel at least 1,000 feet, if not 1,500 feet, from home (up to 500 meters).
How to Keep Your Cat From Fleeing
To begin with, the easiest strategy to keep your cat from fleeing is to train her to live indoors at all times.
Indoor cats are healthier than outdoor cats because they do not come into touch with predators, large or little, and they also have fewer chances of contracting illnesses from other animals, including cats.
Getting an older cat adjusted to this circumstance, on the other hand, might be more difficult than doing the same with a kitten.
If you’ve acquired an older or senior cat who is used to going outside, the greatest piece of advise we can give you is to microchip them and put them with an ID tag.
Spaying and neutering your cat can also help to alleviate some of the problems, as well as reduce the likelihood of your pet getting into conflicts with other cats.
You may also try to train your cat to return home by rewarding him or her with food, saying their name, or ringing a bell connected with goodies or toys.
It takes time to teach her in this manner, and cats can be difficult, but they must understand that your house is the safest and cosiest place they can return to.
You may also train your pet to walk on a leash, and some breeds, such as the Maine Coon, are known to do so fairly effectively.
Finally, making your home or apartment as cat-friendly as possible will persuade your cat to spend less time outside. Make sure your house is well-stocked with toys and accessories such as cat trees and cat perches.
What should you do if your pet goes missing?
It’s natural to be concerned if your cat has been absent for more than 24 hours, but this can happen for any of the reasons we’ve already discussed.
Try to be patient, put out some food, and keep a window open so your cat can go inside even when you’re not looking.
If your cat does not return within 24 to 48 hours and she is microchipped, contact your veterinarian and inquire how you may proceed.
Tagged cats can be discovered much more easily and quickly than non-microchipped cats.
If everything else fails, you should probably chat with your neighbours and distribute posters in your neighbourhood with a photo of your cat so that if anybody sees her, they may phone you and tell you where she is.
More than half of cats who go outside on a regular basis have excellent homing instincts.
Keep in mind that some cats have dual personalities and may have another house where they spend their time.
Neighbors have already misidentified themselves as the owners of the same animal!
The Bottom Line
Cats may flee their homes for a variety of reasons, including territorial or reproductive drives or being agitated indoors.
It is our obligation to keep cats as secure as possible and to protect them from being lost in the future.
Microchip your pet and outfit her with an ID collar so you can find her if she goes missing in the future.