If you own more than one cat, you’ve probably noticed how different they can be. Some cats enjoy the comfort of their home and your presence, while others are more free-spirited and love to explore the world outside. At times, you might be terrified to see that they’ve disappeared, and only return a few days later. So why do cats wander off for days? Why do cats disappear for days on end?

    Cats are undoubtedly unpredictable. One day they demand your utmost attention, but then disappear to some unknown place on the next. And the most frustrating thing is that you don’t even know why they ran away or where they’ve been. You’re also worried that something bad might happen to your cat every time they wander off the house.

    why do cats wander off for days

    If the question of “why do cats go missing for weeks boggles you mind, then check out this post by Hyperfavor to find out the answer. We hope that the information will be helpful in understanding your feline companion.

    Some Common Questions About Cat Leaving Home

    Why do cats want to leave the house?

    First, we must consider what kind of behavior cats usually show. Generally, your feline friends are very free-willed and independent. They prefer doing whatever they want, whenever they please. It’s not because cats are not smart. Cats have very high intelligence, but unlike dogs who use it to please the humans, cats simply do not care. They’d rather do their own things instead.

    Their intelligence also makes cats a very curious animal. They want to explore and to seek adventure. If you don’t provide your cat with enough stimulation indoors, they will naturally seek it outside of your home. The world outside provides them with satisfaction of hunting, making friends and finding a potential mate.

    In addition, compared to dogs, cats are domesticated quite further in time. They’ve only been introduced to households for about 10,000 years, while dogs have been by our side for over 30,000 years. This makes it harder to figure out how to properly discipline cats

    Thus telling your cat to “stay home” isn’t exactly easy. They still inhabit many of their wild instincts, so it’s no surprise that they’d follow whenever nature calls.

    How long do cats wander off for? 

    The amount of time your cat disappears can depend on what they’re doing outside of your home. If your cat goes missing for 2 days, then they’re probably just hanging and checking the neighborhood out. But if they disappear for up to a week, it’d be very frustrating on your end. You don’t know what might have happened to you beloved fur baby as he disappears for days.

    My cat has gone missing, will he come back?

    This also depends on the reason why your cat ran off from home. Why not look at some specific reasons why cats can disappear for days at a time below? You might be able to figure out if your cat can find the way back or not.

    Reasons Why Cats Can Wander Off For Days

    The cat is protecting its territory

    Not just your house cat, but most felines are famous for being very serious about territory matters. You can see it very clearly in the wild – big cats like tigers and lions can get very aggressive when it comes to their territorial ownership.

    If your cat senses that someone is intruding their territory, they can wander off for 2 reasons. The first is because they feel that the intruder is too much of a threat – such as a big, scary dog. They run away as a method of avoiding the potential threat, and only return when they deem that your house is safe again.

    The second reason is because they think they can fight off the intruder. A stray cat roaming around your neighborhood can engage this kind of fight. Your fur baby will disappear to claim their territory, only returning when they’ve made sure that the intruder doesn’t come back anymore.

    The cat is in heat

    If you have a cat who hasn’t been spayed or neutered, there’s a very high chance that he/she will disappear for a few days to find a partner during mating season. This is one of the most common answers to the question “why do cats wander off for days” – it’s simply because of their physical needs.

    why do cats wander off for days

    A male cat (or tomcat) will trace the scents emitted from the female cat, even if it can lead them very far off their home. And for female cats, if they can’t find a suitable mating partner in the area, they can roam very far away to find one. The mating drive is so strong, they can’t help but follow what instinct is telling them to do. Especially if you have a cat that’s used to roaming around - your outdoor cat can go missing for a week or more if it’s looking for a partner.

    The cat got lost

    Isn’t it a fact that everyone loves having fun? And it doesn’t apply just for humans. Cats can also get so immersed in their own interest that they forget that they have to return home. Similar to a person who got lost after going outside of their usual neighborhood, your cat who stays at home all the time might not be able to find the way home.

    For instance, imagine that there’s a prey - like a rodent or bird - appearing in your backyard. Your cat will try to hunt it down, and proceed to find even more fascinating things on the way. They may climb high trees or run to different areas just to have fun. 

    As a result, they either can’t figure out how to get back home, or they’re stuck atop of a tree and can’t climb down immediately. This is why cats can go missing for a few days straight.

    The cat is running away from home

    Do you ever feel so upset with what’s happening in your family that you want to run away and find a new home? Well, your cat may be feeling the same way.

    Changes in the household that your cat isn’t happy about is a very possible reason. It could be a new family member, or you not being at home as often. The cat might feel that you’re not loving them as much as you used to, and get jealous of the new pet or your newborn baby.

    On the other hand, your beloved kitty may think that the environment in the house is making them uncomfortable. If you’re remodeling the house and causing a lot of loud noise, or the new pet is too aggressive to your cat, then they’ll try to find peace somewhere else.

    Moreover, if you just recently moved to a new location, your cat may not get used to the sudden change. They would try to find the way back to your old house – an environment that they’re familiar with and feel safe being in.

    Your cat may have gotten hurt

    This is a situation no one wants, but it can happen at any time. Your fur baby just wants to wander off close by get some fresh air, yet they unfortunately get into an accident away from home. It might take a while for them to find the strength to come back to you.

    Another case might be that someone might have found your injured cat and is nice enough to take care of them. People can confuse your cat with a stray as well, and they’ll try to bring them to a nearby shelter.

    If your cat doesn’t have a tag with your contact information on or isn’t microchipped, it can take a while to find the owner.

    Your cat is dying

    In the worst scenario, your cats might wander off to die, away from being seen by the owner. Why do cats wander off to die? Scientists suggest that this is an instinctive behavior, as cats want to hide their body from being eaten by other animals.

    Cats actually don't know that they're dying - they hide because they feel vulnerable and want to be alone. It's depressing to find out that you can't spend the last moments with your kitten when they wander off to die. However, it's just the natural cycle of life, and your fur baby has enjoyed it to the very end.

    Does Neutering Prevent Cats From Wandering Off?

    A lot of people suggest that neutering/spaying your cat will ultimately reduce the chance of them disappearing for too long. This is partially true, since your cat would have less of an urge to find a mating partner. Their instinct to roam would reduce as well, making your cat become more homebound.

    Curiosity and the love for adventure will still drive your cat out of the house on several occasions. But they won’t travel as far as they would if they aren’t neutered/spayed. Here are some other benefits that neutering/spaying a cat might bring:

    • Longer, healthier life
    • Prevent unwanted infections and diseases
    • Cat is less aggressive and more mild-tempered
    • Prevent overpopulation of cat community in your neighborhood
    • Less likely to mark territory with urine

    Ways To Stop Cats From Wandering Off For Days

    Other than spaying/neutering the cats, here are a few more ways to prevent cats from disappearing for days on end:

    • Put a collar on them that has a tag with your contact info, so that people will know how to get in touch with you if they find your cat.
    • Never lose your cat with a custom printed cat T-shirt with your cat face on it. This will let the neighbors familiarize with your cat, so they can help you look for the kitty if needed.
    why do cats wander off for days
    • Microchip your cat or place a tracker on them to know where they are anytime you need.
    • Spend more time with them to ensure your cat that they’re loved.
    why do cats wander off for days

    Find this cute print here

    • Provide more toys and entertainment indoors so they won’t get bored
    • Get your cat to familiarize with the new environment/new family member gradually. Avoid making sudden changes without taking your cat into consideration.
    • If anything in your house is making the cat uncomfortable, try to identify the problem. Create an environment that makes your cat feel safe and secured.

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