Why do some cats run away and abandon their owners? The experts’ answer

Although cats are pets and we humans give them everything they need to live, it is part of their animal behavior to be independent, curious and agile. It is always sad to see our pet leave our home for no apparent reason. But why do they leave and why don’t they come back? Why do some cats run away and abandon their owners?

Cats are independent individuals, instinctively solitary by nature and with poor socialization skills. However, they agree to live with us for as long as it suits them. Many of them decide to leave when the environment in which they live no longer meets their most important needs.

Why are they running away?

Cats are known to be comfort-loving animals, so why would they leave a home where they are loved, fed the best food, groomed and generally pampered?

There are different reasons why felines like to go out and spend time outdoors. This type of adventure may be fun for them, but not for their owners, because it can happen that, in their wanderings, cats put themselves in danger when they are outside or get lost while trying to find their way home. Here we explain what they are and how you can prevent them from leaving.

1 – Because they are in heat: when a cat is in heat, the cats around her smell it and go looking for her, she can also escape in search of a male. It is one of the main causes of loss of dogs and cats, so it is important to sterilize your animals as soon as they are old enough to do so if you do not want them to have offspring. You must therefore be aware of the period of their heat to properly close the windows or doors of your home and make sure that they stay there with you.

2 – Curiosity: kittens are very curious and like to explore their environment, that’s why they run away from home, it’s something that’s in their genetics, that’s why we recommend that you adapt a space in your house where your cat can play and entertain, so he can stay distracted.

3 – Because he does not feel well: for your cat, the people who live with him, including you, are housemates, it can happen that if your cat does not feel comfortable in this space, he escapes by looking for a better place. This can be due to fear or stress of another animal sharing the house, a person, noise, a fight, mistreatment, among others.

That is why you must be very attentive to his behavior and if you discover that there is something at home that stresses him, try to change it or gradually start to accustom him by means of training and stimuli. positive.

4 – Fear: maybe something happened that scared or upset him. It may be another animal, or the house or even a stranger. This fear can also be triggered by an event such as new noises or conflicts in the family.

5 – Territorial attachment: this usually happens when a family moves from one house to another. If the cat is more attached to territory than to family, it will try to return to its old territory, and may get lost or find another home along the way.

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6 – Attachment to a person: in the same way, cats can be so attached to a person that when that person leaves the house, the cats leave too. Some will try to leave with the person they love so much, but others will find a new person to live with.

7 – Feline overpopulation: cats are naturally solitary, although they can live with other cats as long as they feel safe. But, sometimes the addition of one more kitten tips the scales in the cat’s favor and she’ll want to go find a less cluttered home, or maybe choose to live outside.

8- Loss of comfort: “comfort” is a very individual and specific thing that each cat defines according to their preferences and it can include physical space, people, litter box, litter box, toilet or anything else that is important to them. When the level of comfort falls below its threshold, it will look elsewhere for a better environment.

9 – Lack of basic needs: in addition to comfort, each cat has needs according to its standards. It can be food, play, grooming, medicine and also sanitary facilities. When these basic elements are not provided adequately, he will seek them elsewhere.

10 – Lack of attention: if cats are not included in the family or do not feel accepted, they may also feel the need to seek that attention or acceptance elsewhere.

11 – Change: many cats do not take change well. Some can cope with small changes, but even these cats react when there are too many changes or the changes are too big. A new baby, moving house, divorce, death, adding new pets, renovations, etc. These are all big changes. Some cats can therefore leave at the slightest change, whether it is to move a chair or their bed, to use a new deodorant, to lay a new carpet…..

12 – Can be carried away by mistake: hot car engines or open doors are irresistible to some cats, which unwittingly end up in faraway, unrecognizable places.

13 – Boredom: cats are designed to move and hunt, as well as eat and sleep. They are intelligent and need daily stimulation.

14 – Stress: living with humans can make cats feel overwhelmed. We have strange habits and rules that they don’t understand. When stress levels increase, usually in the presence of young children or other active pets, cats may seek out a quieter place where they can relax in peace.

15 – Because they can be prey: although we think of cats as predators, they are also preyed upon by larger animals like dogs; even birds of prey have been known to sometimes grab a cat and drop it somewhere else.

16 – Illness or injury: cats tend to hide any illness or injury for as long as possible. Hiding can alienate them from their homes, even if they don’t find a new home. In these cases, it can sometimes be said that they “leave home to die” although it is not conscious. Other times, however, they recover and return, or seek a new, closer home.

17 – Why they get lost: when a cat strays too far from home or escapes from a vet, it may not be able to find its way home. There are many stories of cats that travel great distances to get home, and even more of cats that never return, but are found a short distance away.

18 – Feline Dementia: old cats may forget where they live and who their foster families are. They usually take the nearest new home they can find, until they move on.

19 – Because cats choose: a cat can naturally and instinctively move to a more comfortable environment, although the differences from environment to environment are not so obvious to people. If the new environment is very pleasant, the cat will probably choose to migrate, if it has good food and if the owner of the new home is a cat lover.


  • The first thing to do if you have a kitten is to put an identification tag and a chip on it, this will allow you to find it easily, if he gets lost.
  • We also recommend that you put mosquito nets on the windows of your house, especially if you live on high floors, sometimes cats want to escape and jumping in the street they can hurt themselves, because they have been doing it for ages. very high surfaces. Although cats are very agile, it is best avoided.
  • Keep in mind their vaccines and dewormers, it is better that your kitten is protected against any disease or bacteria that can be infected by being in contact with the street or other animals.
  • If you realize that your kitten is out of the house, do not mistreat it or hit it, you can educate it and train it to enjoy its home without having to go out. Consult experts and, of course, take the time during the day to play with him and pet him. This will distract your cat at home and he won’t need to go out.
  • Clean and pamper it constantly.

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