Why do cats run away? 10 reasons behind the phenomenon

Ferenczi Deborah

2023. May 7 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Unfortunately, even the most loyal cats will run away from their owners if they can. It is important to understand that in their case this is not a kind of infidelity, but rather an instinct, which sometimes drives the animal really far. In order to be able to prevent this as effectively as possible. It is important to understand exactly what is behind this act. This article will certainly help you in this.


Keeping outdoor cats in their backyard is quite problematic. The reason for this is not only to be found in the hunting instinct, but the cat, as a symbol of independence and freedom, certainly longs for adventures. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t always want to come back to you. Below we have collected the 10 most common reasons why your cat may run away for a while.

1. Reproductive instinct

The first and perhaps the most common reason is simply fueled by the reproductive instinct. In such cases, they usually use their very keen senses to discover potential mating partners in the area. If they don’t find a suitable partner nearby, their instincts can even lead them far away.

That is why, on the one hand, it is worth neutering the cat, and on the other hand, in order to prepare for such situations, it is definitely important to put a chip in the animal so that it can return to you, even if its instincts lead it very far away.

2. The hunting instinct

The other main reason why your cat runs away from home is the natural and deep-rooted hunting instinct. This is such a strong instinct to stay alive that it is practically impossible to control in the animal. That is why, no matter how well you feed him and give him all the good things on earth, it may still happen that he wanders away from home and goes hunting for a potential prey.

3. Protecting the area

Generally, cats’ territory is the area where they spend most of their time. This can be inside your home, in the backyard, but in the case of an outdoor cat, your cat’s territory may even extend outside the yard. It’s important to know that if your cat is comfortable in its own realm, it’s likely that it will try to expand its territory by looking further afield.

Furthermore, protecting such a territory is no small task, so it is possible that he will have to fight with other cats to preserve his empire. Moreover, it is also conceivable that if you have recently moved, you long to return to your previous kingdom and therefore run away.

4. Has another owner

If a person is away from home for an inexplicable reason, then most of us are the first to suspect something wrong. Well, it’s no different for cats. If you are away from home for an unusual amount of time, it is possible that you are looking for food or love in many other places. Recently, for example, you could hear about a cat in district I. who had at least three owners, each of whom knew him by a different name. We talked about it in this article.

5. Pregnancy

We already talked about cats who are in heat in the previous section, it is worth mentioning that if your cat has successfully exercised its mating instinct, it is possible that she became pregnant and disappeared because she left to give birth. It is typical for pregnant cats to hide, as they often look for a secluded, private and safe place to give birth.

6. Stress

Stress is another very common reason why cats run away. Cats are creatures of habit – they don’t like changes in their household or routine. Moving furniture, losing a person, perhaps a new pet, a new family member, home renovation or even just loud noises can all traumatize the animal. In addition, all of this can cause stress and anxiety in the kitty causing it to seek shelter elsewhere.

7. Neglect

Feelings of neglect and abandonment are also possible reasons for your cat not coming home. If you always leave him alone or don’t provide him enough food, water or anything else he needs to survive and live well, he may look elsewhere for shelter, love and care. Similarly, if your home is neglected or if you have not given him the care he needs, he may run away.

8. Fear

Another common reason for animal disappearances is fear. If something scares your cat, his natural fear reaction is clearly to run away. And in such cases, it is impossible to say whether he ran far away, or whether he sought refuge nearby, somewhere safe for him.

9. Disease

It is important to know that a natural reason for cats to run away is illness. When they are unwell, they prefer to retreat to an isolated, hidden and quiet place to recover alone, without any disturbance, or – in the case of a serious illness – to die.

10. Curiosity

Finally, cats often run away simply because they are curious creatures who like to explore and follow their instincts. Maybe your cat likes to chase butterflies or insects in the summer. Especially if there is something tempting nearby, your cat may wander away from home for hours or even days.

And the most important thing in any case is prevention. So, on the one hand, try every method to keep the cat inside the gate. Furthermore, cats face many dangers if they are outdoors, so it is recommended to keep them indoors. From now on, it is definitely worth putting a GPS tracker on the animal, so that we know where it wanders if it goes missing.

cat on the loose hunting instinct Life microchip neutering stray cat stressed cat the cat escapes

Related articles

More articles

Do you like dogs too?
Visit our Love my dogz page too!