Wednesday 14 June 2023

What would you do if your mostly indoor cat goes outside and doesn't want to come home?

Sometimes you might do all you can to keep your cat safe and secure. You make them a full-time indoor cat and you look after them well. Or they might be a mainly indoor cat and sometimes they go outside and return willingly.

If your cat was raised as a stray or feral cat, they might want to revert to the outdoors lifestyle because it is a lifestyle that they know. It's those early weeks - the first seven weeks of life - which are so important for a cat. What they learn during that sensitive time they carry with them all their lives.

It is actually a bigger issue than that as all domestic cats are barely domesticated it is said. Arguably their natural instinct is to live outside the artificial environment of the human home.

Cat prefers to live outside the human home
Cat prefers to live outside the human home. Image: in public domain.

If you have domesticated a feral cat or adopted a rescue cat that was a stray or feral cat, they might want to revert to the wild so to speak.

They simply might prefer to live outside the human environment which means the human home. And in my opinion, there is not much you can do about it. You may see them, talk to them and try and entice them back but they decide to stay in the 'wild'. 

You can try and keep them inside full-time and more importantly transform the inside of your home to where it becomes very cat friendly with a catio or two and some window boxes to sit in to watch the outside (cat TV). There would be a couple of climbing trees up to the ceiling and so on and so forth.

But this would be something that a typical homeowner does not want because they want their home to accommodate humans and being entirely suitable for humans. A compromise is the way forward.

However, if a cat with an urge to live outside wants to vacate a home which has been reasonably modified to accommodate cat behaviour, they'll do it no matter. 

The rather negative point that I'm making is that on some occasions domestic cats simply want to live outside and are prepared to put up with the hardship. If that is the case, there is not much you can do about it.

You may have to kiss your cat goodbye because ultimately people don't own cats. They possess them if you want to put it that way. They probably don't even possess them. They live with domestic cats and care for them but they have their own mind and you have to let them express their own behaviours in the hope and expectation that your efforts will be sufficient to keep them with you as a companion.

There is the faint possibility that another cat - provided that cat really gets along with the resident cat - might help to keep the cat at home; to 'anchor' them. That's a chancy way to proceed because often resident cats don't get along well with incoming cats. 

And a former stray cat is likely to be more territorial than is typically encountered. That might make them more difficult when asking them to get along with a new cat.

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