The absence of an indoor cat from the home for up to two days can be a troubling experience for a cat owner.

Fortunately, however, cat parents do not have to go through this worrying moment once they know the factors responsible for this.

And that their furry friends are likely to find help if they miss their way home.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to conduct a proper search when you observe your feline is out of sight.

You’ll also find out how to take proper measures to prevent your sneaky friend from running far away.

And you’ll even discover how spaying your cat can prevent this from ever happening.

So, without further introduction, let’s jump in with a discussion of what causes cats to vanish and how long they can stay missing?

Why Do Indoor Cats Go Missing?

An understanding of why cats go missing can help you prevent your cat from getting missing as you would be able to take some measures in that regard to keep your cat from straying off.

Let’s consider the three most typical causes of cat disappearance.

  • Cats that have not been neutered may get lost while looking for a mate.

Finding a mate is one of the most prevalent reasons unneutered male cats leave their household.

Some cats will just need to walk around the neighborhood to detect the scent of a female cat in heat, while others will travel for miles.

Unfortunately, if your cat’s desire is confined to a house, the male will hardly wait till another opportunity arises.

This means that your cat could be gone for a day, two days, or even a week.  Male cats aren’t the only ones who go missing in search of a partner.

When they are in heat, unspayed females will likewise go seeking a mate, although they will not go as far.

Having your cat neutered or spayed is one of the most efficient ways to prevent this from happening.

This easy process will not only keep your cat from wandering out in search of love, but it will also help you avoid undesired litter.

  • When a cat’s environment changes, it tends to go missing.

Cats are sensitive to changes in their environment, and they have been known to disappear when a new baby or pet appears unexpectedly.

It is a good idea to prepare your kitten for forthcoming changes to avoid it feeling abandoned or ignored.

Make sure your cat has access to freshwater, appetizing food, and a clean litter box at all times.

And if you can’t give it the attention it craves, make sure it has enough mental and physical stimulation.

Even indoor cats can go missing if they don’t feel like they are the cat comfortable any longer.

  • When cats are scared, they go missing.

While a cat’s quick lightning reactions often save it from harm, it can sometimes put it in danger.

When your cat is frightened, it will leap into the air and flee as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, your cat may get lost in its attempt to flee whatever got it scared.

After a day or two, older cats will usually find their way home, but kittens and less streetwise cats may become lost.

If you’re afraid about your cat going missing, a GPS tracker for cats is a good idea.

These handy little gadgets will give you peace of mind and allow you to keep an eye on your cat when he’s outside.

What To Do When An Indoor Cat Gets Missing For 2 Days

Cats are known to go missing for a few hours each day, particularly if they prefer being outside.

However, if your cat is missing for an extended period, there are a few things you may do to assure its safe return.

  • Conduct a comprehensive investigation.

Before you get too worked up, make a thorough check of your home, garden, and your cat’s favorite hiding places.

Make sure to look inside garages, sheds, and your neighbors’ houses. Bins, gutters, behind hedges, and compost bins should all be considered.

Cats are known for locating the finest hiding spots, so get a flashlight if it’s dark, some yummy snacks, and start thinking like a cat.

Try to recall your cat’s previous behavior. Is it the same one that went missing last year around the same time?

With the warmer weather in the spring and summer, cats are more likely to stray off for longer periods.

It’s also possible that your kitten is feeling brave enough to venture a little further than normal.

  • Let others know about it.

If your cat is still missing after you’ve searched high, low, and everywhere in between, it’s time to notify other individuals and organizations.

Share a recent photo on several social networking channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Use pages like Cat Aware and Missing Pets GB, which have been created expressly to assist in the search for missing cats.

Include a complete description of your cat, including their age, name, and last known location, as well as any noticeable qualities that will help you identify your cat.

Create a ‘lost pet’ flier and check with local shelters, your veterinarian, and community forums to further your search.

If your cat has been missing for a few days, you should contact local boarding kennels.

There are also several excellent lost and found websites that have helped owners reunite with their cats.

  • Leave food and water outside your door.

You should leave some food, drink, your cat’s favorite treats, and even its toy outside overnight.

When there are fewer people and fewer vehicles around, a fearful cat will often return home after nightfall.

If you have a baby monitor, you can position it near the food bowl to listen for meowing sounds.

  • Check previous addresses

Cats are known to wander off in search of their old home, so if you’ve just moved, ask your prior neighbors to keep a lookout for your cat.

Check with the owners of any cats you’ve rehomed or adopted. Cats are known to migrate long distances to their previous residence.

Can Indoor Cats Find Their Way Back Home?

Cats appear to have a sort of homing instinct, which has led them hundreds of kilometers back to their home in certain situations.

The majority of indoor cats do not venture far. A fearful indoor cat may not trust its inner compass, become confused, and become lost, but an adventurous indoor cat is more inclined to roam. 

Anything can happen to a cat once it has left its comfort zone, scaring it even more: barking dogs, loud traffic noise, teasing school children, wildlife, and so on.

While cats link emotionally to humans, animal behaviorists know that they also bond intensely to their homes, marking their territory with urine spraying or bunting scent glands under their chin.

However, scientists are still baffled as to how a cat’s homing instinct works across long distances.

While anecdotal evidence abounds, there isn’t much in the way of science on cats’ homing instinct just two published studies exist.

Professor Frances Herrick’s first paper, titled “Homing Powers of the Cat,” was published in 1922.

Herrick studied a mother cat’s ability to return to her kittens after being separated in this investigation.

Herrick discovered that the mother cat returned seven times to her kittens after being separated by distances ranging from one to four kilometers.

A second test was carried out. In 1954, German researchers put cats in a big maze with a lot of holes to test them.

Cats used the exit that was nearest to their home most of the time, they discovered.

So now we know that cats can find their way home, but why? At this time, all we have are theories ranging from magnetic geolocation (Beadle, 1977) to olfactory clues (cat smells).

However, while we know that cats can often find their way home, the question of how they do so remains unanswered until additional research is done.

Although cats have a seemingly miraculous homing instinct, not all missing cats will find their way home.

Even though indoor cats live longer and are less susceptible to trauma and infectious disease, they may have a diminished homing ability and become missing and scared if they get lost outside.

Consider having your cat microchipped to improve your chances of being reunited with it if it ever gets separated from you, and only take your cat out if he’s on a cat leash.

If you’re relocating, be sure to set aside a safe, limited indoor room for your cat, and keep him indoors for at least a month afterward to give him time to imprint on a new environment.

Otherwise, your cat may utilize his or her homing ability and make an incredible journey to the old home!

How To Prevent Indoor Cats From Getting Lost

Nothing is more upsetting than having your cat go missing or become lost.

Even if you think it’ll never happen to your cat, there are a few things you can do to avoid having yours show up on a lost and found poster.

  • Your cat should be microchipped

Although microchipping your cat is not a legal requirement in the United Kingdom, you should do so as soon as feasible.

Also, if any of your contact information has changed, you must update it in your microchip database.

  • Wear your cat a collar with a name tag 

Because not everyone is aware of microchips, a collar with your cat’s name and contact information is a good idea.

A collar not only helps identify your pet but also prevents strangers from mistaking it for a stray.

Make sure your contact information is on both the tag and the inside of the collar.

  • Check to see if your cat has been neutered.

Unneutered cats, as previously stated, will travel great distances if they detect the scent of a female in heat.

You must get your cat neutered as soon as possible to prevent this from happening. This will not only prohibit it from roaming the streets, but it will also prevent littering.

  • Give your cat a lot of stimulation

Cats are bright creatures who require a lot of mental and physical stimulation. Make sure you spend quality time with your kitty every day and set up activity areas in your home.

Scratching poles, hammocks, and a plethora of toys will keep your cat from straying in quest of adventure.

Establish a mealtime pattern so that your cat does not feel compelled to look for food.

  • Do not leave your cat for long 

When it becomes dark, even the most streetwise cats need to feel safe. If you’re going to be gone for the day or night, make sure you bring your cat inside.

Knowing that your cat is safe and secure indoors will give you peace of mind.

This is especially crucial during strong rainstorms or major festivals when your cat can become confused. 

Certainly, if you’re a new cat owner, the thought of your precious bundle being out of sight for even a few minutes, much alone an entire day, might be stressful. 

Cats are known to go absent for up to 24 hours, especially if they spend a lot of time outside.

Cats have been known to stay away from home for up to ten days at a time.

Some cats leave home when their people are on vacation and return shortly after the family returns.

In some cases, cats that had been lost for years were eventually found and returned to their owners.

 Yes, some cats abandon their homes for various reasons and do not wish to be discovered. Regardless, give it a shot.

The statistics for lost cats coming home without assistance are around 2%. Having a microchip and wearing a collar and tag improve your chances.

References:

Home and Roost: Lost Cat? How Long do Cats Go Missing For?

Better Sea: What To Do If My Cat Goes Missing

Pet Finder: Lost Cat – How to Find a Lost Cat

PetMD: How Can Cats Find Their Way Home If Lost?