Why Do Cats Go Missing?

A woman gently cradling a cat in her arms, displaying a heartwarming bond between human and feline companionship.

Cats are beloved pets for millions of households around the world. Yet, despite how much we love them, cats can still go missing. It's a worrisome and heartbreaking situation for cat owners, but understanding why cats go missing can help to provide some peace of mind.

The most common reason cats go missing is that they are simply allowed to roam freely outside. Cats are natural wanderers and are curious creatures, so when they are allowed to wander freely outside, they can easily become lost or disorientated and unable to find their way home. This can be especially true for cats who are unaccustomed to being outdoors, as they may not be familiar with their surroundings and could easily become confused and lost.

Other potential reasons cats go missing include being stolen or taken in by someone else. Unfortunately, there are people who take cats as their own without permission and may never return them. In addition, cats may be attracted to other cats or animals in the area and follow them away from home. This is especially true in rural areas, where cats are more likely to come into contact with other animals.

ginger kitty looking at you

How Often Do Cats Go Missing?

A cat is considered missing when they have not been seen in the home for at least 24 hours.

Acotding to some studies one in three cats go missing at some point in their lifetime. 

If a cat is found wandering around, someone may take it in and start caring for it, while looking for any 'lost cat' posters. However, not everyone knows what to do with a found cat, or even has the time to look for the owner, so a cat may end up staying with them permanently.

How Long Do Cats Go Missing?

The length of time a cat is missing will vary depending on the situation. Cats may wander away from home and become lost for a few hours or days, while stolen cats may be gone for much longer.

Why Do Cats Go Missing for Days?

Cats may go missing for days for a variety of reasons. Some cats may wander off in search of food, while others may become lost after being frightened by loud noises or unfamiliar people. Cats can also become disoriented if they are in unfamiliar surroundings, straying from their home and becoming lost.

Common reasons include:

Cats may become trapped when they wander into an unfamiliar garage, shed, or other enclosed space.


Cats often wander off on their own to explore their environment. They may get lost or find an area they really like and stay there for a few days.


Cats may become frightened of a loud noise such as a thunderstorm or fireworks. They may hide in a small space or under a bed for days until they feel safe enough to come out.


Cats may wander off and become prey to a larger animal or get into a confrontation with a wild animal and flee in fear.


Cats may be injured while exploring and not be able to make it back home. They may wander off to hide and recover until they feel better and are ready to come home.

Why Do Cats Go Missing for Weeks?

Cats may go missing for weeks if they are taken by pet thieves. Additionally, cats may become disoriented and get lost in unfamiliar surroundings, and may not be able to find their way home. Cats may also hide in a safe place for weeks at a time if they are frightened or traumatized. If you have recently moved, they may be trying to get back to their old home.

Found Cat in Salisbury Heights

"OMG it is our cat Magnus..reunited after almost 2 years, alot of happy tears. Absolutely amazing"

Susan - Salisbury Heights, SA

Why Are So Many Cats Going Missing?

One of the most common reasons is that cats are curious creatures and may wander off in search of new sights and smells. Cats may also go missing if they are not spayed or neutered, as they may be trying to mate or search for a new home. Additionally, cats may run away from home if they are not provided with enough stimulation or if they become bored or spooked.

How Do Cats Go Missing?

Cats can go missing in a variety of ways. Cats may wander away from home, get scared or frightened, get lost while exploring new territory, or be taken by a stranger. Even though it is rare, cats can sometimes be stolen, usually by someone who knows and loves the cat as much as the owner. In the case of a stolen cat, the owner should check with the local animal shelter and post flyers in the area, so that if the cat is found, it can be returned to its rightful owner.

Free Lost Cat Poster

Cats can be easily startled by loud noises, such as fireworks or cars. When this happens, they may bolt in a random direction and hide, which can lead them far away from home. Cats can also escape if someone leaves a door open and they seize the opportunity to explore. Additionally, cats may run away in fear when they are injured or attacked by another animal.

When Cats Go Missing Where Do They Go?

Cats will hide in a safe place, such as under a porch, under a bush, on a roof, orunder a car. We have even had a few that were down storm water drains. Another possible reason why cats go missing is that they are trapped in a shed or garage. Cats are naturally curious, so they may explore neighbouring properties, only to get trapped in an enclosed space. In these cases, the cats may try to get out or cry for help, but no one may be around to hear them.

Lost Pet Finders is a service that helps owners locate lost cats

Lost Pet Finders is an invaluable service for cat owners, providing a comprehensive suite of tools and services to help them find their lost cats and reunite them with their families. It is the largest lost and found pet service in Australia, recognised by veterinarians, councils, and volunteer organisations across the country. With its search feature, Pet Alert notifications, Pet Network, and wide array of resources, Lost Pet Finders is an essential tool for anyone looking for their lost cat.

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