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Why Won’t My Cat Come Back In The House?

If you have a cat but you are finding it hard to coax it back into your home, you may be wondering why this is happening…

Why Won’t My Cat Come Back into the House?

If your cat will not come back inside there could be various reasons such as: It’s scared of something outdoors, new cat in its territory, it is lost, or it may be finding food outside.

So, now you know. But, how can I get it back to my home? Is it better to only let it out when it’s hungry? What should you do when it doesn’t come back? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

The Most common reasons cats won’t come back home

An orange cat outdoors on a wooden fence.

An orange cat outdoors on a wooden fence.

In this section I will explain, in more detail, the common reasons why cats won’t come back…

01. They Are Scared of Something Inside.

If a cat no longer feels safe or secure indoors, it may opt not to come inside. This might be due to a new person in the house, a new pet, or unusual noises. If a person abuses the cat or the cat feels threatened by a new member of your family, the cat may become fearful and avoid your house.

If you’ve recently purchased a new dog, the cat may be scared, which is why it’s staying outside. Strange disturbances in the house, such as bangs or unexpected sounds, may also frighten the cat away, causing it to go outside.

02. A New Cat Enters Your Cat’s Territory

If another cat enters your feline’s area, there’s a good possibility your cat may refuse to come inside. Cats generally mark their territory by peeing on the wall or even flapping their tails. As a result, if another cat goes by your cat’s door, it will notice and refuse to enter.

03. It Is Lost

Due to their keen sense of smell and direction, it is highly unlikely your cat is lost. It’s more probable that your cat was terrified by a loud noise, a stressful scenario, or was carried away by prey and is now struggling to find its way home.

04. Eating Outside

Feeding cats outside the house is one of the most common pet owner blunders. Cats may prefer to stay outside during certain seasons, such as summer, since it is warmer, and if you feed the cat outside, it may not feel the need to return inside.

If you don’t feed your cat from outside, a neighbor may be feeding it, maybe believing it’s a stray, and that’s why it won’t come inside.

How Can I Get My Cat to Come Back Inside the House?

Since cats can be particularly stubborn creatures, the best way to lure them back into your home is to provide them with their favorite food that they can’t resist. This is usually an irresistible can of wet cat food, fish, sardines, chicken, beef liver or anything safe a cat can consume.

Try to pick something with a distinct smell that will entice your cat. Place this food in a dish and place it within your cat’s view.

Once they become alerted by the presence of the food, slowly bring the food inside and place it in an area where they can still see it from outside, but you have enough space to sneak behind your cat and close the door or window.

Is It Better to Let Your Cat Out Only When It’s Hungry?

Allowing your cat outside after they’ve eaten in the morning is best since their full tummies will typically stop them from seeking out other food sources. Before releasing your cat outside, arrange feeding times rather than giving unfettered access to food for a few weeks.

Hunger will urge your cat to return at mealtimes if you let him out just before feeding time. You may also use a sound, such as a bell, clicker, or jangling keys, to train your cat before giving him meals or food-based goodies.

Making that sound alerts your pet that you are nearby and offering a food incentive. Shaking the food bag may result in a swarm of cats rushing home.

What Do You Do When Your Cat Doesn’t Come Back?

First and foremost, try not to be alarmed. Check the house from top to bottom if your cat has gone missing overnight and isn’t home the following day. They may have sneaked in when you weren’t looking, or they could have discovered a new hiding spot.

It’s conceivable that they’re sick or that they’ve been harmed.

Once you’ve determined that your cat isn’t in the area, you should contact the appropriate people and organizations. If your cat is microchipped, get in touch with the microchip database and report them missing. Then start looking everywhere and spreading the word with any current images or marks that might help others identify your kitty.

How Long Should My Cat Be Missing Before I Worry?

If your cat has been absent for a few hours, you should not be concerned. However, suppose it has been more than two days. In that case, you should consider notifying your local veterinarian and animal control officer that your animal has not returned since they may have been injured or are unable to return home.

Will My Cat Come Back?

Most cats that live indoors or on their owners’ property will feel scared and hide if they venture outside, but they will want to return to their familiar area, which is usually your house. Many cats will come inside for the food after some time has passed, and you may then lock the door behind them.

How Long Will a Cat Hide If Scared?

A white and brown cat hiding between cylinders.

A white and brown cat hiding between cylinders.

A cat will hide for 2 hours on average until they feel comfortable again. If they were terrified by a loud noise, this might take a few more hours or several days if they were scared by a change in their habitat.

The length of time it takes your cat to come out of hiding is determined by their personality, environment, and what first startled them. Cats hide for various reasons, including an unfamiliar location, a sense of being imprisoned, the presence of strangers, illness, injury, or to avoid predators.

Can Cats Find Their Way Home If Lost?

Due to their keen sense of smell, cats have an amazing sense of direction. Since they leave scent clues along the way, they may find their way back home. Scent glands may be found on various regions of a cat’s body, including the paw pads, cheeks, lips, forehead, flanks, and tail.

Your cat rubs their faces, scratches trees, and pees on their walks to scatter their pheromones and leave a trail. Even though they are extremely unusual, there have been reports of cats returning home after months away.

How Can You Tell If a Cat is Lost?

If a cat appears to look rough, injured or sick, it could be lost.  A cat’s coat should be sleek, clean, and well-kept in most cases. They usually wear a collar as well.

A stray cat is considered one that has been lost or run away from home, and their coats are typically unkempt or dirty in comparison to wild cats. They should also be slimmer since they are unfamiliar with hunting for themselves.

Will a Scared Cat Starve Itself?

When a cat is afraid, it could starve itself to death. Fear, stress, or anxiety can cause a cat to hide and lose their appetite, even if it is medically healthy. When cat owners move into a new house, they often discover that their cats cease eating for a brief period of time.

When the cat regains confidence, it will most likely resume eating.

Whatever the reason for your cat’s lack of appetite, you only have around 24 hours before you need to seek medical help. Cats who go more than 24 hours without eating risk developing medical problems, such as Hepatic Lipidosis.

Lindsey Browlingdon