It has almost been a year since we got Rosie, and as we have a cat flap she does go in and out as she pleases. It does worry me when she is not at home at her usual time and I start thinking has she gone off and is she coming back? The following post has some great tips to help prevent your cat from straying.
How to stop your cat from straying
Cats are independent creatures, that’s part of their attraction. And they’ll quite happily wander off on their own, returning when they feel like it – usually when they are hungry. It can be upsetting if you don’t see your cat for a day or two, or even longer, so if she’s developed an urge to explore for long periods, try nipping her wanderlust in the bud with a few simple tips.
Spay or neuter your cat
Most vets will tell you that cats are very similar to some humans in that their sexual urges can get them into all sorts of trouble. If your female cat is in season, she may wander off in search of a mate, and because she’s fixated on her goal of finding a suitable tom, things like remembering her way home seem less important and she could wander off a lot further than usual and get lost.
Cats that are still sexually active can also become a pest with their yowling, spraying and fighting, which some people will take offence to, and you could find yourself unpopular with the locals when they realise whose moggy the racket is coming from. Spaying or neutering your cat does have health and other benefits, as well as curbing their urges to find a mate at all costs.
Keep cats indoors after dark
Most people will happily let their cat wander during the day, but after dark their instincts can get them into trouble, even if they are spayed or neutered. Cats are often very active at night, and will wander into places they don’t usually go under cover of darkness, scavenging, hunting and generally causing mischief. If you can, lock the cat flap after she’s had her tea and curtail her night-time excursions.
Keep your pet entertained at home
Cats do get bored easily, and they need stimulation at home if you don’t want them to disappear off in search of something exciting to explore. If you have a small garden, you could try getting in some kitty toys, a scratching post, even feline activity centres.
Indoors, give your pet plenty of attention and affection to keep them feeling at home. Cats love to play, so play games with her, make a fuss of her and you might keep her away from the lure of the cat flap a bit longer.
Stop a hungry cat from hunting
Cats love to hunt, and although they will do it even if they aren’t remotely hungry (and usually bring you the resulting kill as a present), they are even more likely to disappear and go hunting if they aren’t being fed well enough. Make sure you feed your cat a healthy, balanced diet that’s enough for her needs, and she won’t need to go out in search of morsels for extras.
It’s not just humans that can get a bit confused when they move house. If a cat’s territory suddenly changes, she’ll want to get out and explore it, and in some cases try and find her way back ‘home’. Ideally, keep her indoors for a couple of weeks after you move house – this isn’t a guarantee that she won’t still try and find her old hunting grounds, but if she’s more settled she might not be so bothered.
Get a chip
Even if your cat hasn’t yet shown any signs of making a bid for freedom, it’s wise to have her micro-chipped just in case she does go missing. If your pet does decide to wander off and get lost, you’ll have a much better chance of being reunited if she’s been chipped, as a vet can simply scan her and find your details. If you register her as missing on the Pet Log Database, anyone who finds her and gets her scanned will be able to find you.
Finally, don’t forget to check that your pet insurance policy includes cover to help you locate your cat if she goes missing; our Loss Through Theft or Straying cover is either optional or included in all our policies and will help cover the costs of putting up posters in your neighbourhood and a reward to help get your cat back should they stray.
Has your cat ever strayed? How did you put a stop to straying and keep your cat coming home every night? You may want to consider pet insurance from More Th>n, and share your tips with fellow cat owners on our Facebook page…
Image of cat from Wikimedia Commons
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