How to encourage your cat to return home
Cat Behaviour

How Can I Encourage My Wandering Cat To Return Home?

Cats are adventurous creatures. However, this can sometimes be worrying for owners. Here are some tips to encourage your cat to return home.

Follow these tips to get your cat to return home:

  • Enter your garden and name call (brightly) at regular intervals – every hour or more often. This is especially important in the early evening and beyond dusk. Do not be disheartened if your cat does not return immediately.
  • You can expand this action to the outer borders of the known territory – streets, gardens, woods and so on.
  • Clink a plate on the doorstep or ground outside at regular intervals – say, every two hours – and leave out a small morsel of strong-smelling food.
  • Do not stand and watch unless from a discreet position. Your cat will be able to see you and this may deter its return.

Adventurous cat

If you own a garden shed or bench, you can use this space to entice your cat home. Set a cat carrier or strong cardboard box on its side (keep the flaps) with a worn item of your old clothing inside so that your cat will recognize your scent. Place the box in the open shed, underneath it or under the bench.

Observe the following guidelines:

  • Do not use a carrier normally utilized for visits to the veterinary surgery. This may have a negative association for your cat.
  • The cardboard box should not be too large – just big enough to support your curled-up cat, with the entrance hole just large enough to allow it to get in and out.
  • The worn item will represent a scent link to you and act as a comfort blanket for your cat.
  • It is important to ask your neighbours not to offer your cat shelter, interaction, food or play. Any offer of refuge away from your home may prove too attractive to counter.

Your cat’s eventual return may depend on the weather, its personality and the availability of outside resources:

  • If the weather is mild, warm and dry, a cat can survive for long periods away from home.
  • If your cat has a feral background (this applies  to many adopted cats) or has a strong hunter personality, then survival for long periods outdoors, even in poor and inhospitable weather, is possible. So bear this in mind and don’t give up hope that it will never under shelter
  • If your cat has found shelter and is a good hunter or is being fed by other people, these important resources for survival will extend its absence. Cats can remain outdoors for long periods – often several weeks – before eventually returning home.

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