The realization that a beloved pet cat has gone missing is a devastating and distressing situation for any pet parent. You’ve already knocked on every door in your neighbourhood and looked in every nook and cranny, but your cat is still missing.
Then, out of nowhere, she appears on your front porch!
You must reintegrate your lost cat cautiously to avoid becoming stressed and angry when it gets home. Please take it to the doctor for a checkup and feed it modest meals to avoid health problems. Bathing it will freshen up its fur by removing fleas and dirt.
Allowing visitors into your house should be avoided until your cat has settled in. Close all windows and doors to prevent your home from being broken into.
Cat Behavior After Being Lost
A cat will express different behaviours like being more affectionate, scared, and hiding more frequently.
When your cat returns home, it may demonstrate behavioural changes concerning to you, depending on the experience and reason for being away. Once your cat has had a chance to comprehend what it has gone through, its behaviour should return to normal within a few days.
Meanwhile, give your cat as much room as it requires and wait. Never scream or yell at your cat since this will add stress.
When cats return home after days, weeks, or months abroad, they become more loving and want to spend as much time as possible with their owners.
Owners give protection and security, which your cat may require after becoming separated from you, trapped, or attacked by a predator.
While your cat was absent, they most certainly went through some stress. If your cat has been missing for an extended period, something may have happened to frighten or startle it, causing it to get agitated.
Give your cat some room and wait for it to come around on its own until it has recovered from the event and feels more relaxed.
Trauma or frightening experiences instil anxiety in cats, which shows as stress. If your cat has gone without food or drink for an extended period, this will be amplified.
Your cat’s stress will be exacerbated if you fuss about it.
Don’t be frightened if your cat hides beneath the bed or other furniture as soon as it gets home. This is a common reaction to being scared or concerned about something.
Similarly, wounded or sick cats hide their problems to protect themselves from predators searching for an easy meal. This is a natural inclination that they have. It would help if a veterinarian examined your cat to ensure nothing was amiss.
Whether your cat hides or not is determined by its personality, according to VCA Hospitals.
Your cat has had a long day and will need to sleep more regularly to recoup and save its energy. Because it needed to stay awake to protect itself from predators, your cat probably didn’t sleep much while it was absent.
Sleeping a lot, like hiding, might indicate a health problem. Keep an eye on your cat’s hunger. If it stops eating, it should be sent to a veterinarian.
Why Is My Cat Acting Different After Being Lost?
Your cat acts differently because he is still recovering from the trauma and shock experienced while being lost.
Cats flee for various reasons, which has an impact on lost cat behaviour. A cat that has gone missing in quest of new vistas is likely to act differently. They could have a certain purpose in mind.
Households that allow free-feeding attract some cats away from their natural homes. If you’ve just moved, your cat may be attempting to return to her previous residence; if it’s close enough, she’ll most likely succeed and make herself at home with the new residents. It’s worth walking around with a cat carrier to double-check.
A truly confused and bewildered cat, after straying away, would most likely seek refuge elsewhere.
Check any nearby unsecured outbuildings or sheds to see if your cat has taken refuge there. Cats may hide in gardens or beneath vehicles, so keep an eye out for them. Cats who go lost in this manner are frequently terrified and perplexed.
Due to the trauma, they suffered while on the run, they may act apprehensive and even violently even while you are attempting to help them.
This might continue even after you’ve brought your cat home. Your cat’s personality may alter as a result of her journey, depending on how long she was gone and what transpired. These might be short-term or long-term in nature.
It’s crucial to be patient with your cat and never punish her when she becomes furious – she’s scared and anxious, not cruel or “bad.” Instead, give your cat some space to de-escalate the situation. She’ll change her mind when she’s ready.
If something particular provoked the disappearance, you must solve the problem. Providing a safe environment for your cat in her house is a vital antidote against itching foot attacks in the future.
Do Cats Look Different After Being Lost?
It’s common for cats to undergo bodily changes after going missing, particularly if they’ve been absent for weeks or months. Most of the time, this is due to famine caused by a lack of food.
On the other hand, Cats have excellent hunting instincts and should be able to survive on mice while they’re gone. Cats lose weight when they are gone for a variety of reasons, including:
- Health issues
- Injuries that cause a loss of appetite
- Parasites and tapeworms
- Excessive exercise
While taking your cat to the doctor should be your priority, the next step is to gradually introduce food to your cat in a safe and controlled manner. Reintroducing tiny volumes of food to your cat can help it gain strength without overfeeding it and causing more problems.
When a cat returns home after being gone for a while, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Don’t be worried if you see changes in your cat’s look or behaviour. After a while, things will return to normal.
What To Do After Missing Cat Comes Home?
When a lost cat is found, it is a source of great joy and comfort. However, use caution during the first 24 to 48 hours since your pet will be anxious and vulnerable.
When your cat returns home, follow these steps to reintroduce it:
1. Provide Food
Many times when your cat was missing and wandered the streets, she died of malnutrition. When she gets home, try to feed her something, but not too much. Large amounts of cat food may bring more damage than benefit to your cat.
It’s also possible that it’ll harm your liver. Give her tiny quantities of food for the first 24 hours after she returns. You should also feed her water in little amounts to not overburden her system.
You’ll be tempted to indulge your missing cat with treats and food when it returns. This isn’t a smart idea because your cat most likely didn’t eat much during its absence, surviving on scraps. Health problems, such as liver damage, might arise if you serve too much food too rapidly.
Within the first 24 hours, provide a modest portion of your cat’s usual food and observe its behaviour. Also, be cautious about how much water you feed your cat.
2. Vet Visit
Bring your cat to the vet once you’ve made sure she’s settled in and eating properly again after she’s gone missing.
Your cat may have had injuries or wounds while out on the streets or in the neighbourhood but show no signs of them. Fleas and other parasites may have affected your feline as well.
Should your cat be affected by internal parasites, your veterinarian may do laboratory testing and deworm her. If your cat seems frail or has lost her appetite, your veterinarian may recommend injectable vitamins or intravenous medication.
Your vet may also perform a pregnancy test on your cat, especially if she was not spayed when she went missing, as she was likely in heat at the time.
3. Quick Bath
It would be best if you also gave your cat a quick wash to clean her up and remove any fleas, ticks, or other unwanted items that may have been hiding in her hair. Apart from that, it’s an effective technique to remove dirt and filth from your cat’s coat.
4. Spaying or Neutering
Because they’re looking for a mate, cats that haven’t been spayed or neutered are more prone to roam and become lost. Make sure your cat feline is spayed or neutered to avoid this. There are other advantages to doing so.
5. Microchip Your Cat
Microchipping your cat is a wonderful idea since it safeguards it from being stolen or lost again. A microchip is a little computer chip the size of a grain of rice. A needle is used to implant it beneath your cat’s skin, exactly as it is with other immunizations.
Every microchip has a unique registration number that contains information on the owner’s identity and contact information. The relevant information is saved in the pet register service database.
It may be read using readers available at most shelters and veterinarian offices, allowing the cat’s owner to be located quickly.
6. Update ID Tag
If you reported that your cat was missing on the internet, make sure to update those postings after your cat has returned home. It will make it easy for other pet owners seeking lost pets and those looking for lost pets to narrow down the search results.
7. Leave Alone
Because your cat may be a bit spooked or disoriented when she returns home, it’s best to give her some alone time apart from the rest of the family.
Place or provide her with a peaceful resting area, such as a pleasant nook or a little quiet chamber. Give her at least a day or two, and she should be back to her normal self by then.
8. Secure Your Home
If you’ve been careless with your cat’s safety in the past, now is the time to reconsider and safeguard your house and environs.
To keep your cat secure, consider installing a cat door. If your cat enjoys being outside, a catio or enclosure might provide a secure haven for her.
Frequently Asked Questions
What percentages of lost cats are returned home safely?
Seventy-five per cent of cats reported missing was found and returned to their owners.
How long will a lost cat hide?
Fear, rather than hunger, is likely to be their strongest emotion when they’re separated from their territory — your house. According to the Missing Animal Response Network, cats will generally hide for one or two weeks after being evicted from their area.
Will a cat try to find its way back home?
Cats have a particular skill called a homing instinct that helps them find their way back home, which is as incredible as it sounds. All cats have a homing instinct, whether indoor, outdoor, or stray cats.
A lost or missing pet cat is one of the worst things that can happen to a pet parent, but it’s always a reason to rejoice when she returns home. Treat her with soft love and compassion, and keep in mind that she may have been under a lot of stress while she was gone.
If you have any questions, ask us in the comments section.