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4. Why do Cats Stray?

 

We have all seen the "missing" posters pinned to trees or taped to lamp posts but we never really believe it could happen to our own pets.

Cats can go astray for many reasons, usually they lose their bearings for one reason or another & can't find their way home again. Some can revert to a wild state (feral) & manage to hunt or scavenging, but most - being domesticated & very inexperienced animals will struggle to survive. Life is very hard out there with no help at all.

The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) is one of the most recent animals to have been domesticated by man. In law, cats are considered to be "Free spirits" & for example it is very difficult for their keepers be prosecuted if damage were to be caused by pet cats. These "free spirits" retain much of their wild instincts & may revert to them relatively quickly. This does not mean that stray cats are capable of fending entirely for themselves however! They will not have been taught the vital survival skills necessary to survive alone from their tame - dependant parents. Instinct is one thing - experience is vital.

Contrary to popular opinion, cats do not "Always come back"

Find ways of preventing cats from going astray & keeping them safe

Thousands of cats both neutered but mostly un-neutered, go astray throughout the seasons, but especially at certain times of the year.

The combination of curiosity & panic can be a cat's worst enemy.

Un-neutered Tomcats will range surprisingly far & wide to locate a queen & to stake out their territory when the weather warms, especially after a cold winter.

Un-spayed females can become frustrated & may seek out entire male company. With this single-minded purpose in mind, they can easily lose their way. The result of that is often semi-feral kittens, who - if they survive - will likely contribute later to feral populations.

Neutered males will still happily adventure out, but usually only a little farther than than their much smaller-territories, in glorious sunshine.

Spayed females may do the same, althouth their range tends to be yet smaller still.

There are lots af fascinating insects & birds & animals to be curious about in Spring.

If when venturing a little farther than usual, even in the winter, something takes a cat by surprise in unfamiliar surroundings, those famous reflexes can have them bolting wildly for cover. If they are not sure where they are after their panicked sprint, they may have an ordeal ahead of them in re-locating their home. They may simply be following or seeking out something of interest that they have smelt, heard or seen. Their focus can sometimes take them beyond their territory limits.

Fireworks night itself causes a rise in missing animals, but the weeks leading up to it can be just as bad.

Gunpowder goes on sale in the shops earlier & earlier every year & explosives are sold to children. Those children randomly play with fireworks night or day as if they were toys, ignorant of the harm it can cause themselves or others.

Animals need to be shut in at night, especially around & on fireworks night itself.

There is not usually a sudden influx of cats into rescue centres in the weeks following November 5th as most people are indoors where it is warm & are less likely to notice lost pets.

 

Holidays events & fireworks are not the only reasons cats stray, they can simply be surprised by a random encounter, wander, become disoriented & lose their way.

It is much more unlkikely but still possible, that their home environment is for example too busy or crowded & they find some comfort that suits them better elsewhere.

Find ways of preventing cats from going astray & keeping them safe on the following page...

 

The information on this website comes with years of experience from cat rescue centres, & an oxford diploma in felinology (with distinction)

The information on this website comes with years of experience from cat rescue centres, & an oxford diploma in felinology (with distinction)

When you find your cat, please consider raising found posters to encourage people in future cases

When you find your cat, please consider raising found posters to encourage people in future cases

Raising

Raising "Found" posters shares a happy ending & encourages people to look out for lost cats in future cases. (also abates rumor)

Lilly was relocated after 6 weeks

Lilly was relocated after 6 weeks

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