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9. WHY DO CATS GO MISSING?

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" & therefore it is very difficult for their keepers be prosecuted - if for example - damage has been caused by pet cats. As such these "free spirits" retain much of their wild instincts & will revert to them relatively quickly. This does not mean that stray cats are capable of fending for themselves however! They will not have been taught the vital survival skills necessary to survive alone from their tame - dependant parents.

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

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

Thousands of cats go astray throughout the seasons, but especially at certain times of the year.

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 in glorious sunshine or track something of interest, but they usually only go a little farther than than their much smaller-territories.

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. Hormones are awoken by the longer daylight hours & fledglings for example are more vulnerable at dusk & dawn when cats - crepuscular by nature - are most active.

If when venturing a little farther than usual 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 territory.

A wise precaution to avoid the above is to keep cats in overnight before darkness falls, & provide them with stimulation in their home territory.

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.

 

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

 

 

 

Aprehensive

Aprehensive

Nervous

Nervous

Try not to tower above cats, we make imposing figures

Try not to tower above cats, we make imposing figures

Provide a hiding place, blankets or towels will make retreats more comfortable, while insulating against the sound & vibrations

Provide a hiding place, blankets or towels will make retreats more comfortable, while insulating against the sound & vibrations

Give them a safe den, but try not to invade it

Give them a safe den, but try not to invade it

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