My Cat Is an Escape Artist, What to Do?

If your cat is constantly trying to escape, believe me, you are not alone in this. Some cats simply have that urge to suddenly disappear and then return to your home as if nothing had happened.

Dealing with an escape artist cat can be quite annoying and make you feel sad. Scolding her when she finally shows up on your doorstep will not bring any result. Instead of that, you should try to understand the reason why your cat is constantly trying to escape. Also, think about how you can prevent your cat from escaping – spaying /neutering procedure, making the escape route unpleasant, protecting your cat with microchips, or even better with a cat tracker device.

What Are the Reasons Cats Escape?

Some cats have that natural instinct to wander around but some cats become escape artists for a particular reason.

Cats are very territorial. The thing is that you cannot be sure which territory your cat sees as hers. That can be much wider than your house, yard, or balcony. She might consider your neighbor’s backyard or even the entire street as her territory. If another cat or other animals appear in your cat’s area, she might want to leave in order to find a more peaceful home.

Although the cats we are keeping as pets are domesticated, they still have genes from their wild ancestors. Hunting is a natural instinct for a cat. Even though she has food provided, hunting urge can make her run away. Did you know that some scientific studies have revealed that cats show more interest in play with toys that look like actual prey? So even a simple play is a hunting game for your kitten.

Cats are creatures of habit. If you moved to a new home recently, by running away your cat wants to say that she doesn’t like the change you made.

If your cat disappears for a couple of hours every day, maybe she has another owner. It might happen that she was wandering around and that one of your neighbors showed some affection, gave her some treats… it’s not uncommon for a cat to pick another house as ”a second home”. This way she has people who will take care of her when you leave her alone in your house.

Cats may become escape artists if they don’t have enough mental stimulation in their own house. If they are bored and need some distraction, what activity is better than hunting! The problem is that cats are capable to chase the prey to the very end which means that they could be out of your home for hours.

If your cat is not spayed/neutered, this can also be the reason for escape. Cats, like other animals species, have strong reproductive instinct so won’t hesitate to run away in order to find a mate.

In case you have a new family member, this can also trigger your cat’s escape instinct. She can perceive a new person as a danger or threat to her position in the house.

Bringing a new pet to the house may result in your cat’s escape. As mentioned earlier, cats can be very protective of their environment. If they feel that another pet is taking over their privileged position, they may look for a new home in which she will be the only pet.

You can only prevent this if you carefully and thoroughly monitor the entire process of bringing another pet into your family. At the same time, make sure that both pets have adequate water and food resources so that they do not start fighting over it. If you are bringing another cat into your home, add another sleeping basket, a cat climber, a food bowl, and another cat litter box.

If something significantly changed your daily routine, your cat will start feeling uncomfortable and she will decide to leave. Maybe you have a newborn that cries a lot or your deal with construction/ renovation work on your house, longer than your cat can tolerate. Simple, if your cat doesn’t feel comfortable and cozy in your house anymore, she will run away.

Cats have the ability to predict when they will die. If they suspect that they are approaching that moment, they will run away and die alone. The same stands for sick cats. For some reason, sick cats prefer to be alone, isolated so this can also be the reason for escape.

How To Prevent My Cat From Escaping?

It’s clear that we cannot change the cat’s nature nor the cat’s instincts. By knowing the reason for escape we are more likely to prevent it. But what happens if you simply cannot find the reason. You don’t have a new baby, you didn’t bring a new pet, you give a lot of love and affection to your cat, and plus you are constantly buying interesting puzzle feeders and other toys to stimulate her mind and keep her entertained. And she still has the urge to escape, what then?

The door area is the most dangerous zone in your house. So you can keep your cat away from the door area using a few tricks and training techniques.

  • First of all, don’t say ”hello” and ”goodbye” to your cat at the door area. Don’t let your cat associate zone around the entrance door as a place where she gets attention. Create a new place for that purpose, for example on the other side of the room ( far from the door). Make a super cozy area with a cat tree or chair and don’t forget her favorite treats. So make sure you greet her always in the area and not by the door. Also, don’t forget to give her a treat when you leave and when you return to your home. This way she will be running there as soon as she hears your key rattle in the lock.
  • In order to move her from a door area, you need to make her associate that zone with some unpleasant feeling. Since cats don’t like the citrus smell, you can use some lemon/orange or lavander scented spray and put it at the bottom of the door.
  • Cats also dislike aluminum foil, especially the feeling and sound of walking on it, so if you can put some foil sheets on the walkway. Cats also detest prickly surfaces so you can buy a plastic carpet runner and place it with nub side up.
  • Make sure you always let know your cat that she shouldn’t be around the door area. When she wanders around doors you should say something like SSST or clap your hands to teach her that area is forbidden.
  • There are also different devices that you can install near the door. Cat repellent device that sprays a hiss of air which scares /suprises the pet that triggered the motion-in detector.
  • If your cat is not spayed or neutered yet, do that the necessary procedure.
  • Don’t forget to keep all doors well closed. If you keep a cat in one particulr room, make sure all your house mates are aware that doors need to be closed all the time.
  • Cats are clever and inteligent creatures. They need to keep thier minds ocuppied and they need your hlep with that. Inteactive play is essential, interesting puzzle feeders, wand toys ( that acts like prey), provide scratching posts. Play with your cat when you can but provide some entertainment for the period of the day when you are not there. Provide a nice cat tree with a lounging platform, automatic cat toy to keep busy your kitty when you are not around. Don’t forget that cats like to have thier own space, secure and quite bed area where they can take a nap. Cats that feel comfortable and are entertained are less likey to escape.

How To Find My Cat that Escaped?

Start searching your home first. Indoor cats usually don’t go too far, some of them even stay in the house but looks like they disappeared. Check carefully your closets, hidden places, attics… all these areas to which your cat doesn’t go often.

Search every corner of your yard but also look at your neighbor’s yard. Don’t forget to inspect every part of it, every bush.

Think about the surrounding area. Are there some sheds, garages, abandoned buildings in your vicinity? Don’t forget to look there as well as your kitty might be trapped somewhere and she cannot get it alone.

If your cat ran away as she was scared and she felt threatened, she might return when everything calms down. This may happen during the night or early in the morning. So this could be the perfect time to look for your feline friend. Bring her favorite treats with you.

Cats have a very strong sense of smell. Use this advantage. Take her favorite blanket, toys, or food in the yard. The smell of her belonging might make her come back. You can even use her litter box to ”call her” to come back. The litter box has a more intense smell than toys and food so she may feel it even if she is far away from home.

Put some strong smell food ( tuna or sardines) in your yard to attract your escape artist.

Microchipping your cat may help you find her always. There are different cat trackers with GPS or without it. For example, MiauFinder or Pawtrack might be the perfect solution if you have an escape artist cat.

Recent Posts