Is it normal to want to disappear?

My cat has disappeared

Help, my cat has disappeared. A scenario that many cat lovers have already experienced. In most cases, the cat comes home within a short period of time. But what if the cat is gone?

Why do cats run away? Do cats find their way back home? What action can I take to search? We have taken up all of these questions and give you useful tips on how to find your runaway cat.

How long will the cat stay away?

It actually depends on the reason your cat ran away. Depending on the cause, the trip to freedom can either end after a few hours or last for days or months.

  • In the warm season of the year, outdoor enthusiasts are much more active. You will come back in later. However, this only extends their time outside by a few hours.
  • Younger cats like to explore their new territory extensively. That can take an enormous amount of time. Unlike older cats, who are outside a little longer in summer, exploring young cats can take a lot more time. So the cat is out and about much longer than usual.
  • Outdoor cats have, depending on their living situation, a more or less large area that they roam regularly. Here cats can be absent for a few days.
  • Cats in heat, on the other hand, can hardly be kept. They have only one goal: reproduction. So they roam their surroundings after conspecifics willing to mate. This can take a while. A week is completely normal.
  • Hangovers like to fight their territorial fights in a brutal way. It can happen that your cat gets the short straw and no longer dares to go home. It can be on the road for months.
  • If a cat becomes disoriented, the chances of getting home in a short period of time diminish. This is the case, for example, if you have recently moved and your cat has not yet explored their surroundings adequately. In some cases she cannot find her way home.

How big is the area of ​​cats?

The territory of cats is usually very large. A neutered house cat usually has a territory size of up to 2,000 square meters. It is even bigger in non-neutered cats. Depending on the environment - urban or rural - the area can easily be up to 50,000 square meters. That is a radius of about 150 meters. It may not sound like much, but if in doubt, they have to be thinned through first after the cat has disappeared.

Nature has given cats a great ability to learn and remember. They know where the streets are, where the neighbor dog is on the move or which conspecifics roam their territory. Nevertheless, there can be exceptional situations that make it difficult to return home.

How long can a runaway cat survive?

My cat has disappeared and is out there somewhere. Survival actually depends on many circumstances and also on the length of time spent outdoors. It is particularly problematic for house cats to orientate themselves outside of the house or apartment. Even if your outdoor cat regularly puts mice in front of your door, that doesn't mean that it will be able to survive any longer outside. There are simply many risks that can wreak havoc on a runaway cat.

  • increased risk of accidents due to unfamiliar car traffic
  • Risk of injury from dogs, larger birds of prey or other wild animals such as foxes
  • unusual cold at night
  • insufficient nutrition
  • Consumption of sick prey or damaged food waste

Accidents, illnesses, injuries and malnutrition can definitely lead to a significant reduction in the chances of survival for runaway cats in unfamiliar surroundings. Fortunately, many cats find their way back to their master or mistress.

My cat has disappeared - our search tips for missing cats

The fact that the cat just doesn't come home can turn everyday life into a mess. The cat has disappeared and you are worried: Nevertheless, you have to keep a cool head and use the available time sensibly to organize the search. You can't just stay away from work now. There are basically three options for her stay: Either she gets scared on the way and hides somewhere. The other possibility is that she was accidentally locked in a hiding place and cannot escape. Last but not least, there is still the possibility that your cat simply wants to discover everything and is constantly on the move.

First, set a search radius that you can work through consistently. This includes simple hiding places such as bushes, the neighbor's garden, the area under parked cars or hidden corners in the area. A cat can hide in many places. Gradually increase the radius if your cat is not in the immediate vicinity. Before you search the neighbour's garden on your own, please ask for permission first. Talk to neighbors that your cat may be inadvertently locked up there in the basement or garage. It may be in the immediate vicinity and simply cannot get out of its hiding place because it is locked. When searching, include the trees in your area. It may well be that your cat is on the run from a rabid conspecific or a dog on a tree and no longer dares to go down.

Incidentally, in the dark or at night, the chances are better of finding your cat. This is simply due to the fact that the ambient noise is noticeably reduced. Fewer cars are driving and there are hardly any people left. In addition, your cat can hear your calling better than if all the noises around them mask your calls.

Create a profile and expand your search

The cat is missing and is simply not findable despite an extensive search? Then it helps to hang up wanted posters or search posters in your area. These should contain the following information:

  • Name of the cat
  • Date of disappearance
  • Coat color
  • special marks
  • brief information on the familiar environment

Enter your contact details. On the profile, ask that everyone should look in their basement, shed or garage to see whether the cat is possibly there.

It is important that you do not fall for culprits who want to take advantage of your cat's disappearance. It may well happen that someone turns to you and asks 100 euros for a tip on the whereabouts. Do not get involved in information where the informant is asking for money from you. You can assume that you will only get ripped off.

In some cases, animal lovers have caught your cat and turned to the police, a veterinarian, or even the fire department. In such cases, the cat is immediately taken to the responsible animal shelter. So ask the mentioned offices whether a cat has been dropped off there in the past few days. It is quite possible that your cat has not yet been chipped and therefore cannot be assigned to you.

Why do cats run away?

It is common for a cat to just not show up again. This can of course happen faster with outdoor cats than with indoor cats. The latter, however, can also run away in an unobserved moment. The cat has disappeared and there are various reasons for this:

  • something has frightened the cat and she runs away in a panic
  • the hormones go crazy and the cat is looking for a partner willing to mate
  • your own home is not attractive enough and your cat is looking for a change in the environment
  • other open-air cats are competing with your cat for the territory
  • In the warm season, the urge to explore outside is very high
  • younger cats go on a voyage of discovery and never find their way back
  • the cat was injured in an accident


In general, accidents that lead to injuries can quickly happen to cats that move around freely. It is important that in such a case, for example, surgery costs at the veterinarian or in the veterinary clinic are covered. There is also a cat operation insurance that relieves you of this cost risk.

Why should I register my cat?

Basically, a chip and the registration make it easier to find and assign the runaway cat. Therefore, have your cat provided with a chip at the vet. Then the registration takes place, whereby the vet records all relevant data of the cat as well as your contact details. To do this, you can register your cat in the common pet registers such as Tasso or Findex, the pet register of the German Animal Welfare Association. The advantage is that if someone finds your cat, the chip can be read out directly at the vet or in the animal shelter and the missing cat will be assigned to you.

It is important that you keep calm yourself. Most cats are found again after a few days. Prepare small deposits of treats where you suspect your cat will be. If necessary, use wildlife cameras so that you can see whether the looter of the depot is your cat or a strange cat. If your cat has just run away and is missing, we keep our fingers crossed that she will be home soon.