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How to Keep an Outdoor Cat From Running Away (5 Tips)

cat lying

Some cat parents choose to let their animals roam free. When neutered or spayed and properly outfitted with a micro-chip and flea/tick medication, outdoor cats can lead a fulfilling life exploring the neighborhood and then returning home for a delicious meal and snooze on the couch.

But what happens if your outdoor cat runs away? Whether you’ve recently moved to a new area and your pet gets lost or she simply ventures out to investigate uncharted territory, a runaway cat can be a danger to herself and a stressful situation for you.

Here are five proven tips to keep your outdoor cat staying put.


5 Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Cat From Running Away:

1. Get Them Acclimated

Image Credit By: Jenny Margarette, Shutterstock

If you’ve moved to a new home, your outside cat needs to get accustomed to her new surroundings before you set her loose. Keep her inside for a few days to help your kitty feel calm and confident in her new environment. Let her explore the garage, porch, and other enclosed areas.

Getting your cat acquainted with her new home will decrease the likelihood of her running off.

2. Daily Feeding Schedule

Cat eating outside
Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

Keep your outdoor cat on a regular feeding schedule. While she may enjoy hunting down her own prey, a predictable meal schedule will keep your cat always coming back home. Most outdoor cats will come home when they know it’s supper time. Try calling your pet’s name or ringing a bell each day before dinner so she knows it’s time to be fed.

3. A Safe Shelter

Cat in the garden
Image Credit: Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay

If your cat is strictly an outside pet, you must provide her with an outdoor shelter to protect her from bad weather. Cats without shelters will seek safety elsewhere. Set up a small dog house in your backyard with bedding, a water and food bowl, and your kitty’s favorite toys. You can also install a cat door into your garage or shed so your pet can come and go as she pleases.

4. Keep It Quiet

cat sleeping in a box
Image Credit: Michael Dahmen, Pixabay

Cats can get spooked easily. Car alarms, fireworks, gunshots, and other loud noises will surely make your cat head for the hills. Limit loud noises in and around your house to keep your outdoor cat feeling secure. If the loud noises are unavoidable, keep your cat inside until things quiet down again.

5. Get a Playmate

feral cats resting outdoor
Image Credit: Dimitris Vetsikas, Pixabay

Cats are social creatures and live in large groups in the wild. If you have only one cat, consider getting her a friend. They’ll stick together and stay closer to home.


Why is My Outdoor Cat Running Away?

Outside cats may runoff for several reasons, including:

  • Curiosity
  • Looking for a mate (if not fixed)
  • To escape risk
  • As a reaction to stress, such as a recent move

If your pet does not return home, it could be because of death, abduction, or she has just lost her way.



Letting your cat explore the outside world is a luxury for her and a responsibility for you. Always get your cat spayed/neutered, on a preventative flea/tick treatment program, and micro-chipped before you let her roam free. To keep her returning home, provide her with a routine feeding schedule, a safe shelter, and even another feline friend.

SEE ALSO: 10 Tips for Making Your Cat Love You

Featured Image Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock

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