How Far Can Cats Travel When Lost?

Sometimes your cat can unfortunately go missing and it can be a very stressful thing to deal with because you may never see them again if they can’t find there way home. Well fortunately its not always the case. Up to 74% of cats that are lost usually end up finding there way back home but it can take a lot of time. If your cat is gone for a few hours I would be patient and wait it out but if they are gone for more than 24 hours then they are probably lost and you should try to find them if you can.

How Far Can Cats Smell Their Home Or Its Owner?

Based on little scientific research what is known is that cats can smell up to 4 miles away so if they are at a distance anything beyond that they aren’t going to smell you or their home. Cats however have a natural homing instinct which can lead them back to their home again so this doesn’t matter anyway but this is weaker or stronger depending on the cat. Its not known how cats do this but it is said that magnetic geolocation (an internal compass) could be a possible explanation.

Cats do this by the work of their ears. This ability has also been found in deer and pigeons as well. Every place on earth has it own unique magnetic signature and humans need a compass to detect these signatures but in animals like cats they can do this with there minds and bodies. Animals like cats are said to possess certain magnetic compounds such as magnetite and maghemite that are connected to their central nervous system which gives them the ability to do this.

There was a study done in 1954 where cats were put into a circular maze and most of the cats were able to find there way back home but they could not do this if they were wearing magnets. This is strong evidence that magnetic geolocation, very good memory, recall skills and other heightened senses were involved. Cats have very good smell and very good hearing which is also a contributing factor to leading them home.

How Far Away Can A Cat Find Its Way Home?

Based on studies it has been said that a cat can find its way home up to 200 miles away. Other than their homing abilities cats will try to do this by the scent of urine, pheromones but sometimes this doesn’t always work and go in the wrong direction. According to PetMD “Yes, cats can return home many days, weeks, months, and even years after they wandered off or were lost. According to the Lost Pet Research project, there were reports of cats traveling 50-80 miles in 2.5 years, 38 miles in 6 months, 30 miles in 10 days, and 20 miles in 21 days.”

Why Do Cats Run Away When You Open The Door?

Cats are natural predators so they have this instinct to want to kill things and they also have a strong need to reproduce. Cats though they are given food they still have hunting instincts and it makes them want to satisfy them by going outside in the real world. They also have territorial instincts as well. This is why they may urinate around the house and its no different for them outside.

Why Do Cats Run Away From Home?

Cats will do this for several reasons. They rarely run away but what usually happens is they get distracted or they got into some mishap. Some of these include: 

1: Finding a mate if they were not neutered
2: Defending their territory
3: Hunting – Sometimes your cat might be hunting a mouse or a bird and they might have lost there way home as a result.
4: Disruptive home – If you have something really loud going on at your house such as renovation your cat might leave temporarily to get away from all the noise.
5: Disease or Illness – when cats get sick they want to be alone as this makes them feel more secure and safe.
6: Finding food – If your neighbors are feeding your cat or you are not feeding your cat yourself they may leave to go find their own food or the food that is given to them
7: Giving birth – Cats want to feel safe when they are giving birth so they may go into hiding as a result.
8: Neglect or abandonment – If you always leave your cat home alone or you don’t feed your cat at all they will go find their own food and water to survive.
9: General curiosity – Sometimes your cat gets curious about something and they will end up getting lost as a result.