Why do cats go missing for days? Has your cat ever disappeared for a while, and you completely freaked out? You are not alone.

Cats go missing for days or weeks because they are in heat. They follow the scent of another cat, go out hunting and lose the way back, or go out playing, losing the sense of where they are. They do not realize they have gone too far and do not know how to go back, or your cat is following a food trail to another house where he is fed, or he went out, and he is trapped somewhere, or your cat was chased by another animal and has gone too far.

Let’s dive into it.

Why do cats go missing for days?


It is devastating when your cat is going missing for days; one has to think the worse, how know if he will make his way back home? If he will find food, or if other people will not be mean and hurt your cat? Cats are pretty smart and can run. However, there are many dangers a cat may not know how to avoid in a city.

Some cats want to go out and are good at coming back every day. Some others are mainly indoor cats and not used to go out. In both cases, cats can go missing for days and weeks.

So, why do cats go missing for days and weeks?


This is the primary reason cats are running away and disappearing; if you have noticed, your cat starts meowing when he wants to go out. Have you tried opening the door? I had done it a few times when my cat demanded to go out when he was in heat. He suddenly split in the courtyard of our apartment and forced me to run behind him before going under a car, which would make it hard for me to catch him.

So red alarm for cats in heat, they may see a cat lady and run behind her and chase her for days, not sure they will get the product, but they still do. Sometimes in those runaways, they will go far, and sometimes they will not find the way home.


Some cats are used to go out and hunt and then come back to the house, be there for a while and then go back in and out. My cats do not do that. I am not sure I can have a cat that is like that. I would die every moment the cat is out.

However, this cat, a girl, used to go out from a cat door in one of the windows, would walk free in the house’s surroundings. Fortunately, my friend used to live in a gated community, so only people who lived there would go in and out with cars. She could still get out of the community and run away and never come back.

However, she would not run away; she was totally used to come in and out, get out, and come back after a day or two. Sometimes she could come back at night to sleep with the owner. She was so used to the surrounding that I would say that it was difficult for this cat to get hurt. When she was not at home, she would hunt birds and other small animals around the house; my friend told me she was a fantastic hunter.

They had no litter box. She would do her businesses outside. If you have a cat like that, then it is not a real problem for her to go missing from time to time. I guess she will get back home.


Like for humans, even cats can get lost. If they got too far for a reason or another, they might not sense how to get back. True, there are stories of cats that managed to find their owner walking from a state to another and for miles and miles, but not all cats are like this. Therefore they can get lost.

My cat would be one of this cats that can’t get back if he goes too far; maybe I am a bit negative, but once he went a floor down in the apartment complex staircase and he stopped there in the middle of the stairs, not sure if he was supposed to go up and down, meowing like crazy. I picked him up and brought back home. I am not sure he would have made it back from just a few meters from the apartment. Weird? Yes, my cat is weird.

From the other side, my father’s cat has escaped multiple times and returned to the doorstep after 2 or 3 days, sometimes a week, slim and hungry. My father looked for him around the house and could not find him many times when he thought he was lost. He came back again.

I take this: it really depends on the cat’s ability if he can get back home once he is lost or gone too far away.


Once they get out of the house, dangerous things can happen, other people can take them, maybe they meet a dog or another cat that is not so friendly, and they may be running for their lives. If that happens, they may have to stay away until there is no danger anymore.


Maybe some cats find another family that feeds them and is nice to them; if that is the case, they may go live with them for a while and come back to you only from time to time. If a cat uses to go out, it may be a great idea to place a collar on them where a phone number and address can be written.

Normally I’m not particularly eager to put collars on my cats. Still, if they go out and have a collar, other people know that it is a cat belonging to someone and can be less cruel or deter to harm the cat. If your cat visits another household, at least they know it is someone else’s cat and can let you know that your cat is there and what he is doing.

Why do cats go missing for days and weeks? The above summarizes all possible reasons; when a cat goes out, it is difficult to know what has happened to them, they can get into any troubles; after all, they are cats, and they love to get in trouble.

Cats are curious, and this may lead them into bad situations. I do not let my cats out. I am in the city and do not have a garden or so that they can use. I do have a balcony, and they spend some time there.

Some cats are used to come and go, and if this is the case, those types of cats know how to get out of bad situations and how to get out of trouble. You are the one who knows your cat best, and thus you know if it is the case to let him out or not.


Here some related questions to “Why do cats go missing for days?” and related answers:

  • How far do cats roam from their house?

There have been different views on these questions. Some people say 200 to 400 meters. However, National Geographic was able to track cats and has seen that they can go as far as one kilometer and maybe two.

You could eventually do the same with your cat and attempt to track him with a GPS or a camera. You can see the world with his eyes.

  • Can cats find their way home from miles away?

Some cats do. Some cats are incredible and can walk a long distance to find their owners. Some other cats can get lost instead. Cats are different and have different personalities; some are smart than others. A cat can find his way home from very far away.

  • Do cats remember where they live?

I can say that they do, based on the experience gained with my father’s cat. He would run out and come back at the doorstep after a week waiting for someone to open the door. My father would go out to search for him and calling him without being able to find him. When he thought he was lost for good, he finds him waiting at the doorstep.

My father lives in an apartment complex, so he managed to get in from the complex’s external door, which is usually closed. Therefore he managed to sneak in when another person came in. So he remembered where he lives and found the way to get in front of the door.

  • What are the chances of finding your lost cat?

I would say that the chances of finding a lost cat are directly proportional to how soon you start the search. The fastest you find out your cat is missing, and the fastest you search for him, the higher the chances for you to find him.

If you start almost immediately to search for him, chances are your cat is not far. It doesn’t mean that your cat will not also be found later, but that you have more chances to find him.

  • What to do when your cat comes home after being missing?

It is important to check him up to see if he is scratched or has bite signs on him, watches him see if he is sick. Normally they are hungry, so the first thing would be to give him food and a lot of love. If he is dirty, it should be cleaned, otherwise, let him be and watch him.

If it is needed, you can bring him to the vet for a visit. However, the chances are that your cat was already vaccinated. Pay attention to avoid new situations for your cat to get lost again.

  • Why do cats go missing when they die?

Cats prefer to be alone; they do not feel good and want someplace where they are not disturbed. It is a bit like humans; when you are not well, you are less likely to want to be with people.


Why do cats go missing for days and weeks? It is devastating if you are a cat owner, and your cat decides to run away. It can happen and if your cat is one of those runners, try to use collars with your phone number and address and even a tracker. In this way, you can find him when it happens. If you have any questions or want to add something, leave it in the comments below.


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