Where Do Your Cats Go When They Leave Your Home?
Why Do Cats Leave and Come Back?
I can't help but wonder where on Earth my cats go when they head 'through the cat flap'. Quite often, they are gone for days at a time. When they do return, they don't seem to be hungry and seem pretty content with life.
Trusting Their Instinct
Obviously, caring for a curious cat isn't easy, as it is so hard to monitor them full-time. This is why I feel microchips are really important if you don't want to lose your cat altogether. Outdoor cat adventures would be amazing to follow, yet impossible to see without attaching a camera to a pet (which I doubt would stay on long if most cats are anything like mine!)
My Cats' Adventures: A Series of Short Stories
Do you have indoor/outdoor cats? Do they go on day-long adventures, only to return home out of the blue? If so, you may be able to relate to my cats' magnificent adventures:
- Ronnie Goes on the Hunt
- Reggie the Food Thief
- Ronnie Lies in Wait
- Ronnie and Reggie Visit the Pub
- Ronnie and Reggie Take to the Field
- Ronnie and Reggie Take to the Lake
- Georgie Runs Off to Catch Fish
- Squish Brings Us Gifts
- Smudge Steals Toys
- Pixie the Escape Artist
- The Neighbour's Cat
- The Mangy Tortoiseshell
Important Note: If your cat is missing right now, you might find my article called 'How to Find Your Missing Cat' useful.
1. Ronnie Goes on the Hunt
My cat, 'Ronnie', worries me sick every time he vanishes. Yet, when he comes back, he simply has a bit of food and promptly crashes out for a day on our bed before vanishing again. I suspect he has a second home and is worrying both 'owners' every time he goes missing!
On one occasion, Ronnie was missing for several days, and we hunted high and low for him. Whilst dropping my husband off at our fishing lake on the third day, I spotted Ronnie crossing the lane behind me. I spent the next half hour crawling through brambles and undergrowth trying to catch him. All the while he meowed at me pathetically from within the depths of the sharp, spiky bushes I was attempting to retrieve him from.
Eventually, I caught him, placed the protesting moggie into my car, and drove him back to the house. By this time, I was covered in lacerations from both Ronnie and the brambles. The faces of the people I drove past was a picture, as they must have seen me driving with a large black and white cat on my lap, complete with his paws on the steering wheel, protesting loudly at his 'catnapping'. I soon got him home and fed him and locked him in the house. Before the day was up, he was gone again.
2. Reggie the Food Thief
Now, we also have a jet-black cat called 'Reggie', and he is a real character with an appetite that is unbelievable for a slender feline. Quite by chance, one of our neighbours has a cat that is the exact double of Reggie, and neither of us can tell our cats apart.
Some months back, our friend, 'Bartie', was sitting in his lounge when his cat came home and promptly scoffed the entire contents of the cat bowl before settling down on his lap for the evening. Bartie commented to his girlfriend what a huge appetite their cat had lately.
It was only an hour or so later that Bartie went into their bedroom and saw his cat sitting on top of their wardrobe. He quickly realised that this food thief was a mystery cat that had been regularly eating all the cat food, playing along and sitting on their laps. This mystery cat was actually our cat Reggie. To add further insult to injury, Reggie was also eating at least four or five bowls of food a day at home, so how on earth he isn't grossly obese I have no idea.
3. Ronnie and Reggie Visit the Pub
One evening, my husband, Richard, decided to go to the local hotel bar for an evening drink. Having made it three-quarters of the way and now on the coast road, he arrived at the hotel only to realise the two cats were with him. The owner of the hotel invited Richard in, but Richard pointed out that he had the two cats with him. The owner very kindly suggested Richard bring them into the hotel bar with him, and so he did.
Ronnie and Reggie comfortably curled up on one of the padded seats in the bar and proceeded to be petted by all the guests for the next two hours. When Richard went to leave, he simply called the cats and they willingly followed him all the way back home again, stopping at kerbs and waiting for cars to invite them to cross the roads, at which point they followed Richard trustingly over. They all arrived home safely and were none the worse for their adventure.
4. Ronnie Lies in Wait
On another night, Richard went to the pub and Ronnie followed him as far as a nearby derelict greenhouse. Richard ran the rest of the way to the pub to avoid Ronnie following him.
It was some hours later that Richard was walking back home in the dark when he passed the same derelict greenhouse. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Ronnie landed on his shoulder. Clearly, Ronnie had been waiting all that time for Richard to return and hadn't left the site since.
5. Ronnie and Reggie Take to the Field
When Ronnie and Reggie were merely young cats, we walked to one of our local pubs with a couple of friends. It wasn't more than a quarter of a mile before we heard mewing behind us. Shining our torches back down the country lane, we found both the cats had followed us. All four of us tried in vain to catch the cats without success, and eventually, they ran into a field where we were forced to leave them (the cats, not the friends).
Some hours later and back at home, the kitties had still not returned home. By now, we were all getting worried, so my husband went out looking for them. He eventually headed back to the field we had last seen them in, and sure enough, they were both waiting there for one of us to collect them. Once Richard called them, they happily followed him home again.
6. Ronnie and Reggie Take to the Lake
We frequently go up to our fishing lake and find both Ronnie and Reggie sitting on the bench up there watching the scenery, or they choose to land on our shoulders whilst we are sitting and relaxing on the bench—usually scaring the hell out of us in the process. We also get many 'gifts' of dead, semi-alive or very alive rabbits left on our doorstep. The ones we can, we rescue and take to the local animal sanctuary for vet care. Sadly, many never make it, but we do our best.
I suspect it won't be too much longer before young 'Squish' discovers the joys of our fishing lake and starts to explore rabbit hunting as a hobby, too!
7. Georgie Runs Off to Catch Fish
I once had a cat in the UK when I lived in a very built-up area in Bromley in Kent. Surrounded by high-rise flats and main roads, there were not many places you think a cat could hunt. However, my cat 'Georgie' managed to bring a fully grown, dead, grey squirrel home and leave the corpse in our kitchen. Then at a later date, she brought home a 6–7 inch live goldfish that she could only have stolen from a garden pond.
I only realised the fish was still alive when I went to pick it up to dispose of it. When it flipped in my hands, I nearly jumped six feet in the air. Thinking quickly, I placed the fish in a large Tupperware container of water and phoned the local rescue centre.
Before too long, I was driving this rather damaged fish to be treated. Sadly, I was later told it didn't make it due to the severity of the damage my moggie had inflicted. I still don't know where on Earth Georgie caught the poor fish. What was really amazing was that we didn't even have a cat flap. Georgie had jumped up through our lounge window to bring her trophies home.
8. Squish Brings Us Gifts
Our third cat is a five-month-old kitten called 'Squish', and she is a real character. Already, she brings us home 'gifts' such as voles, mice, etc. Introducing a new kitten to our existing cats was by no means easy, but somehow it all came together in the end.
We weren't keen to let Squish out until she was at least six months old, but she had her own ideas. Once she had bullied our existing cats into accepting her (no easy task as they spent the first month hissing at her and swiping at her every time she came near them), she promptly began following her new mentors everywhere, including outside and all over the neighbouring fields. I am guessing they have been 'showing her the ropes', and when she has gone missing for a day at a time, I have searched high and low for her thinking someone must have stolen her.
Squish very quickly convinced our cats that she was a part of the team, and even when they tried to hiss at her or attack her, she would have none of it and really didn't 'take the hint'. Instead, she jumped on them, chased them all over the house, knocked their legs out from under them and generally forced them to love her. In our case, her job was easy, and she soon treated me as her 'mum' and made a point of suckling virtually every jumper I was wearing and slept on my pillow.
Now the three of them—Squish, Reggie and Ronnie—all vanish at once, often not to be seen for the whole day. I would truly love to know where they go or plant a hidden camera on one of them, as I imagine their adventures would be pretty enlightening.
9. Smudge Steals Toys
In Tenerife, I had a Siamese cat called 'Smudge'. He was a darling, but I really wonder where on Earth he went each time he left the apartment I lived in with my friend 'Bard of Ely'.
Smudge went through a truly crazy phase of bringing home Barbie-type dolls with no clothes on, and at one point, even brought home a 'My Little Pony' toy. He would play with these for hours, yet neither of us had any idea where these dolls had been stolen from. We just had visions of some poor child looking everywhere for their missing dolls.
Sadly, on the day I left Tenerife and was returning to Guernsey, Steve (Bard) was going to adopt both of my Tenerife cats, but Smudge was found dead on the same day. We were both really upset as he was such a character, but happily, Steve still has my former cat 'Tiggy' living with him in Tenerife to this day several years later.
10. Pixie the Escape Artist
Many years ago, my family had a big cat called 'Pixie'. He was fabulous and more like a small dog than a cat. He actually looked virtually identical to 'Ronnie', my current cat featured at the beginning of this article.
Pixie managed to escape outside of our vet's hospital one day following a routine vaccination. The vet's clinic was a good few miles (or a 20-minute car ride) from where we lived, so needless to say, we were worried sick about him having hunted high and low without success.
After three days of being missing and having only ever been taken to the vets in an enclosed cardboard box, Pixie turned up back at our house on top of the pig styes in our garden. To this day, we have no idea of how he found his way home, and what's more, he wasn't even hungry, just pleased to see us.
This same cat would happily travel in the car with my mum and step-dad down to their boat and sail all over the English Channel between Guernsey, Jersey, etc. asleep on the bunks down below. Once he returned to land, he would sit contentedly in the car for the journey back home again. His antics were so impressive that my stepfather (a retired fire chief) nicknamed him 'Black Dog'. This cat later became a character in one of the novels he has written since his retirement (Rough Sea Justice by James Cassaday).
11. The Neighbour's Cat
Neighbours of ours adopted a cat that simply 'moved in with them'. The reason being that the children of the former owners used to chase the cat unmercifully and even cut off her whiskers on one occasion (which as you know is an essential tool for a cat if it isn't to get trapped in tight spaces).
Having had enough, she found the people who lived opposite of them far more 'cat-friendly', and even the new children were good with animals. She now lives with them full-time and runs a mile if she sees her former owners, even though they have tried putting food out to tempt her back.
This same cat turned up on our doorstep one night even before she 'moved house'. She had an empty can of cat food wedged on her head and was soaking wet from the downpour of rain we had experienced that evening. I quickly brought her indoors and removed the offending can, and then gently dried her off with a towel. She quickly left and we saw her around for some weeks before she changed owners.
The former owners really didn't seem too bothered about her at all, and even when we told them that we had heard a cat similar to theirs had been run over on the nearby road . . . the woman simply shrugged her shoulders and said, 'Well I haven't seen her today'. We were quite shocked and really couldn't get our heads around the lack of concern she showed.
It was no surprise to find out a few weeks later the cat had moved to the neighbour's house, and we quickly ended up adopting one from her next litter of kittens (Squish). Being responsible owners, they then got her spayed, and she is still happily living around the corner from us today.
Following my advice, the new owners got her microchipped to avoid the former owners laying claim to her, which would have been terrible for the cat's future. Clearly, she knew where to go once outside of her original home!
12. The Mangy Tortoiseshell
Some months back, we found a very mangy looking tortoiseshell cat up at our fishing lake. Feeling sorry for this bedraggled, weak, little kitty, we brought her home and placed her on a blanket in front of our heater along with food and water. Our other cats didn't bat an eyelid and immediately accepted her.
I sent my husband, Richard, on a tour of the neighbourhood asking if anyone had lost a cat. I even phoned up local rescue centres to see if one had been reported missing. It turned out that the cat did live locally and had hunted around our lake for years, often going missing for weeks at a time. She was now over 16 years old and a bit senile, hence she got lost up at the lake. We quickly returned her to her owners who were clearly great animal lovers, and they said she often does this, but usually turns up on her own. Apparently, some habits do die hard!
Share Your Story
Our cats clearly live amazing lives full of adventure and mysteries we can only guess at for the most part, but truth be told, we love them to death and would not be without them.
I would love to hear where you think your cats go when they are out playing, or if you have found out their secret, please share below.