Cats are very loving and affectionate animals that are great to have around, and also, that can allow the owner more independence than having a dog because cats tend to be perfectly good at entertaining themselves when you are at work or otherwise away from home for a few hours.
However, cats can also be fairly mercenary when it comes to getting their needs met or serving their own personal preferences, and many cats like to “go visiting” other homes, to eat their cat food, explore, or get some attention! While this can be a problem if the target of your cat’s attentions doesn’t want your cat visiting, if they don’t mind and even actively welcome your cat’s visits, you might soon find that you see less and less of them!
For many cat owners, this is ok as long as they know where the cat goes and that the other party doesn’t mind – which can make identifying and communicating with the people that your cat likes to visit a good start in terms of knowing what is going on. But if your cat never or rarely seems to come home, and appears to be in effect moving in with someone else, this may be something you wish to put a stop to – which is not always as simple as it sounds!
In this article, we will share some tips and advice on how to coax your cat home if they appear to be spending a lot of time in another person’s house. Read on to learn more.
First of all, knowing where your cat is going is a good way to begin your plans to win them back, so you may need to do a little detective work if you’re not sure.
If your cat comes back in during bad weather but doesn’t seem to have spent much time outside getting cold and wet, they may be returning from someone else’s home, and if your cat doesn’t seem to be eating as much as normal, this may indicate that they are eating elsewhere – or catching their own dinner!
You may even notice that your cat smells like someone else’s home immediately after they come in too – such as the smell of cooking or air freshener, which can all provide clues.
If you’re not sure where your cat goes, one way to approach this is to use a paper strip with adhesive ends as a makeshift collar on your cat for a few days, marking up the “collar” with your phone number and a request for the other party to contact you.
You can of course also ask around with your neighbours and see if any of them know where your cat goes, or if they regularly see them entering another house – although cats do sometimes roam quite far, so your cat’s new friends might be further away than you expected!
Once you have made contact with the other party, it is wise to discuss your concerns with them and find out what your cat does when they visit – you might find that you are happy to let this continue as long as your cat’s new pal keeps in touch.
If you do decide that you would rather this didn’t happen, ask the other party not to feed your cat nor otherwise deliberately encourage them in, and of course, not to allow your cat to remain in their house.
Using a collar on your cat with an identifying tag can help to let others know that your cat has a home and that their starving waif impressions are just an act – but understandably, many cat owners prefer not to use a collar on their cats, due to the safety implications.
However, all cats should be microchipped so that other people can find out for sure if they do have a home if they see your cat around a lot, and also, because in the unlikely event that you get into an ownership dispute with someone else who thinks they have adopted your cat, you will have a better chance of proving ownership.
Even if you provide for all of your cat’s needs and essentially, do everything that you can to make your home inviting for your cat, some cats might simply decide they prefer the conditions elsewhere, and there is not a lot you can do about this!
However, it is worth casting a critical eye over your home to determine if there is anything that might be annoying or upsetting your cat, and making them see pastures new as more appealing.
Think about everything, from whether or not another cat that lives with you doesn’t get on with your own, if the house is too busy or loud, and if your cat’s bed, bowls and other equipment are all set up in the best possible way. It is also important to remember that cats love to be warm, so if your house is cold or you don’t have any heating on when you are out at work, your cat might head for somewhere a little more balmy!
Taking steps such as these are not always successful, but if there is something bothering your cat at home, they might help.
Finally, while cats are fairly independent and are fine being left alone, they do also like the company of humans, and should not be considered to be self-sufficient. Try to make sure that you spend enough time with your cat, and that when you are home with them, you give them plenty of love and one-to-one attention.