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What makes cats visit other people’s houses?
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What makes cats visit other people’s houses?

Cats
General
Pet Psychology

Cats can be quite enigmatic pets that seem to view it as a point of pride to keep us guessing about what they’re thinking and feeling, and there are a whole host of normal cat behaviours that can be hard for us as owners to understand.

Cats form strong bonds with their owners and actively seek out their company for love and attention, and they also tend to be very territorial about their home and immediate surroundings, being quick to see off other cats that might try to cross it. However, a reasonable number of cats also tend to roam and visit other people’s houses, and if they’re welcomed by the neighbours or not actively chased off, they might begin to make house calls on other people regularly, or even see a neighbour’s place as their second home.

This is really common, as many cat owners will know from the presence of a regular visitor, or if their own cat seems to have a specific favourite home to visit nearby. If you are wondering what makes cats visit other people’s houses, you may never get a firm answer to your question because your cat can’t talk! However, there are a number of things that can cause or encourage a cat to visit other people (whether you are bothered by this or not) which we will look at within this article. Read on to learn more.

Too many cats

If you have a multi-cat household, ensuring that all of your cats get on well, are comfortable with each other and are not in competition for resources can be a challenge. Whilst cats can and do form strong bonds with others, too many cats (even if “too many” is just “more than one”) can stress out some of the cats, and make them feel uncomfortable or overlooked at home.

This is particularly likely to be the case if you recently got a new cat or kitten, or moved to a new area where there are new, strange cats in the vicinity.

Cats outside of the home that visit your cat’s garden might also upset or even bully your own cat, which might cause them to seek alternative resting spots.

Stress or anxiety

Anything that causes stress or anxiety to your cat will increase the chances of them looking for a new venue to chill out in, and cats are actually quite sensitive to stress and change of all types. If your home is too noisy, busy, or otherwise serves to unsettle your cat, they might start spending time elsewhere.

Again, a recent house move can cause stress in a previously relaxed cat, as can other changes within the home or local area, or the behaviour of other pets or people that your cat lives with or comes into contact with regularly.

Food

Cats can be quite finnicky eaters, but they also tend to like to try new things and the presence of another cat’s food bowl is something of a jackpot find for an opportunistic scavenging cat.

If your cat is visiting someone with their own pets, the food bowl is likely to be their first port of call, and if your cat likes what is on the menu and manages to eat it in peace, they will probably keep popping back for more!

This can of course cause problems for the cat and owner of the home that your own cat is visiting, which means that your cat might well be turfed out in short order – but if this doesn’t happen, your cat is more than likely to keep trying their luck.

Pleasant company

There are few things more flattering to a cat lover than making friends with a new cat that enjoys their company and seeks them out, and if your cat gets a warm welcome when they go visiting someone, they will of course be more likely to stay, or keep going back.

If you aren’t sure where your cat is going, try putting a paper collar on them showing your phone number and a request to call, as a chat with your cat’s other friend might help you to understand why your cat keeps visiting them.

Socialisation

Cats are not social in the way that dogs are, and will often fight over territory. However, some cats – particularly juveniles – are more social than others, and might even actively seek out the company of other cats, or not be bothered by them.

If your cat has made a new cat friend or a cat in another home tolerates your cat’s visits, they might return to the same place when they’re out and about as part of their social activities!

Warmth and texture

Your cat might have found something they really like in the home that they are visiting – like uninterrupted access to the warmest spot in the house, a lovely snuggly sofa throw, or a high-up hiding place to watch the world go by.

Working out what it is that your cat likes so much and replicating it in your own home means tracking down your cat’s calling patterns, which the paper collar mentioned above can help with.

Cat-friendly neighbours

If your neighbours are very cat friendly in general or if you have previously lived in a place that was, your cat might not make the distinction between the end of their own territory within your home and garden, and other people’s homes.

This can result in a cat that visits other gardens or goes into other people’s homes commonly, which can be a problem if you don’t know where your cat is, how cat-friendly their hosts are, or if they might run into danger with a canine resident of a certain house.

If you would rather you cat didn’t visit neighbours, talk to them about it and ask them to shoo your cat out, or to let you know when they are there so that you can collect them.

Remember to microchip your cat too so that they can be reunited with you if lost, and so that anyone your cat visits can find out that they are owned and not a stray.

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