LOST CAT BEHAVIOR – What happened to my cat?
Cats are territorial. When an outdoor-access cat suddenly vanishes, it means that something has happened to that cat to interrupt its normal behavior of returning home. The disappearance could mean that the cat is injured, trapped, or deceased within its territory. It could also mean that the cat was transported out of the area – either intentionally (by an neighbor who trapped the cat) or unintentionally (by the cat climbing into a car engine). It could also mean that the cat was displaced into unfamiliar territory – something as simple as being chased by a dog causing the cat to hide under a deck a block from home.
When this happens, the temperament of the cat will influence how it behaves. When displaced into unfamiliar territory, some cats will be so panicked and afraid they will remain in the same hiding place for weeks and they will never return home while others will break cover within hours and return home.
The territory for an indoor-only cat is the inside of the home where it lives. When an indoor-only cat escapes outdoors, it is “displaced” into unfamiliar territory. Usually they will look for the first place that will offer concealment and protection. Their instinctive response is to HIDE IN SILENCE because that is their primary protection from predators. How long they remain in that hiding place and what they do from there is dependent upon their temperament. Using baited humane traps as a recovery tool is a highly effective method for recovering displaced, panicked cats that are hiding.