How To Keep Your Cat From Getting Lost
To avoid the danger of getting lost, you should take some steps to keep your cat safe.
First, you should keep your cat indoors and teach all family members to pay attention and not leave doors and windows open as escape routes.
All cats, even indoor cats, should be microchipped and wear a collar with identification tags. Make sure the collar is safe for cats, such as a breakaway collar that will snap open if it snags on something. Make sure your cats microchip is registered and that you keep your contact information current.
Many cats become lost when they move to a new house with their family. If your cat normally spends time outside, wait at least a month after you move before letting them outside to ensure they reorient themselves to their new home base.
How Can Cats Find Their Way Home If Lost
Can cats find their way home if they are lost?
I have heard many stories of cats that wound up back at an old address after a family moved, and I regularly counsel clients to keep their cat indoors for at least a month after moving to ensure that the cat does not try to go back to the old home. A cats ability to find their way home mystifies their families, veterinarians and scientists alike. How do they do that?
As far as we can tell, cats have a homing instinct, which means that they can perceive direction using something beyond the five ordinary senses of taste, smell, sight, touch and hearing. Dolphins, geese and other migratory birds use visual cues homing pigeons find their way by using low frequency sound waves salmon imprint upon magnetic fields and also use scent cues and wildebeest follow the smell of rain. But what about cat senses?
Animal behaviorists know that while both cats and dogs bond to humans, cats also bond strongly to home locations, marking their territory by urine spraying or bunting scent glands that are located under their chin. But how a cats homing instinct works over many miles is still a mystery to science. While anecdotal stories abound, when it comes to research on the homing instinct of cats, there just isnt much out therein fact, only two published studies exist.
How Do Cats Find Their Way Home Over A Long Distance
Ever wondered, how do cats find their way home over a long distance?
Im sure, like me, youve heard some of the stories over the years about cats finding their way back home over hundreds of miles.
Do cats have some kind of homing instinct? Is it a supernatural power that we cant understand?
Scientists want to know these answers too. There have actually been some studies and experiments in cats remarkable ability to return home.
Heres some interesting insight into this phenomenon:
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How Far He Travels
In 2011, researchers at the University of Illinois Extension school conducted a study to see exactly how far cats roam away from home. Cats were tagged with a tracking device and lived in central Illinois. Both human-owned kitties and feral cats were tracked during the two-year study. As expected, the furballs with homes didnt go quite as far as the feral felines. On average, adopted kitties scoured an area of roughly 4.9 acres during their prowling sessions. This means that if you have a house on a half-acre lot and all of the houses in your neighborhood sit on the same amount of land, your mischievous buddy explores a radius of as far as your neighbors yard four or five houses down the street. He still makes it back home safely for dinner every night.
Sense Of Smell And Memory
Simplistic reasons are also quoted i.e. amazingly sharp and everlasting Sense of Smell of cats is said to be the reason.
Sound memorycomplements it. So, if Sense of Smell is the reason, then what would be theperfect example when a cats get strayed and uses her sense of smell andbrilliant memory to locate the destination?
A scenario could be: as it is very common that cats often try to visit their previous homes, especially when it has just been a while that they have shifted.
So, shemight be spending her time near that old house after escaping yourcaptivity. She could be enjoying her oldterritories.
She must befamiliar with the smells of roads, parks, meat shops etc. Nevertheless, she has a sense of smell asmuch as 14 times sharper than that of humans.
When shedecides to get back , these smells aid her, and she isintelligent enough to take leads.
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Take Your Cat To See The Vet
A full medical checkup of your pet before the relocation trip takes place is a must-do pre-move task that you must not skip. Your cat should be in good health before you embark on the relocation adventure, so make sure you take them to the vets office. If you notice that your furry friend is easily frightened or excessively nervous about the upcoming move, discuss with the veterinarian whether specialized anti-anxiety medication for your cat will make the actual relocation trip easier for everyone. While at the vets office, request copies of your pets medical records or any other documents you may need during or after the residential move.
Launching A Missing Cat Alert
If a cat breaks its routine, it is important to report it. Notify your vet that your cat has gone missing, they will be on the lookout if someone brings a cat that might look like yours. Be sure to microchip your cat beforehand and update their data regularly. You can also let yourlocal animal wardenknow that your cat has gone missing.
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Why Do Cats Escape
Although cats do not have built in Google Maps, they are highly intelligent and sensitive animals. They have privileged instincts and environmental stimuli can both capture their attention and awaken their curiosity. This is why, despite having a comfortable home life indoors, the outdoor environment can seem to provide a lot of entertainment and distraction.
The attraction of outside may be found in a potential mate, prey animals, beguiling smells or whatever piques their interest. This is why many cats try to escape. A cat running away may be trying to exercise their hunting skills, mate or simply to indulge their natural curiosity.
In general, cats which have not yet been sterilized have a greater predisposition towards escape. Satisfying their sexual desire can be a great temptation as they want to reproduce. For this reason, sterilization for cats is recommended. It will not only curb this desire and prevent unwanted pregnancy, but it will reduce the likelihood of developing behavioral issues, help prevent disease, reduce aggression and stop accidents which occur from escape attempts. In fact, one study suggests that sterilization can eliminate escapism and roaming behavior related to sexual desire in 90% of cases.
How Does A Cat Find Its Way Home
Aspart of research to understandlost cat behavior, some animal behavior experts have done experiments to find out can a cat findstheir way home and if so, how theyre able to do so.
· In the 1920s, Professor Frances Herrick published TheHoming Powers of the Cat, based on his observations of how a mother cat managedto return to her kittens after being separated. The study attempted to find out how far away can a cat findits way home to its family. Themother was able to successfully return to her litter for a total of seventimes, even across distances of one to four miles.
· In the 1950s, a group of German researchers experimented byputting cats in a large maze that opened up to different exits. The researchshowed that cats came out of exits that are closest to where they actuallylive.
Can a cat find its way back home? Based onscientific evidence, we can establish that yes, cats do have a way of findingtheir own way home either with their sense of smell, or through much morecomplicated mechanisms such a magnetic geolocation, as theorized by someresearchers.
Homing instincts are definitely planted inthe DNA of felines, which are territorial creatures. Cats are known to marktheir territories with urine spraying or bunting scent glands, helping themestablish olfactory cues that guide them when theyre displaced in unfamiliarterritory.
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How Developed Is Cat Sense Of Direction Really
Cats are gifted with powerful senses. Eyes and ears are not the only organs through which a cat experiences the world. Your cats fur and paws are responsible for gathering information from the environment and quickly passing it on to your cats brain for processing.
Also, cats possess:
- Well developed sense of smell
- Acute hearing
- Precise vision
Although cats are very skilled animals, their wanderings may expose them to a series of hazards. As an example, outdoor cats are more easily exposed to contagious viruses such as feline leukemia.
Good to know: Whereas indoor cats can live up to 20 years, outdoor cats lifespan is on average between 2 and 11 years.
- Cold weather
- fights with other cats and
- people who dislike felines
could turn your cats wanderings into some very dangerous escapades. Dont worry!
How Do We Know That Cats Find Their Way Home
Besides word-of-mouth tales of cats finding their way home, two actual scientific studies confirmed this ability.
The original study, published in 1922, tested the ability of a mother cat to find her way back to her kittens. The author of the study discovered that the mother found her way back to her babies seven separate times over distances from 1-4 miles away.
Another study, from 1954, involved German scientists who tested cats abilities to find their way through a maze to their original location. The majority of the cats successfully found their way back to the correct spot.
Surprisingly, not much research has been conducted on this topic in the last half-century.
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How Far Can A Cat Travel To Find Their Way Home
No one knows the answer to this question, and its not something that is going to be easy to test.
The longest distance I could find was the cat that traveled around 200 miles as I mentioned earlier. Here is a video clip of the news story covering this amazing feat:
Ive heard numerous stories about cats traveling 4, 6, and anything up to 10 miles to make their way back home.
Not just home either, sometimes after someone moves home a cat will make their way back to the old home.
Can Cats Find Their Way Home If Lost
Theres no question about it. Cats are a bit weird.
To call them quirky and unique would be a total understatement. Its as if they have real-life superpowers and abilities when compared to other domesticated animals. But in true cat fashion theyll only use them when its convenient for them.
One of these seemingly unnatural abilities they have is their homing instinct. Cats have an uncanny talent to find their way home. For example, a one-eyed cat named Ginger made its way back home after being lost in a blizzard five miles away!
So, the question is, how can cats find their way home if lost? What about them makes their homing abilities so keen?
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Because They Love You
Cats can sometimes be more subtle in their signs of lovefor some cats love means sitting next to you on the couch or just being in the same room with you. For other cats, it means they are sitting on your lap purring or demanding attention, says Rovers resident cat expert, Dr. Mikel Maria Delgado.
If you and your cat have a special bond, its likely shes genuinely curious about what youre up to and wants to spend time with you. Your feline shadow might have caught on to the fact that the bathroom is a place she can often find you sitting, sometimes with your warm lap exposed! A little invasive, perhaps, but it just means she loves you.
Moving With Cats To A New Home: How Moving Affects Cats
Cats are extremely sensitive creatures of habit who are not great fans of change. Famous for being highly territorial animals, they tend to rub their body scent all over various household objects in an attempt to define and set their boundaries. For pets who are as closely attached to their familiar surroundings as they are to their caring owners, its important to understand that cats can have it pretty rough when a house move takes them out of their comfort zone and throws them into a strange environment , especially if the new house or apartment has residual scents from other cats.
How do cats react to moving?
As oversensitive to ambient changes as that, cats being moved between two homes can have close to a nightmarish moving experience if their fears are not understood completely and their needs not addressed properly. So, if 1) you are a cat owner and 2) you are about to move house, then you should definitely learn how to go about moving your cat to your new home. Pay special attention to our practical advice when moving with cats so that the relocation trip proves to be smooth and stress-free not only for your feline friend, but also for you as their loving master.
After our informative article on How moving affects dogs, now its time to take a closer look at the effects of moving on cats and particularly what to do when moving house with a cat.
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Why Do Cats Leave
Cats go for ambles because of their adventurous nature. It has nothing to do with your pet not liking you or feeling unwell in your home. Cats are independent animals and only became social when in contact with humans. But they have kept their instincts.
Even though a cat can be domesticated, its instinct, like predation, hunting, mating, and defending its territory, is still very much present. A cat likes to go out and leave its territory whenever it can. It is even more likely when your cat has not been neutered.
Can Cats Find Their Way Home When Theyre Lost
This question is one that researchers, animal behaviorists, and veterinarians have been trying to answer for a long time.
Science has shown us that cats are definitely better than many other animals at finding their way home. In 1922, Professor Frances Herrick published a study called âHoming Powers of the Cat.â In that study, Herrick separated a mother cat from her kittens, and found that she was able to find her way back to them seven times from distances that varied from one to four miles.
In 1954, a team of researchers in Germany conducted a similar experiment. They tested a number of cats by placing them, one at a time, in a large maze that had six evenly spaced exits. They found that the cats didnât spend time wandering around the maze, but very quickly located an exit. Whatâs more is that 60 percent of the time, the cats chose an exit that faced in the direction of their home, even if it was miles away.
These experiments confirm what weâve already seen through anecdotal evidence: In a lot of cases, cats seem to have an innate ability to find their way home. But what these studies donât tell us is why cats seem to be able to find their way home so easily if they get lost. Thatâs the part that scientists still arenât sure about, but they do have a lot of theories.
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Stage : Before The Move Or Whats This Fuss All About
Hove you ever marveled at the extraordinarily developed senses of your cat? Cats seem to be constantly scanning the immediate surroundings and respond to even the slightest changes in the ambient conditions, dont they? As if their nine lives and unrivaled gracefulness were not enough, cats are gifted with a number of outstanding qualities that can even be perceived as superpowers: the unique abilities to see in the dark and reflect directed light back to its source, to locate the house spot with the strongest concentration of positive energy and then channel that same energy effectively for achieving mystical healing effects.
One thing is clear: your cat will be the first one to pick up the altered frequency of the pre-move vibes coming from you and the fast-changing settings of your home. Cats are the perfect detection devices and hardly anything can alter its current state without being duly registered by your super-powered pet. The sudden inclusion of worrisome notes in your voice, the surprising appearance of packing supplies and the unwelcoming sight of moving experts in your home will be the very first signs that something big is going on. These intimidating interruptions in your cats set routine will frighten your animal friend and their anxiety level, after an initial sharp spike, will continue to rise. And this is exactly where you should come in and try to calm your furry friends nerves and to show them that theres nothing to worry about.
The Homing Ability Of Cats
Domestic cats are well-known for their ability to find their way back home when lost a behaviour which is known as homing and which is also associated with various other animal species, with pigeons being the most obvious and notable example. However, despite this ability being well-known and scientifically established, it is not especially well understood, due to the relative lack of studies carried out on the subject.
Nevertheless, some studies have demonstrated the extent of the ability quite effectively. The first and most well-known study was carried out by Francis H. Herrick in 1922, and established that cats could quickly orientate themselves and travel in the right direction, even when taken to unfamiliar locations, three miles away from home.
A second study, carried out by H. Precht and E. Lindenlaub in 1954, involved placing cats in sacks and taking them to the centre of a maze. At a distance of 3.1 miles from home, the majority of the cats made their way through the maze and chose the exit that was closest to the direction their home was in. Crucially, this study also found that a cats homing ability increases at lower distances, and decreases as they are taken further from home.
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