The answer to if a kitten will return home:
A kitten will return home if it is above 3 months old. Very young kittens might find it difficult to find their way back home.
An indoor cat will not go very far from home. Your kitten is probably hiding somewhere in the house, or very nearby.
Ask neighbors and friends to help you search.
It can be devastating to realize that your ‘kitten’s lost outside. Sometimes, these naughty furry creatures get curious and want to explore the outer world.
You can wait for your kitten to come back home but if your kitty is still young, it might find it hard to trace its way back.
This article answers the question if a kitten will return home, how you can actively look for and find it.
Kittens under 3 Months Old can Get Lost
You open your door, and your kitten runs out to smell the freedom it always wanted. ‘It’s understandable if you panic after such a situation, but ‘it’s important to know if your kitten will come back home, or if you should go after it.
The probability of a kitten returning home depends on its age. If it is a very young kitten that is still nursing its mother, it probably might not find its way home. You will have to look for it.
As your kitten gets older, it will be smart enough to find its way home. Cats have a very sharp sense of direction.
A missing kitten might return or not, depending on the circumstances surrounding its disappearance. It could be that a certain smell encouraged its exploratory behavior, and it goes out to investigate that smell.
Once outdoors, it may forget how to come back.
Cats have differing behaviors. For others, they may rely on the train left behind of urine and pheromones secreted from their glands to guide them back home.
Others may travel for miles in an attempt to come back home. However, at this point, it is important to mention that if you have not seen your kitten for just a few hours it does necessarily mean it is missing.
It could be caught up wandering in your backyard garden but ‘can’t find its way back.
If your kitten is highly curious it could be in your ‘neighbor’s house. Nevertheless, you ‘don’t want to undermine the urgency of the situation.
2 to 3-month-old kittens are still quite young and could be in danger if missing. ‘That’s why a physical search is important.
Search Nearby Places
If you are certain that your kitten has just escaped in the past few minutes you might catch it before it goes very far. For a feline that rarely goes outside, it will not go so far because it is extremely cautious.
Your little one is probably hiding in the nearby bush or any dark place. You can ask for help from your spouse, or neighbor.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when searching for your furry friend:
- Walk delicately because loud footsteps will scare your kitten into deeper hiding.
- Beckon your kitty by calling it softly. Have some treats with you.
- Once you spot your kitten grab it slowly and take it back inside the house.
- Ask your friend to open the door as you shoo the cat back inside.
Ask for help
The immediate help you can get is from your neighbors. Those who live around you have probably seen your kitten wandering around near your home, and will provide you with valuable information. Inform them that your kitten is missing, and ask them their permission to search their garages.
Inform your local vet and animal rescue center that your kitten is missing, and request them to post this on their website and social media.
Go to public places such as the gym and bars to request them if they can put up a poster of your missing kitten.
What to do if Your Kitten is Missing for Days
If your kitten has been missing overnight it might be still around the vicinity, but not right next to your house. Try walking a few meters away from your compound while calling its name. Chances are it will ignore you even though it can hear you because it is probably scared.
You can carry with you enticing food such as warm tuna, and place it outside your house. Stay away from the plate and observe but ‘don’t go too far.
Your little one is probably very hungry and the smell will make it come near its food bowl. If it comes, ‘don’t rush to hold it. Give it time to taste a few bites then grab it slowly and take it inside the house.
Things might be a bit more complicated if your kitty is missing for days. As a curious kitty, it might be several hundred yards away. You can print out a few flyers written “”missing”” with your ‘kitten’s picture, and put these on conspicuous locations.
You can also leave your contact information, or ask people to take the missing cat to a nearby shelter if they find it.
The most important thing is not to waste time. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and head out to find your pet friend. ‘Don’t panic. Be calm and think of possible areas your kitten might be tempted to go to.
Search on tree branches or bushes. If your kitten is injured or stressed, it might not respond to your call.
Your Kitten Could be hiding inside the House
Before you assume your kitten is missing, search thoroughly indoors. Kittens are notorious for hiding in small places inside the house. Use a flashlight to check the garage, porch, and cupboards.
There is a chance that your kitten could be closer than you think. Check inside your washing machine, and in warm places such as under the bed or in wardrobes, since kittens like to sleep in a warm place.
If you have just adopted your kitten it might be scared of its new environment. Most cat owners admit that when their kitten had only just moved in, it used to like hiding in some corner of the house. Sometimes even calling its name bears no fruit.
Kittens Usually Hide and Don’t Go Far
It’s quite common for a kitten who has been in a household to leave the home and get lost.
Often it’s not caused by the owner of the kitten, but someone visiting, such as a tradesperson or maid. The kitten’s owner has told them not to leave a door open, but it happens due to a communication error or a mistake.
The kitten is often missing for 24 hours or even a day and a half; at this point, the household starts to get even more worried and get less hopeful that they will find it again.
They presume the kitten is now a long way from home.
However after a day and a half, they or friends hear a small squeaking noise from under somewhere close to the home, such as the decking in the neighbor’s yard.
The challenge can be getting the kitten back as it has not yet fully bonded with the owner.
The kitten had gotten excited by freedom and what was outside, but then not known what to do and how to survive.
So it goes to show that usually, small kittens hide as they are scared and won’t go far.
How to Stop the Problem From Happening Again
Your Kitten Should Wear a Collar and a Tag
The odds of your kitten returning home without intervention are improved if it is micro chipped, and wears a collar and a tag. A collar with an identification tag makes it easy for a cat to be brought back to you should it get lost.
Your kitten can escape because of its desire to explore the outside world, and it might not realize how far it gets from your house.
If a concerned neighbor or the animal shelter finds your kitten, and it has a collar and identification, it will be brought back to you.
Putting your cat’s name on the tag is not necessary. Remember, people need to know how to find you, and the cats’ name won’t help that much. Important information to include on the tag are:
- Two phone numbers.
- Your name.
The tags are inexpensive starting at $10.
A missing cat that finds itself in an unfamiliar situation will often act like a feral cat. It’s scared and views anyone coming near as a threat. When someone finds it with a collar and tag, they will know it belongs to you, and know how to alert you.
Break-away or quick-release cat collars are the safest options. In case of an emergency where the collar is caught on something, it will quickly detach itself and your kitten will not be trapped. This also ensures your kitten is safe at all times as it plays and explores.
Introduce a Collar to your Cat Slowly
A collar is something new to your little one, and it is normal for your furry friend to resist wearing it.
Here are some tips to introduce a collar to your cat slowly:
- Place the collar on your cat for at least 10 minutes, then remove it.
- Reward your kitten with a treat, or play with it after you remove the collar.
- Replace and remove its collar several times throughout the day while supervising it. Your cat will eventually be comfortable wearing it.
How to Prevent Your Kitten from Escaping
While you cannot control your kitten’s impulses, you can reduce its chances of escaping outside. These steps will ensure you have a happy indoor feline:
1. Provide it with a happy home
Your kitten enjoys staying in your home when it feels loved, happy and comfortable. Ensuring your home is peaceful and secure is an important step towards helping your little one love your place.
Give it a warm place to rest, fill its food and water bowls, and clean its litter tray. Play with it using its favorite toys as environmental enrichment to reduce boredom. A cat living in a positive environment is less likely to escape.
2. Care and attention
Spend time playing and bonding with your kitten. It is probably missing the affection it got from its mother, and it is your job to fill that void. Play with it, hold it, pet it, and give it some gentle belly rubs.
Early bonding helps your kitten get used to your scent. This helps in case it is lost; it will smell you from afar if you come looking for it.
3. Positive reinforcement
There is no harm in letting your kitten investigate a little space outside, as long as you supervise it. Wherever your kitten returns inside the house, offer it a treat or pet it. Doing this often will help your kitten associate coming back to the house with positive things.