Last Updated: 4 weeks ago

Are you wondering about the odds of your indoor cat surviving and returning if she gets out?

A friend recently asked me, “If an indoor cat gets out, what are the odds it will survive and come back?” and it got me thinking about it.

I know how you feel when your cat is missing and how the worst possible scenarios run in your head.

So, today we’re talking about the chances of a lost cat returning home safe and sound.

If an indoor cat gets out, what are the odds it will survive and come back?

Cats are notorious escape artists and tend to dash through doors when you least expect them to.

In addition to this, they sneak through open windows or make a run for freedom in the worst possible moment.

Despite taking measures to prevent escape attempts, an indoor cat might still get out of the house.

The question is if your furbaby would be able to find her way back.

Can an indoor cat survive outside?

blue-eyed white cat climbing a tree

People often think that cats have nine lives.

While they are truly remarkable and resistant creatures, indoor-only cats behave differently than outdoor ones when they get lost.

Unlike outdoor cats, indoor ones freak out when they find themselves in unfamiliar territory.

Even if the house is a few steps back, most indoor cats are so panicked that they can’t orientate. Instead of returning to the safety of their home, they run.

Unfortunately, once outside the comforts of her home, anything could happen to a cat.

Stray dogs, car traffic, and predators are but a few of the dangers a lost cat might stumble upon on the street.

In addition to this, cats used to human presence often seek a person’s company and attention.

Sadly, not all people like cats and some will not hesitate to kick, strike, or maim a cat.

Don’t get me wrong or assume that your indoor cat is doomed outside. Cats are smart creatures, and they learn where to find food, water, and shelter.

Not to mention that many people look after stray animals and might take your cat in.

Will an indoor cat come back home?

As strange as it sounds, most indoor cats do not go far when they get out of the house. Usually, they are so scared that they hide in the first available place.

In their panic, they might climb a tall tree or sneak through an open door only to get trapped.

In addition to this, scared cats don’t meow. They are so afraid by the noise and the commotion of the outside world that they hide in silence.

That’s why you can pass several times near your cat’s hiding place without her uttering a sound.

It could be several days before the hunger and the thirst force the cat out of her hiding place.

When that happens, she might retrace her steps back to your home, but it’s also possible that she will run in the opposite direction.

Not to mention that indoor cats lost outside can get hurt by other animals or traffic.

If they are injured or get sick, they might not get out of their hiding place even if they are dying.

Summarized in short, the most likely scenarios involving a lost indoor cat are:

  • Your pet is trapped in a tree or unintentionally locked somewhere.
  • The cat is hiding within a 5-mile radius and is too scared to move.
  • The cat is injured by her escape (falling off a balcony, for example) or has had an accident.
  • Someone might have relocated your cat accidentally or on purpose.

How to find my missing indoor cat?

tiger kitten surrounded by woods

Once you establish that the cat is missing, the odds of her coming back are higher if you act quickly.

The first thing you should do is a thorough search of your neighborhood. It’s not enough to walk around the call your cat’s name.

Ask your neighbors to search their yards and look in places that cats might hide, for example, under porches, in garden shelters, and garages. Look up at trees, under parked cars, and on nearby roofs.

If your search doesn’t turn up anything, you shouldn’t give up hope. Try again, but this time in the quiet hours of the night.

Take a bag of treats, and a flashlight and walk around your neighborhood. Call your cat in your normal voice.

If Tabby has gotten hungry, she might gather the courage to meow and show herself.

Check out the video below on how to find a lost cat, then read on for more things to try.

Other things you can do to attract your missing cat are:

  • Leave food and water outside. Place a baby monitor to alert you if the cat appears.
  • Set up a cat trap.
  • Place the litter box outside along with something with your scent. The familiar scent will lure the can back if she is nearby.
  • Make posters, contact local shelters, post in Facebook groups.

Don’t give up hope. People have found their cats after months of searching.

In fact, one story I remember was of a Norwegian cat that got missing but people found found her a nearby cat food factory after 14 months.

An indoor cat might survive outside and come back. But Tabby might also get killed by dogs, cars, or humans.

That’s why you should act as soon as you find your cat missing.

In addition to this, make sure that you provide enough entertainment to keep your indoor cat happy and out of trouble.

What do you think are the odds of an indoor cat surviving and returning if she gets out? Tell us your experiences below.

black cat climbing down a tree
Olfa T
Olfa T

Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.