Will my cat come back if I let him outside

No matter how domesticated your cat is, sometimes it just wants to leave the house, interact with other animals, and simply enjoy nature. But as a cat owner, it is hard to just let your cat go anywhere without supervision right? There is always that lingering doubt that your cat will come back if you let him outside. Is there anything you can do to make sure your cat comes back home?

In this article, we will talk about whether your cat will come back home if you let it out. We will also focus on other things you should know about before letting your cat outside your home.

 Will my cat come back if I let him outside

Will your cat come back if you let it outside?

Without a doubt, if you never let your cat outside the house then your cat will be very curious about what exists outdoors.

If it’s your first time letting it outdoors without supervision, then we understand how heavy your heart may be.

There are always risks that your cat will not return home after they leave, but you have to take chances right? Sometimes, you just have to trust that your cat knows the way home and will not wander away too far from home in the first place.

Of course, various factors come into play to determine if your cat will return. These can be the age of your cat, its maturity level, and also its memory power.

Other external factors will depend on how well you train it, and how you encourage it to return home no matter how long it stays outdoors.

So let’s dive in and understand these factors in a detailed manner to accommodate your cat in the best way possible.

When you should let your cat leave the house

Stray cats find it easy to live out in the streets and tackle all odds because they are used to it.

Pet cats on the other hand are the opposite. They may be excited to leave the house and experience life outside, but at the same time, street life isn’t always for them. Assuming you have an adult cat, it has probably spent most of its life indoors.

The level of comfort indoors is unmatchable. An outdoor cat knows how to defend itself from predatory situations where its life could be at risk. Indoor cats usually aren’t very good at these life skills.

That said, an adult cat is always much more likely to protect itself from predators while outdoors as compared to a young kitten.

So what is the right time to let your adult cat or young kittens outside? Let’s find out.

Young Kittens

Kittens are not only prone to attacks by stray animals like raccoons and squirrels, they are also susceptible to diseases that can take their life.

If you want to give your kitten exposure to outdoor life at an early age despite the risks, then it is advised to wait at least 5 months.

During this time, all your kittens’ vaccinations should be done, it should be neutered and well adjusted in your home (if it is adopted).

After this, you can gradually let it leave the house under your strict supervision. If you can enclose a small area where your kitten can stay and observe, that should be great.

Slowly but surely, as your cat grows and learns more about the outer world you can increase its outdoor time and remove the enclosed barrier.

This will help your cat be comfortable outdoors and condition it not to go too far, and come back home whenever it’s roaming around.

Keep in mind, young cats are more likely to run away if left unattended, because they usually don’t know any better.

Adult Cats

An active adult cat will be itching to leave the home often and may start meowing.

In this case, if you think the cat is responsible enough to find its way back home, you should allow it to go outdoors.

Moreover, if you just adopted an adult cat, it is best to let it get used to your home’s atmosphere before letting it outside. A waiting period of 6 weeks should be fine.  Otherwise, it could run away if it doesn’t develop a bond with your family!

Adult cats require minimal to no supervision. Unless you live in an area abundant with wild animals, your cat should be able to adjust to occasional outdoor visits.

When you are ready to let your cat explore nature, install a cat flap door in the front door area of your house. This will give your cat the freedom to come and go as it pleases.

If you have had your cat as a pet for a while, then it should come back to your home on its own.

How to train your cat to come back inside

You can’t make your cat promise to come back home after going outdoors, but you can try and control the factors that prevent it from leaving.

Some things you can do are:

Give your cat the attention it needs

If you think about it, cats don’t ask much from their owners. All they need is some necessities and a lot of love and attention.

A cat that gets immense love and attention from its family is very unlikely to run away, unless it gets lost, in which case it needs to be microchipped.

Neuter/spay it

You should aim to keep your cat neutered if it is a male and spayed if it is a female. This will help keep its urges to a limit and also reduce its chance of running away from home.

This process is also called sterilization. But just like any other medical procedure done on your cat, you should keep your vet in the loop and refer to them when needed.

Keep a positive environment around it

Cats are happy creatures. If they do not have a positive environment around them, they will have trouble adjusting to your household. A troubled cat is very likely to run away due to fear or anxiety.

Your job is to reduce this factor to zero. If you just adopted a cat, stop giving it chances to run away by letting it outdoors! Instead, work on your relationship with it.

You should spend time with it daily and play with it so it strengthens your bond. Once it learns to love you and that trust is built, you can allow it to leave the home every once in a while.

Avoid shouting, loud music, and sounds in your house, these things scare cats away.

How can you find your cat if it gets lost?

Losing your cat is a cat owner’s worst fear, and you want to take every possible precaution to keep that from happening.

But what if it does happen? You can only control so much of your cat. Is there anything you can do to prepare your cat if it ever gets lost?

Some ways to keep your cat prepared are:


Microchipping your cat never hurts. It is a great tool to find your cat with ease, even if it isn’t lost.

How this works is, you put a collar on your cat which contains the chip. If you lose your cat, you can take the other chip to the vets and get it scanned. This will reveal your cats’ location.

Therefore even if your cat is trained to come back home, microchipping it won’t hurt.

Collar and name tag

If you can not find a microchip near you, you can put a name tag and a collar with your number on your cat.

Putting up posters around that mention a lost cat also helps if your cat happens to get lost.

Limit outdoor space in a new location

Why you should never let young kittens and leave the house without supervision, You should be even more careful when you move houses.

This is because it takes time for cats to adjust, and if they immediately start roaming at a new location, the chances of something bad happening are higher.

The incident can then cause drama to your cat, and prevent it from leaving the house in the future.


In conclusion, will your cat come back if you let him outside?

The answer is yes, but this isn’t always the case. Adult cats usually find it easier to come back inside, but if you let young kittens go outdoors, the scenario could be different.

Moreover, if you intend to let your cat roam outdoors you should condition it by slowly increasing the time spent outdoors under your supervision.

You can also install cat-friendly products to accommodate your cat when it wants to go outside.

Cats also purposely run away from home if they are anxious, scared, or around negative energy.

If you want your cat to willingly come back home, You should shower it with love and affection and play with it often so you can build a strong bond of trust with it.

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