My Cat Won’t Come Home At Night – What Should I Do?

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If your cat doesn’t come home at night, don’t panic. Here’s a guide on what to do, including tips like checking with neighbors and more.

Having an indoor-outdoor cat provides benefits like allowing natural behaviors. But it can be worrying when your cat doesn’t come home as expected, especially at night. 

As a fellow cat owner, I’ve been there. 

This guide will cover why it happens and most importantly, what to do if your cat doesn’t come home at night.

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When Do Cats Usually Come Home?

Cats tend to be crepuscular, meaning most active during twilight hours. So it’s common for them to leave in the evening and return late at night or very early morning. 

If your cat routinely comes home during a certain window, but one night doesn’t, it could simply be a delay.

I’ve had my cat Oscar stay out past midnight before returning. He likely found an interesting place to explore. 

But if it’s unusual for your cat to stay out all night, it warrants looking into it.

Reasons A Cat Might Not Come Home At Night

There are a few reasons why cats don’t come home at night:

  • Got lost – They can lose track of time exploring or get disoriented, especially in new areas.
  • Accident or injury – Hopefully unlikely, but they could get hurt or trapped somewhere.
  • Another animal – Fights with other cats or predators like coyotes.
  • Stolen – Sadly, some people do steal pets.

So what should you do if your cat doesn’t come home at night? Don’t panic, but take action to get them back safely.

What To Do If Your Cat Doesn’t Come Home At Night

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Check With Neighbors

Cats sometimes accidentally get locked in garages or sneak into a neighbor’s house. So asking neighbors if they’ve seen your cat can provide clues to their whereabouts.

Leave your contact info in case they notice your cat later. If a neighbor has taken your cat in for the night, you’ll be relieved to know they’re safe.

Look During Your Cat’s Usual Hours

Most cats follow a routine schedule. Check all their favorite hangout spots during the hours they’d normally be out and about. 

Look under bushes, parked cars, in garages, and other nooks.

Bring treats to shake and call their name. Use a flashlight to scan yards and streets. You might spot their eyes reflecting light.

Post Signs in The Area

Make signs with your cat’s photo, your contact info, and any helpful details like last seen location. Post on community boards and lamp posts within a 2-3 block radius.

This spreads the word to more neighbors to keep an eye out. Plus drivers can watch for your cat while commuting.

Report Your Missing Cat

Contact local shelters, animal control, vet offices, and pet stores. Give them your cat’s description and a photo to put on file.

Also check their lost pet listings, in case someone found your cat. Report it to local police as well in case it was stolen.

Don’t Give Up!

Keep looking for your cat consistently. Go out at different hours in case their routine changes. 

Shake treats and toys that make familiar noises to draw them out.

I recommend looking for at least 2 weeks. There are many stories of cats found weeks later, so try to stay hopeful!

Preventing Your Cat From Not Coming Home

While hopefully a rare event, here are some tips to reduce the risk of your cat not returning at night:

  • Give them a safety breakaway collar with an ID tag
  • Have them microchipped as a permanent ID
  • Spay/neuter to reduce roaming instincts
  • Keep their vaccines current
  • Supervise their outdoor time until they learn the area
  • Bring them in before dark
  • Provide outdoor housing they can access

Knowing prevention strategies makes outdoor cats safer. But rest assured, following the steps above can successfully help bring your cat home if they do go missing one night. Just stay diligent in your search.