Indoor and Outdoor Cats:
You might think they are the same because they are, after all, cats. Actually, they are distinctively different. How they react to becoming panicked, or take a sudden sprint to an outside area, or any feeling of being threatened, they will each develop a unique way they will act in any given situation. Although you know your cat best, there are still many factors that you don’t know about and we hope to help you with this through some of this resource information. We believe you will find this information very interesting.

Displaced Cat Behavior:

  1. Displaced Indoor-Only Cats (i.e. Cats Who’ve Escaped Outdoors)
    When an indoor-only cat escapes outside, it is likely hiding (usually near the escape point) in fear. This is because cats are territorial and your cat’s territory was inside of your home. Once a cat is transplanted into unfamiliar territory it will seek shelter because it is afraid. Cats that are afraid (or injured) will seek areas of concealment: under a house, porch, deck – or in heavy brush…and they will not meow! Meowing would give up their location to a predator. This behavior has nothing to do with whether the cat loves you, recognizes your voice, or smell you – it has everything to do with the fact that a frightened cat will hide in silence.
  2. Displaced Outdoor-Access Cats:
    If you’ve lost a cat that is allowed outdoors part-time or for brief periods of time and it has vanished, then it’s possible they are not missing but hiding in fear. Even outdoor-access cats can become displaced. Example: a cat becomes ‘displaced’ in unfamiliar territory when it is chased off or fought with another cat, chased by a dog, and it ends up in a yard or other area that is totally foreign to it.
  3. Lost Outdoor-Access Cats:
    This cat is routinely allow to go outdoors. So, What Happened To My Cat? There are basically eight things that could have happened to your cat and these are called “Probability Categories.”


  1. Your cat is trapped
  2. Your cat is displaced into an unfamiliar area
  3. Your cat was unintentionally transported out of the area
  4. Your cat was intentionally transported out of the area
  5. Your cat is injured, sick, or is deceased
  6. Your cat was rescued
  7. Your cat was stolen
  8. Your cat was killed by a preditor

Additional Behaviors:

  • The Silence Factor
    Describes the behavior when a sick, injured, or panicked cat will hide in silence. It is a natural form of protection for a cat to find a place to hide under a house, a deck, or any place they can crawl. It is important that an aggressive, physical search of the immediate area in understanding that the cat might be close but hiding in silence.
  • The Threshold Factor
    An interesting behavioral pattern whereby many cats initially hide in silence, but eventually break cover and meow, return to their home or the escape point (window or door), or finally enter a humane trap. While some cats take only hours or a few days to reach their threshold, many others take several days (typically 10 to 12 days) before they break cover due to thirst or hunger.



Missing Pet Partnership Recovery Tips CLICK HERE

Information shared by permission from Missing Pet Partnership/KatAlbrecht © ®