Cats Get Lost and Dogs Make It Back Home

Cats Get Lost and Dogs Make It Back Home

Last update: 20 December, 2018

We’ve always heard that cats know how to make their way back home. In fact, when you visit your friends who are cat owners, most likely you have seen on several occasions their cat being away from home and returning several hours later.  But you know what? If you have friends that let their cat roam the streets, you should tell them that they’re lucky because cats get lost more than dogs.

Statistics show that cats get lost much more than dogs. These figures show that at least 70% of dogs return home to their family while only 5% of cats make it back home. Why is that? Continue reading to find out.

Why do cats get lost more easily than dogs?

Cats get lost and form colonies with their feline buddies

There are several reasons why cats get lost more than dogs. Look at the list below.

  • Their sense of smell. Cats don’t have a developed nose as dogs do. They have less olfactory memory and that makes it difficult for them to return home when they get lost.
  • Microchip. Although this identification system is mandatory for cats and dogs, in Spain, only 20% of cats have it while 90% of dogs are microchipped. This can also explain why cats are much more difficult to locate.
  • They don’t know how to fend for themselves. Many people believe cats are independent. However, if domestic cats find themselves outside their home, they’ll get lost. In addition, they won’t know what to do outside.
  • They form colonies. Cats are very familiar, with humans and with other felines. If they start playing with other cats in the street and suddenly they get lost, they’ll form a new family with their new friends.

How to avoid losing your cat

There are many simple things to prevent your cat from getting lost. If all the owners applied these tips, then there would be no need for this article to exist.

Small cat in the street.
  • Implant a microchip. This is more than a recommendation, it’s a good preventive measure to ensure your cat can be easily located.  In case your cat disappears, a microchip is a 100% reliable way to locate your cat.
  • Closed windows. It’s okay for your cat to go out on the terrace or take a look at the outside world.  However, if they do it while you’re not at home, they might escape. To prevent this from happening, keep your doors and windows closed while you aren’t at home.
  • ID tags. This is something that’s usually put on dogs rather than cats. However, a cat is also a pet and they get lost more often than dogs. So, why not put an ID tag with a collar on them? If cats get lost, whoever finds them will be able to notify their owner and help bring them back to their human family.
  • Begin the search as soon as possible. Many cat owners stay with their arms folded when their cat disappears because they believe “cats always return home”. They believe that sooner or later their cat will make it back home. However, the truth is that this doesn’t usually happen.


Delaying the search doesn’t bring more than inconveniences, because the more time passes, the farther your cat will be to return home. Therefore, if your cat gets lost, don’t cross your arms, start looking for them as soon as possible.


The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.