It’s no secret that most cats are not crazy about getting wet. In fact, given a choice, many breeds of feline prefer to stay dry at all times. This can be troublesome for an outdoor cat if they’re caught in a torrential downpour.
Usually, they’ll seek the first shelter they can find. This may be a doorway, a local shed or garage, or even under a car. Cats often stay here until the rain starts to subside, before making a run for home.
The rain can negatively impact cats in various ways. As well as leaving them cold, wet and miserable, heavy rain can make your cat sick. There is also the risk of a cat getting trapped in a hiding place. We will look at how to keep your pet safe during adverse weather conditions.
Do Cats Like Being Outside in the Rain?
This depends on your cat. Every feline is different, and what some loathe others will love. No doubt, many people declare their cats like to play in the rain. Speaking in broad terms, however, most felines will do anything to avoid it.
If your cat is out roaming when the heavens open, they will quickly seek shelter. If they are close to home, they may make a run for it. What is more likely is that your cat will find a hiding place. This can be risky as your cat may run across a busy road.
From here, they will usually observe the rain and wait for it to calm down. This is why cats often seem to go missing for hours while it’s raining.
They are not enjoying the rainfall, playing and socializing. They are under shelter, waiting for more pleasant conditions to make their move.
Popular hiding places for cats while it’s raining include:
- Garages and garden sheds. If these locations are unlocked, cats will hop over a fence and invite themselves in.
- Under cars. This is a street-level hiding place that’s dry, and potentially warm due to residual engine heat.
- Up a tree. If they are of the climbing persuasion, your cat may seek shelter in a tree.
- Inside a bush. Alternatively, some cats will shield themselves in thick greenery.
- Shops and shop fronts. Some cats will be content to hide out under an archway. Others will not be able to resist entering a warm public property, such as a Laundromat.
- Stranger’s houses. Some confident cats will bolt through an open door or window for shelter.
Cats will gravitate to these locations to stay warm and dry, and watch the skies. They’ll head home when they consider it safe to do so.
During poor weather seasons, ensure that your neighbors know and recognize your cat. They may find your pet on their property at any time.
Encourage neighbors to check their garages and under cars before heading to work. If your cat remains undetected, there could be some unfortunate repercussions.
If your cat is home when the rain starts, you’ll find them hiding in the house. This is because rain tends to frighten cats.
Why Are Cats Scared of Rain?
Cats are typically afraid of the rain because it’s incredibly noisy to their sensitive ears. Have you ever sat quietly, listening to the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof or window? Well, that noise is like a deafening drum solo to a feline. It’s as stressful to your pet as it is relaxing for you.
During a rainstorm, your cat is likely to hide out somewhere comforting in the house. Popular locations include:
- On top of your closet, or another high vantage point.
- Inside your closet, or a drawer of soft clothing and linen.
- Inside the dryer.
- Under the bed or sofa.
When they’re a little nervous due to rain, cats will gravitate to a favorite hiding place. Check where they usually go to be alone, and you’ll likely find them.
If they choose somewhere new, or arguably strange, keep an eye on your cat. This suggests that their nerves have crossed in severe anxiety. They will be hiding out because they do not feel well, and do not want you to know.
Thunderstorms will add an extra layer of nerve-shredding tension to your cat’s day. Again, this will be due to the deafening nature of thunder to a feline.
They don’t understand what the sound is. They know that loud noise is coming from somewhere, and it could spell danger. To calm your cat during a storm, consider these steps:
- Ensure that your cat has a ‘safe space’ to hide within.
- If your cat approaches you, give them calm reassurance. Don’t go too far though, or you’ll reinforce their idea that fear is an appropriate response.
- Play games with your cat to distract them.
- Play some ‘white noise’ to give your pet’s ears something else to focus on.
- If necessary, pick up a Thundershirt for your cat.
A little apprehension around adverse weather is normal in cats. If it becomes a problem, however, see a vet. Your pet may be eligible for anxiety treatment or medication. A cat with that’s afraid of rain is problematic if you live in a wet climate.
My Cat Likes to Go Out in the Rain
As discussed, there is always an exception to every rule. Some cats actively enjoy getting outside while it’s raining. There could be many explanations for this.
Some cats actually love water. This means that they’ll enjoy the sensation of being wet, and find splashing in puddles fun. According to Adventure Cats, water-loving cats include:
- Turkish Van
- Turkish Angora
- Maine Coon
- American and Japanese Bobtail
- Norwegian Forest Cat
Another reason that some cats enjoy the rain is the opportunity for solitude. If you live in a busy home, your cat may welcome the chance for quiet time.
Cats will notice that the streets are devoid of humans and other felines while it’s raining. If they know where they can seek shelter, your cat may seize the opportunity for privacy. From their hiding spot, they can watch the world go by peace.
Some cats also enjoy hunting while it’s raining. The unique smells that come with rainfall are initially tempting. Beyond this, the sound of rain masks a cat’s footsteps. This means that they can stalk prey with ever-greater efficiency.
Finally, your cat is in heat. A cat that’s in season will do anything to find a mate. They won’t let something as simple as rainfall stand in their way.
The same applies to an unneutered tomcat. The rain has a strong smell, but not as strong as feline pheromones. Spaying or neutering will make your pet more docile, and happier to stay home.
Can Cats Find Their Way Home in the Rain?
Cats rely on their greatly enhanced sense of smell to negotiate the world. If it’s been raining, familiar scents may be masked.
The hammering sound of rainfall can be deafening for felines. This can prevent them from using their hearing to listen out for familiar sounds.
As Animal Wellness Magazine explains, felines appear to have an innate homing instinct. What this actually entails has never been proved by science, with multiple theories abounding.
Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that your cat will always get home, whatever the weather. It’s believed that felines have an excellent memory for things that matter, such as directions.
This will be a more significant concern for indoor cats. If your cat rarely ventures out, they may not have memorized the lay of the land. This is, again, why you should ensure that your cat is a local celebrity. If your neighbors recognize your pet on sight, the chances of a fast reunion are greater.
Do Cats Know When it’s Going to Rain?
Superstitious theories surrounding animals and their ability to predict the weather are commonplace. Many believe that cows lie down, or roosters crow in the afternoon, if rain is impending. How about cats, however? Is your pet a prognosticator of potential rainfall?
As PetHelpful explains, there are myths and legends surrounding cats and rain. Many of these are nonsense. Baptizing a cat in mineral water to end a drought, for example. This sounds like a recipe for precious wasted water, and a wet and grumpy feline.
What is undeniable is that cats often act differently according to the weather. Due to their sensitive hearing and sense of smell, cats can likely detect a change in conditions is coming.
A coming storm will lead to humidity in the air. This may lead to your cat grooming themselves to excess. A change to the air pressure may also lead to your cat constantly touching or grooming their ears. If your cat seeks heat when it seems warm, they may sense the temperature changing.
There is no exact science to a cat predicting the weather. Felines are no more able to predict the future than us. If your pet is behaving strangely, however, it may be worth noting.
A cat that is afraid of rain may start hiding in advance, or acting agitated. If this is the case, it may be worth tracking down your umbrella before heading out.
How to Protect Outdoor Cats from Rain
If your cat insists on roaming outside, they will experience rain at various points. All you can do is make them as safe and comfortable as possible. You can do this by:
- Making your home the place to be.
- The building or purchasing a cat kennel for your backyard.
- You are cleaning out your shed or garage.
- Always checking under cars, and thumping the hood, before starting the engine.
- Ensuring your cat always has fast and easy access to your home.
- Offering a cold, wet cat a warm snack.
You can make your home more appealing to your cat by ensuring their privacy. If you can, give your cat their own room. Failing that, at least ensure that they have everything they need. This means plenty of entertainment, clean litter trays, scratching posts, and attention.
If your cat has headed out in the rain, they may want to get home quickly. Make this easy for them. Ensure that the cat flap is open (and they will use the cat flap) so they can get in. Have a towel on standby to dry them off, and consider warming up a comforting snack.
Cats will also gravitate to sheds and garages to stay warm and dry. It will be safer if they stay on your property. Keep your garage clean, and free of hazardous chemicals.
You could even build or buy a cat kennel for your yard. This will afford your cat the opportunity for privacy without venturing far from home. Add their favorite cushion and sprinkle catnip inside to entice your cat if they seem indifferent.
Remember that cats also seek comfort in cars and vehicles while it’s raining. Never start a car without checking beneath it in adverse weather. A cat may be sheltering, or even snoozing, under there.
Give the hood a tap, too, or sound the horn. If your cat has somehow climbed inside, this will startle them. They’ll quickly clear out, leaving you to safely start the engine.
It’s always better to keep your cat home while it’s raining. It’s unlikely your cat will want to go out, unless they fall under the remits we have discussed. An indoor cat will always be warmer, more comfortable, and less likely to become sick.
Will Cats Get Sick if They are Caught in the Rain?
Do you tell your kids to wear a coat when it’s raining, lest they catch a cold? Cats obviously do not have this option open to them.
This means that a cat that’s caught in the rain could get seriously sick. If a feline’s body temperature drops below 95OF, hypothermia is a very serious risk.
As Wag Walking explains, the symptoms of hypothermia include:
- Shivering, and general coolness to the touch.
- Low heart rate, and shallow breathing.
- Difficulty breathing, such as rasping.
- Dilated pupils.
- Lethargy and trouble moving.
- Loss of consciousness.
If you are worried that your cat is developing hypothermia, get them to a vet post-haste. Wrap them in a blanket at first to slowly and steadily increase their temperature.
You could also offer your cat a hot water bottle. Just ensure it’s not too hot. Quickly shifting from one extreme temperature to the other is potentially harmful to your pet.
A vet will provide whatever treatment is necessary for your cat. This will usually just involve steadily and safely increasing their temperature. If you get your cat seen early enough, they’ll likely make a full recovery.
Be aware, however, that once a cat develops hypothermia it’s more likely to happen again. You’ll have to be particularly vigilant about managing your pet’s future exposure to rain.
Should I Shelter a Stray Cat During the Rain?
It must be tempting to offer shelter to a stray cat while it’s raining. You may notice a feline looking wet and forlorn, and want to take pity on them.
That’s human nature, and it’s certainly the big-hearted thing to do. If you decide to let a cat into your home, however, it may have long-term consequences.
You should assess whether the cat in question is stray, lost or feral. These are very different things. A cat that has lost their way home may grow confused if you let them in. This could lead to the cat returning more often – and a very confused and vexed owner.
This tendency to return will also apply to stray or feral cats. If the cat is feral, you have to remember that they will lack socialization. This means that the feline may attack any pets of your own, or misunderstand your intentions.
Additionally, once a stray or feral cat knows you’ll provide food and shelter, they’ll be back. What’s more, they’ll be back with their friends. You could end up with a whole colony of homeless cats fighting and crying at your door.
When the heavens open, most cats will instinctively seek shelter. This could be within the house, if they are already there, or by racing home. If this is not the case, however, try not to worry too much.
Cats are smart – they won’t wander around in the rain if it’s at all avoidable. If your pet is missing while it’s raining, they’re likely waiting out the weather.
All the same, home is the best place for a cat to be during poor weather conditions. Your pet will likely be a little anxious, and certainly at risk of getting too cold.
If you can encourage your cat to stay home, do so. If not, ensure that they can always get back quickly and efficiently.