Questions About Cats

Where Do Cats Go When It Rains?

Cats will seek out a dry, safe spot during inclement weather. Usually, a cat will return home when it senses that rain is on the horizon. But, if your cat has been missing for many hours, or even several days, it may have gotten lost, stuck, or be too afraid to come out of hiding.

There are many places that cats hide from the rain, including under overhangs and porches, in shrubs and bushes, in sheds, under decks, inside garages, underneath cars, and on neighbors’ properties.

Cats are really good at climbing and hiding. So, there are many places where a cat may hide from the rain. Usually, your cat will come home in its own time. If it doesn’t, we’ll look at the favored hiding spots of cats.

Where Do Cats Hide from Rain?

Outdoor cats will take shelter from the rain. Depending on the severity and suddenness of the downpour, a cat will usually dash home. However, if there isn’t time, it will seek temporary shelter from the elements.


Height offers cats a degree of security and comfort, and trees provide ample shelter. As stated in Wildlife Research, cats have excellent climbing abilities. A cat’s retractable claws and light build allows it to quickly and securely ascend a tree. Unfortunately, getting down can be the issue.

Domestic cats are great at climbing up, but not so good at climbing down. Your cat may have climbed up a tree to escape the rain and got stuck. It will likely hunker down on a branch that’s near the trunk.

Be prepared to fetch a ladder to get the cat down. Don’t attempt to climb the tree without a ladder, unless the cat is on a low branch. Consider calling either an animal agency with a network to help, such as the ASPCA, or a local tree-lopping service.

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Beyond simply offering a cat shelter from the rain, the aerodynamic structure of most vehicles directs water away from running underneath as well. This creates a dry, semi-insulated pocket beneath a car.

Most cars offer just enough space for cats to fit underneath comfortably. Cars are usually too low to the ground for any large animals or predators to reach them. So, your cat may have learned that it can take refuge beneath a car. Sometimes, a cat will even crawl up into the engine.

Look under the car and on top of the tires. You should also pop the hood and check in there as well. If you can’t find your cat, look underneath other cars in your street while also calling out for your cat.

Junk Piles

Piles of wood, broken furniture, and metal sheets may look like garbage to you. To a cat on a rainy day, they provide much-needed shelter.

If you have a junk pile on your property, or near it, head over and check if your cat is using it as a temporary shelter. Be careful about shifting any of the junk, as some might be load-bearing. Call for your cat, and bring along some strong-smelling treats to draw it out of hiding.

Under Overhangs

Overhangs protect windows and doorways from the rain, and obviously, a cat may take shelter under one. These little alcoves are designed for directing water, snow, and hail away from the window or door. Cats can reach these alcoves, and many enjoy the elevated position they afford.

Check all the windowsills and alcoves. Do the same for the visible overhangs of your neighbors’ homes. If you find your cat in one of these places, don’t encourage it to jump down from a height. Cats may land on all fours most of the time, but they can still break a bone.

Instead, get a ladder and pick the cat up yourself. Support the cat’s front half with the gloved hand and scoop your other hand under its rear. Cradle it to your chest and carefully descend the ladder.

Underneath Houses

Elevated houses offer a mass of shelter for an outdoor cat in the rain. If you live in an elevated house with skirts, check for any holes big enough for your cat to squeeze through.

Your cat may frequently tuck itself away under your house during bad weather or to get a few hours sleep in relative safety.

Shrubs And Bushes

The dense foliage and branch structure of bushes and shrubs provide an ideal wall between a cat and adverse weather conditions.

The overlapping leaf structure will prevent the worst of a downpour from reaching your cat. So, it may scurry underneath to hide from the rain.


Garages have lots of great hiding places. These are usually full of junk, boxes, and furniture. As the cat may already be indoors at this point, it is likely hiding because it is afraid. This is not uncommon if there’s a thunderstorm.

Check under your car (including the engine and above the wheels), on any shelves, in cupboards, boxes, junk piles, and any other hidey-hole possible. Your cat may have also bolted into your neighbors’ garage, too.


Sheds are dark, quiet, and keep out the rain by design. A cat may hide in there for this reason. Sheds may only see human activity during weekends.

Many small animals, like lizards, geckos, and mice, may frequently appear within. These are tempting prey for a cat to chase, so a cat may treat the shed as a hunting ground. Your cat may have already been inside when the rain began, and hasn’t been bothered to come out since.

Decks and Porches

Cats may seek shelter under a porch or deck. These parts of a house are usually designed to offer shelter from the elements, including rain.

Outdoor Shelving

Shelves are high up and offer some form of shelter from the rain. If a cat is distressed, it may also hide behind items placed on these shelves.

Abandoned Buildings

If there are any abandoned buildings nearby, a cat may take refuge within. These buildings are devoid of human life, which a frightened cat may find ideal if it’s seeking shelter.

A stressed cat will usually avoid all people, especially those it is unfamiliar with. It may also be wary of leaving its shelter if strange noises (machinery, foot traffic, construction) emerge once the rain has stopped.

At this point, it may be waiting for the noise to quiet before leaving. This could mean waiting until nightfall or for the weekend.

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If there is an area of a roof that is sheltered from the rain, a desperate cat may take shelter there. This is not an ideal or safe place for it to be.

Can Cats Find Their Way Home In The Rain?

A cat has an almost mystical ability to find its way home. A suite of fine-tuned senses, plus an innate homing instinct that eludes science, are responsible for how cats navigate the outside world.

Cats do get lost, though. Rain introduces a fleet of changes to its environment. Rain disturbs the soil, amplifies other scents, and blankets the scent trails that your cat relies on to get to certain destinations.

Heavy rain, such as a thunderstorm, can change an environment drastically. Uprooted trees, destroyed fences, and debris that is blown around by powerful winds can really confuse a cat.

The landmarks that a cat uses to mark its way home are buried, gone, or otherwise destroyed. A heavy rainfall or storm can make it difficult for your cat to hear familiar sounds, including you calling out its name.

Excluding sudden rainfalls, cats will be able to sense when rain is on the way and make it home in time. A cat that knows rain is coming, but lacks time, will often seek shelter and return home once it is safe.