Where Do Cats Go When It Rains?

Cats hate getting wet and will avoid rain whenever possible. If your outdoor cat is exploring when a storm rolls in, it will quickly look for a hiding place. This will ideally be in your home, and most cats will return the moment they sense a change in barometric pressure. However, if the cat isn’t fast enough or strays too far from home, it will need to make do. As good climbers and dexterous animals, they’re spoiled for choice.

When it rains, cats will look for the most comfortable hiding spot, and if that can’t be found, they’ll choose the nearest option. This may include underneath cars, beneath houses, inside garages, under alcoves or overhangs, and beneath decks and porches. If needed, cats will also settle for abandoned buildings, sheds, and junk piles. Bushes and hedges will be fine shelters against the rain, and the vantage point of trees will be comforting. If needed, a cat may hide in several places, jumping from one to the next when there’s an opening until it feels safe.

Most cats can find their way home during a storm, but the rain could muddle their ability to navigate. As long as the temperatures are warm or slightly cool, your cat will be fine. If the temperatures drop to cold or freezing, however, the cat may get hypothermia. It’s normally fine to let cats out in the rain if they want, but not if the weather is very bad.

Where Do Cats Hide When It Rains?

Since most cats don’t like water, they are likely to seek shelter when it’s raining. This is true whether they’re a kitten, a stray, an elderly cat, or a domesticated house cat. All felines understand they are in danger when exposed to harsh winds, lightning, rain, and other adverse weather conditions.

A cat will first choose the safest place to hide. If your home is within range, then, of course, its place with you is the best option. This is warm, dampened from outside sounds, dry, and has good food. House cats will pick your home even over nearby hiding spots, so long as they believe they can make the trek.

If the cat realizes it’s too far away, it will try to pick the second-best option. This will include the nearest, coziest spot, such as another person’s house or beneath a parked car.

Of course, if your cat is a newly adopted stray, it may purposefully choose old hangouts it knew before it joined your home. After all, it understands these to be tried and true hiding spots in the event of rain. It may not understand that your home is even better (at least not yet).

Do Cats Come Home When It Rains?

Most house cats naturally return home when it begins to rain. That’s because the cat:

  • Knows your house is the best hangout during a storm
  • Will likely turn back the moment it senses that the weather is getting bad
  • Probably wasn’t far from home, to begin with

According to Mammal Study, feral cats have a relatively small home range, and this is likely true for indoor or outdoor cats as well. This means that when your cat goes outside, it won’t stray too far from your apartment or house. That allows it to return once the first signs of a downpour begin.

Can Cats Find Their Way Home in the Rain?

Cats find their way home using both their sharp senses and their limited home range. However, the rain can disrupt that. Rain changes how the terrain looks by disrupting the soil and making mud. It can also wash away scent markers that your cat left behind to guide it.

Because of this, your cat can find its way home in the rain. However, it may be more difficult than on a sunny day. Your cat may instead choose to hunker down in a temporary shelter until the rain stops. Once the disruption to its senses has faded, it can then attempt to navigate toward your place.

Where Do Outdoor Cats Go When It Rains?

Cats are good at finding shelter, especially in a pinch. If your outdoor cat hasn’t come home during a storm and you’re worried, it’s probably hiding somewhere. There are many places where it could secret away, such as:

Beneath Cars

In an urban area, it can be hard to find shelter due to the lack of trees or other natural hiding places. Cars, however, are overwhelmingly common in cities or suburban areas. They always have a dry area underneath them where felines can camp out. Even better, the design of cars will direct water away, which prevents cats from getting soaked, even in a downpour.

Since cars sit fairly low to the ground, large predators can’t reach a cat from underneath. This is why many outdoor cats prefer them as ideal shelters. Some will even climb up to the engine, especially in cold weather.

If you hear a cat meowing near a car, but don’t see anything underneath, then it’s likely tucked into the undercarriage. It may come out on its own, or you will need to rescue it, but you definitely shouldn’t start the car.

When you’re looking for your cat, check under all the vehicles in the area around your home. Be sure to call out for it while you search. If your cat is in the engine, it’s likely to meow when it hears your voice. You can then coax it out, try to disentangle it by hand, or call the fire department for help.

Beneath Houses

Similar to cars, elevated houses also provide shelter from the rain. Your cat may take refuge in your neighbor’s crawl space, in any pockets along the foundation, or underneath little overhangs. If the cat wasn’t fast enough before it started raining, it might have even tucked itself underneath your house.

Check for any holes or areas where your cat may have squeezed through to get beneath the house. These may be along the skirting or underneath the siding. Some may even be hidden by trees or bushes.

It can be difficult to retrieve your cat from these spots, but there’s good news. If it got in, it can get out. You can try to lure out the cat with food or toys, or simply wait for it to emerge by itself later.

Inside Garages

Some people keep their garage doors open, and a cat may sneak in during a rainy spell for shelter. If the person closes the garage door and there’s no way to escape, your cat may be stuck in there. Whoever owns the house is likely to find the cat soon and will let it out. You may also be getting a phone call sometime soon.

Alternatively, your outdoor cat may have hidden in your own garage. If it couldn’t reach the cat door or front porch before the downpour started, it might have lowered its standards. Cats are especially prone to hiding at random during thunderstorms when it’s noisy. If you suspect your cat is in the garage, check:

  • Under the car
  • In the engine of the car
  • Beneath tables or workstations
  • Behind or inside boxes

Under Alcoves or Overhangs

Overhangs are found above doors or along rooflines. These offer protection from the rain, so a cat may take shelter beneath one. Depending on how skilled a climber your feline is, it may even have scaled up and tucked itself into any nooks directly beneath them. If you’re running out of ideas, don’t forget to look up.  

Your cat may also take shelter underneath an alcove, such as on a windowsill. These spots direct water away from the window, leaving a dry area underneath. If the rain is particularly heavy, the cat won’t like feeling so exposed. It might start out here, only to go somewhere else shortly after.  

where do cats hide outside when it's raining?

Inside Sheds

Sheds keep out the rain and may have cracks or holes that a cat is able to squeeze through. They are also dark and quiet, which cats will prefer during a scary thunderstorm. If the shed is far away from the main house, be it yours or your neighbor’s, that will be a good compromise for a lost cat. The heavier the rain, the more urgently the cat will need shelter.

Decks or Porches

Decks and porches are one of the most likely hiding spots for a cat during a rainstorm. Even strays will pick these locales whenever they can be found. That’s because they:

  • Protect from the water
  • Shield against wind
  • Are easy to access
  • Keep the feline close to the ground

If it feels threatened, it can easily retreat underneath the house, to nearby foliage, or take off in a run. You may not be able to find the cat if it’s tucked away here, but don’t worry. Cats will easily make their way out once the storm is over. Oftentimes, that’s into your own yard.

Inside Abandoned Buildings

Abandoned buildings serve as great shelters for cats not only during the rain but at any time. That’s because there will be no human activity, few (if any) predators, and the walls can dampen the sound of rain. This creates a dark, cozy, quiet environment for a stressed cat. As a plus, abandoned buildings tend to fall into disrepair, giving cats several access points.

If your outdoor cat has taken shelter in an abandoned building, it could be hard to find it. However, once the rain stops and it’s no longer frightened of the storm, then your cat will leave on its own.

Junk Piles

Junk piles that are made of discarded wood, sheet metal, or furniture can serve as a quick, temporary shelter for your cat while it’s raining. If you or your neighbors have a junk pile on your property, your cat may have dashed under it during a sudden downpour.

If you’re concerned that your cat has hidden under a junk pile, call out while you’re near it. You can also provide a strong-smelling treat to try and lure it out. It might be dangerous to shift items in the pile around in search of the cat. The rest of the pile could collapse inward, possibly injuring your cat. It’s wise to use bait or wait for the cat to come out.


Frightened cats will choose high vantage points to feel safe once again. Any nearby trees will be prime options. The thick canopy and multiple branches will even provide cover from the rain and wind.

Although domestic cats are good at climbing up trees, they aren’t as good at climbing down. Yours may get stuck after the rain has passed. If you find your cat stuck in a tree, you can lure it down with treats, wait it out, or call for help.

Bushes And Shrubs

Similar to trees, the dense leaves found in bushes and shrubs can provide shelter from the rain. These are easy to find in urban or suburban environments since many people use them as decoration or fences. If your cat is seeking shelter quickly, it may hide under a bush or within a hedge to find safety from the rain.

Are Cats OK in the Rain?

During warm or cool seasons, cats will just be annoyed at getting caught in the rain. Some may even enjoy it. The water will not hurt the cat, and it will dry out once the downpour stops. However, during the winter, getting stuck in the rain could be deadly for a cat.

It may get chilled, and if it has no way of drying off, it could succumb to hypothermia. This is why most cats will seek shelter during a rainstorm. Outdoor cats will attempt to go home, where they know they can be warm.

Can Cats Survive Rain?

Cats are okay in the rain because of their ability to find shelter. However, if a cat gets caught in a freezing downpour, its health may quickly decline. You will need to find your cat immediately and bring it indoors to get warm.

If it’s managed to return on its own, you should dry it off quickly. Provide it with warm food and water, and try to rub it down with a fluffy towel. This will encourage blood flow and help the cat regain its normal body temperature. If it shows any sign of hypothermia, you will need to call your vet right away.

Can Cats Get Sick from Rain?

Cats can’t get sick from the rain itself. In warm weather, a soaked coat won’t do your cat much harm. Felines are unable to catch a cold or any other illness from being wet with rainwater.

However, in the winter, your cat may find its internal temperature plummeting. Since its wet coat is unable to properly regulate its body heat, it has no way to fight this off. It will be fully exposed to the elements, and that is what leads to hypothermia.

Should I Let My Cat Out in the Rain?

Letting your cat out in the rain depends on your cat and the conditions outside. If it’s warm and your cat wants to go out, there’s no harm in letting it explore, water or not. Your cat likely has its reasons for this interest, such as:

  • Liking water
  • Needing to use the bathroom
  • Wanting to hunt

If the rain is too hard, there’s a thunderstorm, or it’s chilly, then it is recommended to keep your feline inside. Heavy rain may cause your cat’s fur to get waterlogged, which reduces its agility and ability to keep itself warm. This would be especially detrimental when it’s chilly.

In a thunderstorm, cats are more likely to get frightened and hide in bad places. You don’t want it to get stuck in a tree, or even run out into traffic as it scrambles for a hiding place.

Cat Out All Night in the Rain

If you let your cat out at night and it starts to rain, you may be worried about leaving it to fend for itself. As long as it isn’t cold, you don’t have to worry.

Your cat will find a temporary shelter and hunker down. That’s true especially if you aren’t available to open the door when it comes home. Your porch, garage, shed, or backyard hedges will do fine.

If it’s cold, however, you should avoid letting your cat out at night. That’s when the temperature can be at its coldest. If it suddenly rains, your cat could get hypothermia. If the cat returns home soaking wet after spending all night in the rain, check it for signs of illness. Bad signs include:

  • Shaking
  • Lethargy
  • Slowed breathing
  • Clammy skin
  • Drowsiness

Why is My Cat Sitting Out in the Rain?

Although most cats want to avoid getting wet, some enjoy being out in the rain. In fact, particular species of cat enjoy the water and actively seek it out. If your cat is a Maine coon, Turkish vans, or Bengal, for example, it may purposefully venture out and sit in the rain.

Others cats may not prefer the rain but will enjoy how quiet and vacant the outdoors become as soon as a downpour begins. If your cat likes exploring backyards and sidewalks, a rainy season may be ideal for it.

In that vein, your cat may be sitting in the rain because it’s actually hunting. It can be easier to capture prey during this time. The sound of rain can mask the sound of a cat’s footsteps, dramatically increasing its success rate.

According to Animal Conservation, precipitation such as rain and snow influences the eating habits of feral cats. That’s because of what prey is available during those times. If you’ve newly adopted a stray, then it may be taking part in a well-trusted routine.

Do Cats Like the Rain?

Most cats don’t like the rain and for good reason. Their top coat is water-resistant, but if they’re out in a downpour, then moisture can sink past this layer and make them uncomfortable.

A waterlogged coat hampers a cat’s ability to keep itself warm by losing body heat quicker than normal. Additionally, a soaked coat is heavier than a dry one, which can reduce a cat’s agility.

With that said, there are exceptions to the rule. Certain species of cat go crazy for water and enjoy playing in bathtubs, sinks, puddles, and pools. This is simply a quirk of their genetics, and it can make them adorable little weirdos. The breeds include:

  • Maine coons
  • Turkish angoras
  • Japanese bobtails
  • American bobtails
  • Manx
  • Norwegian forest cats
  • American shorthairs
  • Turkish vans
  • Bengal cats

Why Does My Cat Like Being Out in the Rain?

Even if your cat isn’t one of the above breeds, it may ignore its dislike of water and go outside in the rain. There are advantages to this, which a cat may love more than it hates rain.

Desire to Hunt

Domesticated cats don’t need to hunt, since they get all their food and nutrition from their owners at home. However, many outdoor cats still hunt because it’s a natural instinct. Yours may want to go outside because it knows the rain will:

  • Mask its footsteps and movements from prey
  • Encourage certain kinds of prey to come out of hiding
  • Limit how many rivals or predators it itself will encounter

Needing to Use the Bathroom

Some cats don’t like using the litter box inside. Instead, they prefer to do their business outdoors. If your cat is like this, then when nature calls, it will try to go outside come rain or shine.

If it’s raining heavily or there’s loud thunder, then try to encourage your cat to use a litter box anyhow. If it’s warm and the showers are light, though, allow your cat to do as it pleases. It won’t cause any harm.

Maintaining Routine

Felines are creatures of habit. They like structure and routine and don’t take kindly to any change in it. If your cat has a habit of going outside every day at a certain time, then it could try to maintain this regardless of the weather.

Despite the need for routine, though, your cat may still return home soon after or sit in a shelter outside during bad weather. It won’t like being wet, almost as much as it dislikes having its schedule disrupted.

The Desire to Mark Territory

Cats use their urine and feces to mark their territory, but rain can wash those scents away. Therefore, your cat may get the urge to go outdoors while it’s raining (or soon after) to mark its territory again.

Depending on the cat, it may be very impatient about this. It will fear other cats encroaching on its territory in the meantime.

why is my cat sitting out in the rain?

Can Cats Sense Rain?

Cats have heightened senses that allow them to perceive shifts in barometric pressure with their inner ear. Slowly falling barometric pressure indicates rain, whereas rapidly falling pressure indicates a storm coming. Since cats can detect these shifts, they may be able to predict bad weather. They will then return home or seek shelter in advance.

Additionally, cats have a better sense of smell and hearing than humans do. They can use this to smell the rain in the air and hear the sound of thunder in the distance. This gives them a warning well before we can detect the storm.

Do Cats Like the Sound of Rain?

Certain felines like the sound of rain because it’s reminiscent of nature in general. Playing nature sounds consisting of rain, birds chirping, and so on for your indoor cat may help it feel more relaxed and calm.

Other cats, however, dislike the sound of rain. They might respond by meowing loudly, pawing at their face, or being agitated in general. It could remind them of getting caught in the rain, or warn them that thunder will soon follow.

Do Cats Get Sleepy When It Rains?

Cats need to sleep for 12-16 hours a day, which is a hefty amount when compared to humans. It can seem like your cat gets sleepy when it rains, but that isn’t the case. Cats don’t get drowsy because of storms. Instead, they may get bored with the lack of outdoor activity and decide to rest as a way to pass the time. The barometric pressure or the humidity doesn’t play a role.

Why Do Cats Sleep When It Rains?

Cats may sleep when it rains because they are conserving their energy. As predators, they know to prioritize quick, effective bursts of motion to capture prey. To ensure their stores are full, they sleep whenever they can.

Since many cats don’t like getting wet, they are more likely to stay inside while it’s raining. With nothing else to do, taking a nap is ideal. Even if they have multiple places to hide when outdoors, it’s far more comfortable to wait out the downpour in your living room.

Photo of author

Richard Parker

I'm Richard, the lead writer for Senior Cat Wellness. I'm experienced in all cat health-related matters, behavioral issues, grooming techniques, and general pet care. I'm a proud owner of 5 adult cats (all adopted strays), including a senior cat who is now 20.

Leave a Comment