Why do cats visit other homes?
Questions About Cats

Why Do Cats Visit Other Homes?

Cats have a lack of social boundaries. Some erroneously claim that a cat will live anywhere if fed, but this is untrue. Cats know the difference between their home and another home. They just like to visit other homes for certain reasons, potentially on a regular basis.

Cats are naturally curious, especially when faced with a closed door. They want to know what is being kept from them. A cat will also claim another home as territory, especially if there is no resident feline. If the cat is provided with food and attention, it will keep returning.

If your cat is regularly visiting another house, politely speak to the homeowner. You do not want your cat to be fed twice. If that does not work, keep your cat indoors. Do ensure that your cat is happy, though. It may visit other homes to escape certain stressors that are on your property.

Why Do Cats Go To Other Peoples’ Houses?

Cats are prone to entering other homes, especially those of your neighbors. Some people welcome this habit, but others find it intrusive. It is obviously a source of concern for somebody with a cat allergy.

It can be difficult to prevent a cat from engaging in this hobby. Outdoor cats will always be looking for ways to access another home. You’ll need to keep an eye on this to maintain harmonious neighborhood relations.

Most of the time, your cat will visit other homes through curiosity and nosiness. Cats do not like to feel they are missing out. If the cat is welcomed into the home, it will return – especially if given food and attention. Cats love routine, so this visit will come part of its schedule.

Just be mindful of how your cat behaves you it is at home with you. Watch out for any signs of stress or unhappiness. If a cat feels more comfortable in another home, it will eventually become a primary residence. You need to give your cat a reason to come back to you.

Curiosity

Cats are born adventurers with a healthy sense of curiosity. This means that a cat will always want to know what goes on in another home. A closed door in your own house is already mysterious. Guarded access to an entire property is even more so.

Ordinarily, a cat will enter a home for a lengthy exploration. It will have picked up on a range of scents, such as cooking smells. The cat wants to know what these aromas are, and where they come from. Sounds from a home, such as music, will also pique a cat’s attention.

The cat will also be looking for new experiences. That means new things to climb, new spaces to squeeze into, and new territory to mark. Your cat may also be checking to see if hunting is available in this new area.

This, in particular, needs to be watched. This second home may host birds, fish, rabbits or rodents as domestic pets. If your cat learns of this, it may start terrorizing these unfortunate animals. This can lead to stress for your neighbor’s non-human houseguests.

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Territory

Once your cat’s curiosity has been satisfied, its mind will turn to gaining territory. If there is no resident cat in this second home, it is unmarked territory. The cat will mark everything it can in a new home.

Typically, a cat will start by marking the exterior perimeter of a home. When the chance arises, the cat will move inside. This could be an opportunistic dart through a front door or climbing through a window. Of course, the cat may also have been invited inside.

Once the cat has marked a second home as its personal territory, it will keep returning. Having claimed the home, the cat now needs to guard it. It will be keen to ensure that no other feline has a similar idea. The cat will fight to retain its terrain if necessary.

A cat considering somebody else’s home its territory can be problematic. The cat may start to act belligerently toward invited guests to the home. It may also begin verbalizing and scratching at the door after dark, demanding to be admitted. This will grow frustrating.

Cats also mark territory in a number of ways. If the cat merely rubs scent onto furniture, it is not the end of the world. Shedding and allergic reactions are the only concern here.

As explained by The Canadian Journal of Zoology though, cats also mark territory through urine and scratching. Male cats, in particular, are prone to these behaviors. This means that your cat will potentially damage property while visiting another home.

Your legal responsibility to finance repairs and cleaning in such an event varies by state. Most will consider you financially liable though, and its good manners to accept this responsibility. If this is a concern, keep your cat indoors.

Food

Food is the likeliest reason for a cat to keep returning to a second home. Cats are skilled manipulators. Your cat may have fooled residents into believing that it is stray. This way, the cat will be provided with food.

There could be two explanations for your cat seeking this meal. It’s possible that your cat is just being greedy. Some cats are more gluttonous than others and see nothing wrong with eating twice. This will eventually lead to obesity, and potentially diabetes.

If your cat refuses food that you provide, there could be a different explanation. Your cat’s second home is clearly providing a more appealing meal. The cat is eating its fill elsewhere, then returning to its primary residence.

Resolving this issue can be delicate. Consider affixing a collar to your cat before it leaves the house. This will make it clear that the cat is not stray and has a loving home. This could make the owners of a second residence think twice about feeding the cat.

If a routine has been established, discuss the situation with the owners of the other residence. A little white lie may help here. Claim that your cat is on a specialist diet and should only be fed at home.

Before you leave, though, learn what food this second home was feeding the cat. Clearly it has become an established favorite. If you start feeding it, the cat is less likely to search out a different meal.

Companionship

Cats are independent, but they still get lonely. Boredom is also dangerous to a cat. Loneliness and boredom can lead to prolonged stress. This places strain on a cat’s heart, especially in senior felines.

Your cat may be visiting a second home for company. The cat may have learned that somebody is home during the day, while you’re at work. The cat will seek the companionship and attention of this person, returning to you at night.

Alternatively, the cat may have forged a friendship with another animal in the home. It’s rare for strange cats to take a shine to each other, but it can happen. Equally possible is an inter-species friendship with a resident canine.

This companionship may be good for all concerned. The cat is happy, and a lonely human may appreciate the company. It could set a dangerous precedent, though. A cat will two homes will eventually treat them both equally. The second home may not be equipped for this. What’s more, you’ll miss your cat.

Provide plenty of entertainment for your cat at home. If you can’t be around, ensure your cat has plenty to do. This includes toys and exercise, such as cat trees. It would also help if a friend of a neighbor could pop by to visit your cat daily. This will break up the cat’s time alone.

You could also consider adopting a second cat for company. This is not a decision to take lightly, though. It takes time for two cats to accept each other. If you cannot spend prolonged time with one feline, taking on a second is inadvisable.

Peace and Quiet

Your cat loves you and your family, but all felines need time alone. This is why cats have assigned territory. Oftentimes, a cat will hide atop a closet or in a drawer for a nap. If the cat is still surrounded by stimulation, it will look elsewhere.

Cats find constant noises distracting and stressful. They also like attention to be on their terms. If you have children, they may want to play with and handle your cat. The cat will indulge these wishes, but on its own terms. It may visit a second home for some respite.

This is especially likely if the property is vacant during the cat’s tenure. Your cat is simply looking to decompress for a while. Once your cat feels suitably refreshed, it will return home to you. All the same, it is preferable to provide this quiet place within your own home.

Cognitive Decline

If your cat is older than 15, it may be growing confused and disoriented. This is known as Feline Cognitive Dysfunction, a condition comparable to Alzheimer’s disease.

Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice notes that senior cats experiencing cognitive decline show lapses in memory. Your cat may struggle to remember where it lives. The cat will follow its nose or ears, approaching the first home with signs of life. Other signs of Feline Cognitive Dysfunction include:

  • Staring into space for prolonged periods
  • Reversed sleep-wake cycles
  • Excessive verbalization and clinginess
  • Uncharacteristic aggression and other behavioral changes
  • Eliminating outside the litter box

There is no cure for this condition. It is a natural process of the cat’s brain aging. Cognitive decline can be slowed down, though.

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Escaping Stress

It is time to address the elephant in the room. Your cat may be visiting other homes because it feels uncomfortable in your own. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency. A cat that lives in a constant state of anxiety will be miserable. Common stressors for cats include:

  • Regular, unwanted handling
  • Loud noises
  • Exposure to allergens
  • Lack of assigned territory
  • Irregular and erratic routines
  • Bullying from other cats
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Boredom and loneliness

Consider if any of these concerns may apply to your cat. If so, make the necessary changes to improve quality of life. If you fail to do so, your cat will eventually stop returning to your home. If a cat feels like it has a better alternative, it will spend more time there.

Start by establishing a strict routine for your cat. Ensure that your cat is offered food, play and companionship at the same time each day. This will help your cat settle down. If you work irregular shift patterns, ask a friend or family member to help out.

Provide your cat with territory to call its own. A separate room that you rarely enter is ideal. This may be a challenge in a small apartment. If so, just ensure your cat has somewhere to call its own. Cats need to know they can escape to a safe space when necessary.

This is especially important in a multi-cat home. An excessively dominant cat can make difficult for a submissive counterpart. If your cat cannot escape these attentions in your home, it will look elsewhere.

Cats entering other homes is part of owning a feline. At some point, you will inevitably need to retrieve your cat and apologize. Provided the cat is litter trained, it’s rarely too much of a problem. Curb your cat’s tendency to visit other houses by providing everything it needs at home.