Why Do Cats Wander Off to Die?

It isn't easy wondering if your cat left home to die.
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Your beloved furbaby is either suffering from an illness or he is approaching the end of his life with you. While some cats’ humans have been able to link the wandering event to the death of their furry family member, it could be a matter of simple coincidence.

He May be Missing

Your feline family member may be set in his ways. That is, he does his thing the same way every day, so when he goes off and doesn’t come back home, you begin worrying, especially if he has been sick, or if he is an elderly cat.

The days pass and your worry begins growing. You and your family go out, walking up and down the street, calling his name. You might make up “missing cat” fliers that you post everywhere in your area. Hopefully, he will come back, the victim of a cat fight or after deciding to explore. Still, not knowing is difficult.

He Was Injured While Away

Vehicles move fast, which your cat may have learned. He may not have been fast enough to dodge a moving vehicle, leading to a collision with the bumper or the tire of that vehicle. He may have encountered other cats or dogs and become involved in an inevitable fight, especially if he encroached on their territories.

More often than not, cats prefer to be alone when they are injured, sick or dying. If your family friend was missing and you learn that he subsequently died, try not to blame or second-guess yourself. If he was an indoor/outdoor cat for his entire life, you can’t predict when he will get into an accident. Therefore, try to understand that accidents will happen to beloved feline pets.

Coincidence of Wandering and Death

This is true, more often than not. Your furbaby went out to scavenge and play, and he just didn’t come home at the end of the day. Even if you live away from a busy intersection, he could have encountered a bad situation from which he couldn't move. It isn’t your fault, any more than it is the driver of the car who hit him.

If he was sick, he might have sensed his end was near. Cats are wonderful, intelligent creatures. Knowing this, take comfort in the fact that he might have preferred to have his end come privately, without a lot of human or animal activity nearby. Request a necropsy to find out what caused your kitty’s death. It might help you to resolve the questions running through your mind.

Because your furbaby is a creature of instinct, he might simply want to take himself away from the place where he was injured or became ill -- he associates it with feeling bad. Following his line of thinking, he may just want to find another place he can’t associate with pain.

Cats are Creatures of Instinct

Your cat is a very intelligent creature, relying on thousands of years of instinct to guide him through life. If he is an elderly family member, or if he has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, he might be able to feel that his death is near. If you do find him and he is already gone, take comfort in the fact that he is just beyond the Rainbow Bridge, frolicking with the other beloved furry family members and waiting for his human family to join him.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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