Alita the Maine Coon outside on a lead

What To Do When Your Maine Coon Cat Runs Away – Practical Solutions

An unfortunate fact is that a lot of cats go missing from home. It can be very distressing as questions swirl through your head. This article will work through understanding why cats go missing and what practical steps you can take to find or lure them back.

If you are worried your Maine Coon could run away and find itself in some kind of danger or get lost, you should, first of all, take some preventive measures before it occurs. You can microchip your cat – it’s cheap, it’s a quick and an easy procedure It allows anyone who may find your cat to identify them and contact you. 

Always keep a current photograph of your cat handy so you can easily use it to ask people if they’ve seen a cat like yours in the unfortunate case she goes missing. At least when you go outside with your Maine Coon, provide them with a collar with a tag – it’s not as definitive as a microchip, but it would make it easier for anyone who may find your cat to read your contact and make a phone call.

Alita the Maine Coon on a hammock

Maine Coon Finding – At A Glance

I realize that you may be reading this article for an immediate list of things to do. I hope this is not the case – but if your Maine Coon has just gone missing and you need a quick summary of what you should do, here’s an at-one-glance summary.

  • As cats are crepuscular creatures, the best time to search for your lost Maine Coon is at dawn or dusk. Go out with some cat food and bring a flashlight. At first, shake the treat jar just outside your house. Your cat should be able to hear it and run to you. If you go searching for your Maine Coon, bring the treat jar with you – the same you usually use so your Maine Coon can recognize the familiar sound – and keep on shaking it. You can also record the sound and use your smartphone to play it.
  • Make flyers that show your Maine Coon’s picture (full body). Lots of people post these filers in vet offices and feed stores, but your Maine Coon could have gone anywhere so post the fliers wherever you can.
  • Call the local papers and place a lost cat ad. The same way and with the same request, call local radios. Also contact your veterinarian: someone who may have found your cat could have taken him or her to the vet to get their microchip read. Some people also take lost cats to the vet because they can’t keep them. So tell your veterinarian that your Maine Coon is missing so that she can let you know any news she heard.
  • Check local newspapers for lost and found daily ads. The local animal shelters are a must as well.
  • Check trees around your property. Sometimes cats “go missing” just because they have climbed a tree and they’re scared to come down.
  • If you see a dead animal on the road near your home, find a way to remove it from the street. Other animals – including your missing Maine Coon – could be curious and go dangerously close to the road
  • Consider Facebooks ads. A picture of a lost cat, the word REWARD can be targeted to everybody within a radius of your home. Facebook allows you to target quite specifically.
  • Leave a favorite bed or toy outside

Alita the Maine Coon outside in caged balcony

What Can You Do If You Can Spot Your Maine Coon But She Doesn’t Let You Come Close?

Try to use the treat jar shaking trick to let your Maine Coon come closer. If it doesn’t work, bring some food and water, leave it there and step back. Wait for your cat to come closer and wait until she’s eating her food. She’d become calm enough to let you come closer and grab her.

If you can’t find your cat try to keep hope alive. I know it’s hard, but cats can come back home even after a long time.

I have had several cats go missing and have talked to quite a few friends about theirs. The longest I have heard of is 8 months. An outdoor cat in a rural area suddenly went missing and then 8 months later it was found on the top of the fridge. Completely fine as well. If you search the internet, there are stories of cats wandering off for 6 years.

Alita the Maine Coon in Car front seat

My Cat Has Gone Missing – So Will They Come Back?

In 2012, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals did a study to answer this very question.

The study was done on lost pets, so it included dogs, but the relevant cat statists are as follows;

  • 75 percent of cats reported lost were returned safely to their homes.
  • 2 percent of cat owners found their lost pets at shelters.

What that says is that most cats that are ‘lost’ eventually come back and that you are not likely to find them in a shelter.

The simple answer is yes, most likely. As Maine Coon owners we tend to worry a lot, and let our imagination run wild. Ask anyone to name a cat’s basic characteristics, and they are likely to say intelligent, agile and natural predator.

Yet cats can be dim, clumsy and some wouldn’t hurt a fly. So despite being better known for having territories and knowing their location, they can quite simply become lost. They can get into confrontations with other felines and have to take the long way round to get back home.

It seems quite normal for cats to go for a little wander for up to 5 days in their lifetime, so if your cat has not come back, then it’s best not to worry too early.

You have to remember a cat is a very resourceful animal. They are quite capable of making decisions that don’t fit in with their conventional norm. During the Oakland Hill fire in 1990 around 2000 homes were completely destroyed. Almost everyone assumed that the neighborhood cat population had been decimated.

Everyone was wrong.

After 2 weeks or so, when they had been driven from their hiding places by thirst and hunger, dozens and dozens of cats came out of hiding holes and sewers where they had fled to safety.

Cats have heightened threat instincts and are very situationally aware. The first thing is to remember that they are likely safe.

Alita the Maine Coon watching river

When Should I Worry?

When they are lost and disoriented, cats’ behavior is variable. Some may have left a trace using urine and pheromones secreted from their glands, some may travel miles and miles trying to return home. If your cat doesn’t come home after a couple or several hours, you should just be patient and wait. Male cats could have got into a fight with a worthy adversary, like a rat and just be ‘sitting it out’ for a while. He will come back to a source of easy food.

If 24 hours have passed and still your Maine Coon isn’t home, then the time has come for you to take some actions like those we described above.

How Long Can A Maine Coon Survive Without Food, Water, And Shelter?

Is this really something you need to worry about? Keep on reading as we discuss the matter.

Like any living being, cats need food and water to survive. They are made of 75% of water which means that they can suffer dehydration. They can lose water very quickly and the effect of dehydration can be potentially very dangerous (just like it happens for humans). 

A typical cat can survive with no water for 2-4 days – but unless you live in the desert it’s very unlikely that you’re lost Maine Coon won’t be able to find any source of water. Maine Coons left alone in the house run a higher risk of being left without a water source and get dehydrated.

A cat that has access to water can survive without food for up to 14 days. But should you really worry about your cat being able to find a food source? Cats are survival specialists. Even if your Maine Coon has always lived indoors she won’t have forgotten her hunter instinct and – although she can face some periods where food is scarce – she will most likely be able to find a food source whether it is through hunting or just rummaging her and there. 

The same is for water and shelter. Even though your Maine Coon isn’t used to staying outside for long periods and she can’t find her way home, she will most likely find a safe spot to take a nap, and a water source to survive.

Alita the maine coon outside on a handrail

Becoming A Maine Coon Detective – 7 Tips To Lure Your Maine Coon Back

  1. Use food to lure them

We already mentioned this tip: trying to call your Maine Coon through sounds and smells that can remind her of food. Sometimes regular food won’t work: you’ll need to use some particularly tasting and good-smelling food like fish or meat. Try to heat and reheat the food every so often to keep the aroma strong and let your Maine Coon be attracted by it.

  1. Put your Maine Coon’s bed or favorite blanket outside

Any familiar scent can be useful to make your Maine Coon come home. Put your Maine Coon’s bed or favorite blankets outside. Also, try to put a scoop of used litter outside along with anything that your Maine Coon usually recognize as their own. The familiar scent will most likely appeal to your cat and lure him home.

  1. Leave your garage slightly open

For some reason, cats seem to prefer sneaking home rather than announcing themselves. If you leave a crack open you’re increasing the chances of your Maine Coon coming home.

  1. Leave a carrier and food outside

Leave your Maine Coon’s carrier outside along with food and water. This is a shelter that your Maine Coon will recognize as her own and she’ll be more likely to be found there.

  1. Make your Maine Coon hear your voice

Go outside – the best moment of the day would be at dusk or dawn since cats are crepuscular creatures- and call your cat, say their name or chat, sing… Make your Maine Coon hear your voice so that you can help them find their way home.

  1. Prepare a flyer

As the days pass you may need to actively search for your Maine Coon rather than waiting for her to come home. Prepare a flyer with your Maine Coon’s photo (full-body) and your contacts so that anyone who spots a cat that looks like yours can call you and let you know. If several days have passed, it could have also happened that someone has already found your Maine Coon and wasn’t able to contact her owner (that’s why it’s important to microchip your cat or provide them with a collar and ID tag). Flyers could help you find your cat’s rescuer and get our Maine Coon back home.

  1. Search your neighborhood

Walk or drive slowly through the streets around your house, call your Maine Coon’s name and shake a treat jar. Also, use this occasion to talk to your neighbors and let them know that you’ve lost your Maine Coon. Ask them if they have seen her, or to let you know if they ever see a Maine Coon like yours around the neighborhood.

Maine Coon in grass close up

Becoming a Maine Coon Detective – Practical Steps to Take

If your Maine Coon doesn’t come home within 24 hours, start to actively search for him.

  • Avoid waiting too much time and start sharing Facebook posts or ads. With Facebook ads, you can specifically target people in your area, so this tool would be extremely useful.
  • Contact veterinarians and cat shelters around your area: sometimes people who find lost cats bring them to the veterinarian or cat shelters because they can’t keep in. Your Maine Coon could already be in one of these places waiting for you to pick her up.
  • Check your newspaper for the lost and found ads daily and contact them to possibly place an ad with your lost Maine Coon picture and your contacts.

Do All Cats Run Away – And Why Do They Run Away?

Every cat could run away but unaltered cats, and especially male cats, are more likely to do so. They tend to leave the house and get even very far from home to search for a mate.

Basically it is more risky if you have a male Maine Coon and an indoor Maine Coon. A male Maine Coon accustomed to indoor life that has not been neutered will be a flight risk during mating seasons.

Maine Coon on rock outside

Common Locations Where Missing Cats Are Found

Knowing the most common locations where missing cats are found can help you find yours.

This is the list of the most common places where lost cats are found as published by a “Missing Cat Study” (2018). These are the participants’ answers:

  • My cat was found inside my house 4%
  • My cat was found inside someone else’s house 11%
  • My cat was found inside a public building 2%
  • My cat was found outside 83%

Cats that were found inside were found:

  • Behind or under furniture 33%
  • In basement 33%
  • In furniture 11%
  • Bedroom 22%

Cats that were found outside were found:

  • Found hiding under vegetation/shrubbery 16%
  • In a garage 4%
  • In a shed or barn 3%
  • In a vehicle 0%
  • In a wood-pile 0%
  • In a yard 20%
  • In farm or woods or forest 2%
  • Storm drain or sewer 4%
  • Under a garage 1%
  • Under a shed 2%
  • Under house 5%
  • Under vehicle 3%
  • In or between fencing 1%
  • Under patio/deck/porch 10%
  • In cat trap 4%
  • On road-side 1%
  • Up a tree 1%
  • With a feral colony 1%
  • Waiting outside home/house 19%
  • Outside a building (e.g., apartment complex, commercial buildings) 3%
  • Balcony 1%

Alita the Maine Coon on a gorge

Is There a Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Cats To Go Missing?

Outdoors cats have better chances of being able to take care of themselves if they’ll ever get lost. On the other hand, outdoors cats tend to walk longer distances when they’re lost so they can get very far from home.

Preventing Your Maine Coon Running Away

  • Microchip your Maine Coon

Be ready for the possibility of your Maine Coon getting lost. Provide your cat with a microchip so that anyone who possibly finds her can contact you.

  • Neuter your Maine Coon

Unaltered cats are more likely to get away from home to search for possible mates.

  • Always keep a clear full-body picture of your cat

If you’ll ever need to print flyers or post Facebook ads you want to have a recent full-body picture of your Maine Coon to show.

  • Collar and tag

Provide your Maine Coon with a collar and an ID tag and make sure to write your contact on it.

  • Take your Maine Coon outside often

Especially if your Maine Coon isn’t allowed outsides alone, take her outside as often as you can so she can get used to the outside world and she’ll be able to defend herself and find her way home if she’ll ever get lost.

Alita the Maine Coon looking at camera

Why Do Cats Go Away When The End Is Near?

If your cat has gone away it could be because he or she is sick. Why do they do that? Cats don’t know what death is and they probably go away just because they feel sick and therefore vulnerable. Injured cats also often hide for the same reason – they are defending themselves from possible predators. If this is the case, actively searching for your Maine Coon would increase your chances to find her or him.

What a Lost Pet Study Revealed

A pet study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website revealed some important outcomes that could be useful to those searching for their lost Maine Coon:

  1. of cats come back home within 7 days
  2. A physical search of your Maine Coon can increase your chances to find her by 75%
  3. Cats allowed outdoors travel longer than indoor cats
  4. Some more curious cats can be found inside other people’s homes

How To Act When Your Maine Coon Comes Back

  1. Feed her/him

Maine Coons are great hunters and they most likely won’t starve, but they most certainly have had access to a lot less food than usual. As your Maine Coon comes home, she’ll be hungry. Feed her and give her some water.

  1. Contact your veterinarian

Especially if your Maine Coon has been away for a long time, you can’t know what she faced or what happened to her, so take her to the vet for a check-up.

Don’t berate them for causing you anxiety. If they sense anger, it is negative reinforcement. Being positive and happy to see them again makes them much more likely to want to come back should the same situation happen again.

Alita the Maine Coon looking at wildlife by river

Conclusion

If you’re having difficulties finding your lost Maine Coon don’t hesitate to contact the Animal Humane Society website for lost pets. They can provide further tips and help. 

If you have lost your Maine Coon, the first thing is not to worry. Not easy I know.

With luck, patience and care, you should have have your Maine Coon back at the house in no time at all.

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