I have a cat which was at my place since its birth and we looked after him.

Recently a neighbour had problems with him, so we had to leave him at a fish market around 2 kms from our home. But now I'm missing him and want him back, so I went to the fish market to search for him but couldn't find him.

Is the any chance that he will come back on his own? We had left him before, but to a place very close to our home, and he came back in 4 days. Are there any chances that the same thing will happen again? I just want him back. Do cats come back on their own?

  • Related question Why are cats released as part of “spay and release” programs? Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 10:31
  • Hi I dont exactly have an answer, but Im in a similar situation myself. My husband abandoned one of my cats. Hes actually done it before and the last time the cat made it back home in 3 months, but this time its going on 4 months and no sign of the cat as yet. Every day that goes by I lose hope of ever seeing him again and I miss him dearly. All I want is for him to make it back. Ive been by where he left him but no sign of him. One night I saw a cat that looked like him but when I called it and shook the treats he just ran away. Dont know if it was him because I couldnt get close enough to te Commented Oct 9, 2021 at 3:44
  • Personally I would throw my neighbour in the fish market and get the cat back.
    – Hani Gotc
    Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 11:51

3 Answers 3


Abandoning a pet is illegal in many jurisdictions, and it is a betrayal of the trust your pet places in you. Apparently you've done this twice now. Pets usually do not have the skills they need to survive, and they will likely suffer from hunger or thirst, be hit by a car, die in a fight when he strays into another cat's territory, or endure some other tragedy. If your cat is lucky, perhaps someone else has adopted him.

I don't know if your cat will be able to find his way home. I don't have any good suggestions about how to find him, except that I once read that pets tend to wander in ever-increasing spirals as they look for home. I wish you the best of luck.

If your pet has behavioural problems; these can usually be sorted. Talk to your vet for advice, and ask for help on a site like this one. A pet is a responsibility.

If in the future, you find yourself with a pet you can't keep, the ASPCA has some advice on how to handle the situation humanely. Specifically, you should do your utmost to find a new home for your pet (talk to your veterinarian, dog walker, pet sitter, friends, family, co-workers, etc.). If all else fails should you place your pet in a shelter. Under no circumstances should you abandon your pet.

  • 3
    "perhaps someone else has adopted him" either that or he's adopted someone else. I know several people who will put food out for cats they see wandering about. The next thing you know, those cats have decided that they have a new owner.
    – Spidercat
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 18:52

Cats have been known to travel long distances to get home, sometimes hundreds of miles. On the other hand, cats also can revert to a kind of survival mode and not try and return home when frightened and only a few houses or blocks away.

You might want to try a more sustained search near where he was left, in case he has gone to ground there.


Cats do have some sort of "homing behaviour", but not as much as pigeons.

Unlike humans, cats use smells and sounds more than their vision. So, if they get attracted to familiar noises it might help them to find their home, even though they are far away. However, this type of behaviour has certain limits.

One time, after I brought my cat from the vet, I left him only 50 meters from his regular patrol and went to work. Apparently, the stress of the vet coupled with the stress of abandonment so he hid under a staircase and didn't move at all for several hours. When they are stressed, even 50 meters might be too far for them to get back to track.

The same cat, however, found his way back to his old garden, in a couple of weeks after I moved him 1.5 km. He probably noticed something familiar while he was carving himself a new territory and followed his instincts. I received a text from my old neighbours saying my cat is with them and when I went to pick him up, he was already gone and returned to me all by himself. So, when they have the time and when they are not stressed, 1.5 km might be a manageable distance.

To sum up, I do not believe a cat can return 2 km all by himself after being dumped. If he is fed and looked after by someone else, when he is calm, he might find a cue to help him back to his old turf.

To address the reason of abandonment, in most countries cats have a right to roam, meaning that they can't trespass. As a result, owners are not liable to any damages the cat might cause because such damages are no different than damages caused by wind or a bird. So, you don't have to solve your neighbour's problem with your cat. He, on the other hand, might have taken actions to prevent your cat from getting into his yard. There are many methods to deter a cat from getting into your garden without harming the cat. This answer explains them for a specific setting.

I hope this helps.

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