What to Do If Your Indoor Cat Gets Outside

Don't give your indoor cat a chance to escape.
Don't give your indoor cat a chance to escape. (Image: Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Although it's easy for an indoor cat to slip through an open door or window to get outside, getting your furry pal back might be slightly more challenging. Once outside, fear will likely trigger your cat to hide and stay quietly out of sight. The good news: indoor cats usually stay near the area they know as their territory, which means your cat is probably hiding out somewhere nearby.

Initial Action

If you catch your indoor cat going outside, running towards him and making loud noise in an effort to retrieve him will only make him run away out of fear. Instead, arm yourself with his favorite snack or a dish of tuna in oil, then approach him slowly and calmly while softly saying his name to coax him to come to you. Blinding him by gently placing a towel over his head might help to keep him calm while you bring him back inside.


After discovering that your cat has escaped, searching for him might help you retrieve him. Plan to search in the evening when it's quiet outside, because your furry pal is likely to be skittish and won't show himself during daytime. Shine a flashlight, because this will light up your cat's eyes, making it easier to spot him. Your cat is likely to be within a two- to three-house radius from your home, unless something scared him out of the area. Look in drainage pipes, in the garage, in trees and heavy brush, and under buildings and cars.

Spread the Word

Making people aware that your cat is missing increases your chances of finding him. Posters with your cat's picture, his name, the date he went missing and your phone number on it can be of great help, especially if you offer a reward to motivate people to look. Distribute them over a three-block radius. Inform local animal shelters of your missing cat and consider placing an online or newspaper advertisement to reach more people.


Placing your cat's food, bedding and litter box in a sheltered area outside might lure him back to the house. After he's missing for about two days, a humane trap, which you can purchase or maybe borrow from a local animal shelter, can also do the trick. Food is used as bait to lure your cat inside the cage-like trap. Once inside, a mechanism closes the door and traps your cat. After retrieving your cat, take him to a veterinarian for a checkup and always ensure he's wearing an identification tag.

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