Cats are mysterious creatures, to say the least. As cat owners, we realize that their behaviors can often leave us scratching our heads in confusion.
Have you ever recently started to notice that your beloved feline has been running away from you?
This peculiar behavior can be disconcerting, but fret not.
This article aims to unravel the mystery behind your speedy feline as well as practical solutions to establish a stronger bond with your cherished pet.
Why Does My Cat Run Away From Me?
Many cat parents know that cats are finicky creatures. They can have a change of preference and taste faster than you can say “Here kitty kitty”.
The same thing applies to their mental and emotional states from time to time.
Even though cats are creatures of habit, they are hard to predict.
Here are some possible reasons that can make your cat run away from you.
You Have A Shy Cat
Every cat is different and has its own unique personality. Some cats are more introverted than others and your cat could be one of them.
If you notice that your cat follows and then runs away from you at times, it could be that your cat is just acting up a little and is trying to be more cautious.
Approach your cat slowly and gently without any sudden movements.
You will find that your cat will be more receptive to you and will be less inclined to run away.
Cats That Are Not Properly Socialized
Cats that are not properly socialized when young can lead to many behavioral problems.
Cats with poor socialization are usually more fearful and suspicious of humans and tend to run away when you approach.
You will see more of such behaviors in a wild cat or stray cat.
If you even plan to adopt a cat that has been hoarded, you might also face this problem.
It is best that you learn how to properly socialize a hoarded cat once you bring it home.
The best time to start socializing cats is when they are kittens. Their minds are a clean slate and are curious about everything.
Get them used to you touching and carrying them. This is also the best time to get them started on grooming.
The longer you wait to start grooming your cat, the more challenging it will be.
An Abusive Or Traumatic Past
Animals like humans can get affected by their past trauma especially if they have been abused or brought up in a less than ideal environment.
They could have been kept in very unsanitary conditions, physically abused or punished by harsh methods like getting sprayed in the face or with loud sounds.
This can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in cats just like in humans too.
Unfortunately, animals can’t speak hence we can only try to diagnose this issue through their current behaviors.
When a cat runs away from you, likes to hide or exhibits aggressive behaviors, it could all be due to an abusive past.
For such cats, the best thing that you can do is to be patient with them.
Always show them love and understanding and it won’t be long before they realize that you are on their side.
As strange as it may sound (pun intended), there’s a chance that your kitty might be suffering from a noise phobia if you find your cat suddenly running away from you as you approach.
Cats have very sensitive hearing which helps them when hunting and also to escape when a cat senses danger close by.
Both humans and cats have a lower and upper hearing range. We share the same lower range as cats which is at 20 Hz.
Our upper hearing range tops off at 20,000 Hz while a cat’s hearing goes all the way up to 64,000 Hz.
That’s more than 3x a human and cats have one of the broadest hearing frequencies for animals.
Furthermore, a cat’s ear is designed to amplify sounds thus making them very sensitive to sounds.
If we humans had the same hearing capabilities as cats, a book dropping on the floor would sound like a bomb blast going off.
This is why a cat hates loud noises and unexpected harsh sounds are enough to traumatize a cat.
Even your loud footsteps can be enough to send your cat running away.
Treatment For Noise Phobia
If you find your cat hiding or running away when there are loud noises around like the vacuum cleaner, hairdryer or TV, it might be a good idea to bring your cat to see a pet behaviorist.
The pet behaviorist will try to desensitize your cat to loud noises so that it can remain calm and not stress itself out whenever a loud sound goes off.
There have been reports of pets dying of fear and stress when fireworks are going off in the sky.
We definitely would want to prevent such an unfortunate incident from happening to our furry friends.
Changes In Your Cat’s Surroundings
Cats are creatures of habit and love a certain amount of structure and routine in their lives.
Therefore, if you have recently made noticeable changes to your home, it can cause your cat to run away from you.
This can be having your spouse or partner move in with you, moving to a new home or even rearranging your furniture till your interior design looks different.
Or it could also be the other way around whereby you are bringing the cat home for the first time.
If you see your cat reacting adversely to whatever changes you have made at home, don’t force or pressure your cat to adapt.
Give it time and space to slowly investigate and mark its new environment with its scent.
Cats enjoy smelling their own scent as it calms them down and let them know that they are in familiar territory.
Why do you think your cat keeps rubbing its head around your feet?
That’s because you are your cat’s butler…I mean pet owner.
Your Cat Is Being Playful
Your cat’s avoidance of you isn’t always caused by stress or fear. Cats have a playful instinct that can make them behave somewhat ‘wonky’ at times.
A typical scenario may involve your cat running away from you because they are simply engaging in a playful pursuit.
It’s their unique version of a game of tag, and you’re it!
My cat loves to run away from me, hide and then pounce on my leg as I walk past.
This action resembles how cats would hunt their prey in the wild using the element of surprise.
Your feline friend doesn’t have prey to hunt but that doesn’t mean it can’t use its instincts for a fun-filled play session.
You Are Still A Stranger To Your Cat
If you are bringing a recently adopted cat home for the first time, then you can expect your cat to avoid you for a while.
Not all cats are receptive to new environments and will take some take to adapt.
What you can do for your recently adopted cat is to make it as comfortable as possible.
It is best to keep your new cat in a room by itself until it is ready to explore the house on its own.
Don’t overwhelm your cat’s senses and slowly progress through the get-to-know sessions.
Cats aren’t pack animals that thrive in groups.
Since the dawn of men, cats are solitary animals and prefer to roam the lands alone. Don’t expect them to behave all cozy and affectionate right off the bat.
If your new cat runs away from you, that’s normal behavior.
Cats Like Their Personal Space
Cats learn to be independent at a very young age and have to fend for themselves once mommy cat stops feeding them.
As mentioned above, cats are solitary creatures and prefer to be alone, most of the time.
Sure, you have domesticated cats that are very needy and sticky with their owners. But generally, many cats don’t like to be cuddled or cuddle 24/7.
Even though your cat loves to spend time with you, allow it to chill on its own every now and then. Even more so when your cat is running away from you.
Before you bring a recently adopted cat home, there are certain things that you need to be aware of if you already have cats at home.
There’s a chance that your cats won’t accept the new cat. Or the new cat might get bullied by a dominant cat at home.
Cats are very sensitive to smell. Therefore if the new cat smells the scent of the dominant cat on you, it might run away out of fear and anxiety.
How you introduce the recently adopted cat to the other cats is very important.
Don’t just put all of them in the same area on the first day and expect them to get along after sniffing each other’s butt.
Poor socialization technique is a recipe for disaster.
Place the new cat in a separate room away from the other cats and only allow them to smell or see each other through a door or netted fence.
Once you are sure that there is no aggressive behavior like hissing and growling then it is time to let them interact under strict supervision.
Do it well and your cats will live in harmony with little drama.
Use this same method if you have other non-cat pets at home.
Mating Season Is Here
Unneutered male cats or unspayed female cats tend to behave differently when they are in their heat cycles.
During mating season, the main goal of unsterilized cats is to mate and reproduce. It is just nature’s way of keeping the species alive.
If you keep your male cat indoors, he will feel the urge to roam far and wide to find a female in heat.
They tend to be aggressive and territorial especially when they sense other cats nearby. The last thing on their mind is to be affectionate with you.
If you have yet to sterilize your cat, it would be good to know the pros and cons of neutering your cat. Many cat owners feel that the benefits of such a procedure far outweigh the cons.
Your Cat Might Be In Pain
Cats are masters of disguise and do a pretty fine job of hiding any pain or discomfort.
However, if you find that your cat has been running away from you recently, there’s a chance that it might be in pain.
Other telltale signs that your cat is in pain or discomfort:
- loss of appetite
- sudden weight loss
- more lethargic
- hiding most of the time
- hissing and growling at nothing
- not using the litter box properly
If you find your cat running away from you and showing some signs as mentioned above, I would strongly recommend that you bring your cat to the vet asap for a checkup.
Their Heart Is No Longer In Your Home
I meant it figuratively not literally.
Have you ever had a neighbor’s cat that seems to prefer spending more time at your house instead? There might even be days when it even sleeps over in your room.
It has been frequently said that cats are only loyal to the human that provides it food and shelter.
And I don’t think it’s totally true.
Cats, like most pets, do crave and desire a certain amount of TLC from their pet parent. Having a cat is more than just providing the basic necessities.
It is also important for your cat to feel loved and cared for at an emotional level.
Animals have feelings too.
If you let your cat roam outside most of the time and don’t bother spending quality time with it, don’t be surprised if you have a missing cat or one that runs away from you.
How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Running Away From?
Don’t be discouraged if your cat has been giving you the cold shoulder of late. It isn’t the end of your relationship and it is definitely salvageable.
Cats can be stubborn and difficult to train but with some patience and perseverance, your cat can be conditioned to be receptive to your advances.
Start From Ground Zero
Since you can’t exactly pinpoint what is causing this issue, the best way to try and stop your cat from running away is to start from scratch for the next few weeks.
Even if your cat isn’t a new addition to the family, start treating it like one.
No more picking up your cat as and when you like. No more asking your cat to come over for pets or to sit on your lap.
Everything now is on your cat’s time and comfort.
The aim is to let your cat come to you only when it wants to. By doing so, you are telling your cat that you’re here if it wants your company.
Very soon, you will find your cat coming to you more often and that’s when you can start to initiate some contact.
Learn To Read Your Cat’s Body Language
Although our feline friend can’t communicate with us like how another human would, we can tell a lot just by observing their body language.
If you notice that your cat has a habit of running away from you, take a few seconds to really observe its body language as you approach.
Does your cat look fearful? Are the ears tucked back? Is it hissing or growling at you? Is it thumping its tail aggressively on the floor?
These signs usually mean that your cat is upset or angry about something and it would be worth trying to figure out what’s triggering it.
Don’t further approach your cat and let it calm down before trying again. You don’t want to further deepen the connection between you and running away.
If it runs away without showing any of these signs, then it could just be your cat not being comfortable around you at that moment.
When we were kids, getting a star or a compliment in front of the entire class will make us happy and spur us on to do better.
The same goes for cats and it is an excellent way of building up your cat’s confidence.
When your cat approaches you on its own, praise it generously in a high pitched voice.
Studies have shown that cats respond better to higher frequencies due to their sensitive hearing, reaching a frequency of 85 kHz.
Feel free to also give it some treats and lots of pets.
Basically, give your cat what it likes when it comes to you.
Over time, your cat will draw the association of getting lots of good stuff when it approaches you.
You can also reward your cat the same way for not running away if you approach it. This will also help your cat understand that you mean no harm.
Do Not Verbally And Physically Abuse Your Cat
No matter how frustrating it gets, do not raise your voice to scold your cat.
Your cat might not understand the words but it sure as heck can feel the harshness in your voice.
Physically abusing your pet is punishable by law and they don’t ever want to cross that line.
Doing any of the above will reset all your progress back to zero and more.
Step away from your cat and do something else if you are starting to feel frustrated.
Give Your Cat An Escape Zone
One thing that cats hate is the feeling of being cornered.
An animal that is cornered will go into flight or fight mode. And since your flighty cat can’t flee, its only option is to fight.
The one thing that you don’t want to happen is for your little kitty to unleash its fangs and claws on you out of fear.
Prepare an area of the house that your cat can escape to if it feels threatened by you.
If your cat likes being on the low ground like the Persian or Ragdoll, then having a cardboard box for it to hide inside would be good.
If you have a cat that likes high places like the Bengal or Siberian, then having a high platform where your cat can jump onto and observe its surroundings would be perfect.
Having interactive toys placed around the house is also a good way to loosen up your kitty and put it in a more playful mood.
Take It To The Vet
If you have been trying your best to rebuild the trust and bond with your cat but to no avail, the next best is to bring it to the vet for a proper checkup.
Even if there are no external injuries or wounds on your cat, there could be something else that can be causing pain or discomfort to your cat.
Your vet will probably run a full blood test on your cat just to be sure.
As much as we want to show love and affection to our darling cats, we have to realize that things can only work if we move at their pace.
Don’t feel discouraged if your cat seems cold and distant out of the blue. Chances are it just wants to be left alone and will come to you once it’s ready.
However, if you do feel that your cat is avoiding you because it is in pain then please bring it to the vet for a thorough check.
Iggy Thorne, also known as ‘Iggy the Explorer,’ is a seasoned writer with a flair for adventure and a deep love for animals.
Not only does he craft captivating stories often set in the great outdoors, but he’s also a dedicated pet owner who has owned and fostered both dogs and cats.
His expertise in animal care extends to volunteering at local shelters, making him a credible voice in pet ownership.
With a unique blend of humor and adventure, Iggy’s writing is as engaging as it is informative.