Will Cats Come Home If It Rains?

Do Cats Have a Natural Instinct to Seek Shelter from Rain?

Cats have an innate drive for warmth and comfort that leads them to seek shelter when it’s cold or wet outside. According to the ASPCA, domesticated cats still possess natural instincts from their wild ancestors to find refuge in bad weather.[1] Just like their big cat cousins, domestic cats are programmed to seek cozy, dry areas to wait out storms or rainfall. This instinct gives them the best chance of staying warm and dry.

However, each cat has their own personality and tolerance for getting wet. While most cats head for cover when it starts raining, some don’t seem to mind getting damp and may not rush for the indoors right away. But in general, it’s rare for a cat to want to remain outside getting soaked in the rain if they have access to dry shelter.

[1] https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/me-time-many-cats

Why Might a Cat Stay Out in The Rain?

Even though cats generally dislike getting wet, there are some reasons why a cat might end up staying outside when it starts raining. Here are a few explanations for why an outdoor cat may not immediately seek shelter from the rain:

Cats can get distracted and absorbed in outdoor activities like exploring, patrolling their territory, or hunting prey. When focused on these pursuits, a cat may not notice that it has started to rain. By the time they realize it, they are already getting wet. As one cat owner relates, “My cat loves to hunt and will get so focused on chasing something that he doesn’t realize it’s pouring until he’s already drenched” (source).

Even if the cat notices the rain starting, some cats simply enjoy being outside and don’t want to cut their outdoor adventure short. An indoor/outdoor cat that is used to accessing the outdoors freely may try to stay outside in the rain as long as possible before coming back inside. They may tolerate getting a bit wet if it means more time exploring, patrolling, or playing outside.

How Does a Cat’s Fur Help Repel Water?

A cat’s fur contains natural oils that help repel water and keep their skin dry. According to Basepaws, “Unlike some dogs, feline fur is not adapted to repel water. If cats go into the water, their coat will be saturated.”

While cat fur doesn’t actively repel water, it does provide some protection. The outer layer of fur consists of longer guard hairs, while the inner layer has shorter, finer hairs closest to the skin. This double layer creates insulation that helps prevent heat loss even if the fur gets wet. The insulation from their fur coat allows cats to maintain their body temperature better than if they had wet skin exposed to the rain.

So while rainy conditions will still make a cat’s fur wet, the layers work together to decrease water penetration to their skin. The natural oiliness also reduces how quickly the fur saturates during light rain. But given enough exposure, their fur will get drenched in heavy or prolonged wet weather.

Do Cats Dislike Getting Wet from Rain?

Most cats do not enjoy getting soaked by rain. Their fur lacks the water-resistant oils found in ducks and other waterfowl, so it quickly becomes saturated and heavy when wet. This leaves cats feeling weighed down, uncomfortable, and vulnerable. Additionally, wet fur does a poor job of keeping cats warm, causing them to lose body heat rapidly in the rain. For these reasons, cats will generally seek shelter to stay dry when it starts raining heavily.

However, some cats do not mind light rain. If it’s just a drizzle or light shower, a cat may continue napping or playing outside if it’s not bothered by the wetness. Kittens and younger cats in particular sometimes enjoy playing in light rain, pouncing in puddles, or batting at raindrops. Still, given the choice most cats would prefer to remain dry, even during a gentle rain shower. Their distaste for water means they try to avoid getting drenched whenever possible.

What Health Risks Do Cats Face from Being in The Rain?

When cats get drenched in the rain, it can lead to some potential health issues. The main risks are hypothermia and respiratory infections. This is because the cold rain can lower a cat’s body temperature and make it difficult for them to maintain their normal temperature. If a cat’s temperature drops too low, it puts them at risk of hypothermia. Their fur coat does provide some insulation, but if they remain wet for too long, it can still lead to dangerous drops in body temperature.

Additionally, when a cat gets wet and chilled from rain, it can weaken their immune system and make them prone to bacterial or viral respiratory infections. The dampness and cold stresses their body, inhibiting their normal immune defenses. Upper respiratory infections like feline calicivirus are common in cats that have been exposed to rain and cold weather.

Some key symptoms of hypothermia in cats include lethargy, weakness, shivering, and very low body temperature. Signs of respiratory infection include nasal discharge, congestion, sneezing, coughing, fever, and discharge from the eyes. So if your cat has been stuck out in the rain, monitor them closely for these types of symptoms and call your vet promptly if you have any concerns.

Most indoor cats that accidentally get caught in the rain will be able to dry off and recover without issues. But kittens, elderly cats, and cats with pre-existing health conditions are most vulnerable. Keeping your cat inside and dry is the best way to avoid these health risks.

Source: https://www.quora.com/Do-cats-get-sick-from-being-out-in-the-rain-overnight

How Can I Keep My Cat Safe and Dry When It’s Raining?

If you have an outdoor cat, it’s important to provide a warm, dry shelter for them to take refuge when it starts raining. Here are some tips to keep your cat comfortable and safe during wet weather:

Provide a covered space outside. This could be a cat house, a sheltered porch area, or even a cardboard box with a tarp over it. The shelter should be elevated off the wet ground and have ample room for your cat to turn around and lay down inside. Make sure the entrance is covered to block wind and rain.

Line the floor with dry blankets or towels that you can change out when they get wet. This will help your cat stay warm and dry. Avoid using fabrics like wool that will stay damp and get musty.

Make sure your cat comes inside when it is heavily raining. While many cats don’t mind a light rain shower, heavy downpours can quickly lead to hypothermia. Try to bring your cat inside or provide access to a dry garage or basement if there is a major storm.

Give your cat a quick rub down with a towel if they get wet before letting them inside. Focus on their paws, belly, and ears. Don’t bathe a cat who just needs a spot dry-off.[1]

By providing a warm, dry shelter and bringing your cat indoors during heavy rain, you can help keep your feline friend safe and comfortable even during wet weather.

When Should I Be Concerned if My Cat is Out in The Rain?

While most cats have thick, water-resistant fur that can withstand light to moderate rain, there are some situations where you should be concerned if your cat is outside during wet weather.

If very heavy rain or storms are occurring, it’s best to try to bring your cat inside. Cats can become anxious, stressed or disoriented during thunderstorms or heavy downpours. Exposure to heavy rain for an extended period can also lead to hypothermia or respiratory infections.

According to this source, loud thunder and heavy rain will likely make your cat want to seek shelter as soon as possible.

You should also be concerned if your cat is elderly, sick, or has thin fur. Older cats or cats with medical conditions may have a weaker immune system and be more prone to illness if caught out in the rain. Cats with thin coats won’t have as much natural insulation against the wet and cold.

In these situations, try to bring your cat inside where it’s warm and dry. Provide a cozy blanket or bed where they can comfortably curl up until the rain passes. If your cat absolutely refuses to come in, ensure they have access to covered shelter like a porch or garage.

In general, use your best judgment based on the severity of weather and your cat’s age, health and fur thickness. When in doubt, do what you can to keep your feline friend safe, warm and dry.

How Can I Get an Outdoor Cat to Come Inside When Raining?

If your outdoor cat refuses to come inside when it’s raining, there are some tactics you can try to entice them back into the house:

Offer treats, toys, or catnip as an incentive to come back indoors. Place these items just inside the door or around the opening to lure your cat back in. Food motivated cats may happily trade the rain for a tasty snack.

You can also try blocking access to outdoor shelter areas that your cat likes to hunker down in when it rains. This could be a covered porch, shed, car port, or crawl space. Close off these dry spots to gently encourage your cat to opt for the comfort of indoors instead.

It’s best not to forcibly pick up a resistant cat and bring them in. This can cause stress and make them distrust coming inside. With positive reinforcement like treats and removing outdoor options, you can get your cat to willingly come in from the rain.

Will My Indoor Cat Try to Go Outside if It’s Raining?

Most indoor cats will not want to go out when it’s raining. Cats by nature dislike getting wet and will usually prefer to remain dry indoors. However, some curious or stir-crazy cats may try to sneak outside even when bad weather strikes.

Indoor cats live comfortable lives inside our homes and have access to food, water, litter boxes, toys, window perches, and affection. So rain alone is not enough of a reason for most content indoor cats to want to leave their comfort zone and venture into the wet outdoors.

However, cats that are bored, lonely, or naturally curious and adventurous may see rain as an exciting change of pace. These cats may suddenly insist on being let outside when they hear or see rain falling. They may dart towards doors and meow persistently. Some clever cats can even work out how to open doors and sneak outside when we aren’t looking!

If your indoor cat is obsessed with going out into the rain, think about ways to provide more stimulation indoors. More playtime, puzzle toys, cat trees and perches by windows can all help entertain them. It’s also a good idea to check your home for any escape routes they may be using.

But remember – while rain can seem fun and novel to certain cats, it does pose health risks. So try to keep kitty entertained and confined indoors when the weather is wet outside.

Fun Facts About Cats and Rain

Cats have some interesting ways of dealing with getting wet from rain. Here are a couple fun facts about cats and rain:

Cats shake themselves off to dry faster. A wet cat can shake its body vigorously to remove excess water from its fur. This helps the cat dry off quicker than just waiting for its fur to air dry. The shaking motion works because it takes advantage of physics – the cat’s fur strands separate and the water droplets fly off from the acceleration.[1]

The angle of a cat’s urine helps limit leg wetness! When a cat squats to pee, its urine comes out at a slight backward angle. This helps prevent the cat’s hind legs from getting splashed.[2] Pretty clever of cats to have this evolutionary adaptation.

So while cats may not love getting drenched in rain, they have some neat tricks to deal with it. Their ability to dry themselves quickly and pee strategically shows how resourceful cats can be!

[1] https://www.temptationstreats.com/cat-care/10-sassy-fun-cat-facts-curious-owners
[2] https://www.cracked.com/image-pictofact-7224-27-facts-about-cats-and-dogs-raining-like-cats-and-dogs

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