Why Do Cats Hang Around Your House? (Homebody Housecats)

Updated: October 14, 2023


Cats are renowned for their wandering nature. Whether they are cherished members of a household or strays seeking refuge, you might spot them exploring the vicinity of your residence.

However, there’s no need for concern; this behavior is perfectly normal. The cat may have stumbled upon some leftover morsels, discovered a cozy nook for a nap, or simply be intrigued by the activities in your vicinity.

Cats typically have a purpose when they linger near your doorstep. Whether it’s an inadvertent act of kindness from you or your five-year-old secretly offering tidbits, there are myriad reasons why the feline takes a liking to your abode.

Who’s Feeding the Cat?

If you’re living solo, this question likely doesn’t cross your mind. However, if there are little ones under your roof or a partner with a soft spot for animals, it’s a good starting point.

Inquire with your children or spouse about any cat feeding activities they may have undertaken around the house.

Cats are naturally drawn to places where they find a reliable source of food. It matters little whether the cat is a neighbor’s pet or a stray; they all share an affinity for a good meal.

If you’re struggling to come up with another plausible reason for the cat’s frequent visits, it’s quite likely that someone in your household is extending a culinary invitation to our feline friend.

Read also: Why Do Cats Rub Against You? (The Ritual of Affection)

The Friendly Neighborhood Cat

Cats, as the saying goes, are inherently curious creatures. This curiosity often leads them to explore their surroundings, including venturing into neighboring homes.

One possible reason for this visitation is simple boredom. Cats tend to spend a significant portion of their day in a cycle of eating, sleeping, and more eating. According to cuteness.com, this exploratory behavior is deeply ingrained in their instincts.

Your neighborhood falls within their perceived territory, and they might be on a routine patrol to ensure all is in order.

Another motivation might be a desire for social interaction. Have you noticed the cat attempting to nuzzle against your leg when you’re outdoors? Or perhaps their purring becomes persistent and hard to overlook in your presence? This is often the cat’s way of extending a friendly greeting. If you’re acquainted with the cat’s owner, don’t hesitate to reciprocate the gesture.

Eventually, the cat will likely return home, only to reappear at your doorstep in due time. Taking the opportunity to get to know them might not be a bad idea.

However, if you find their visits to be a significant concern, it’s crucial to discuss this with your neighbors. Your comfort on your own porch is of utmost importance, even if it means kindly informing your neighbor that their cat is no longer welcome.

This issue could also escalate if your own pets don’t mesh well with the visiting animal. Your furry companions have a right to feel at ease on your back porch, so if the neighbor’s cat becomes a source of contention, it’s essential to have a conversation about it with them.

Your Location

Your location could very well be a significant factor in attracting cats to your premises.

As mentioned earlier, cats are instinctual hunters. Have you ever had the experience of your cat proudly presenting a mouse at your doorstep, seeking acknowledgment for its feat? This behavior is quite common.

If you have a barn on your property or reside in close proximity to one, it’s likely the reason why stray cats are drawn to the area. Barns are often rich hunting grounds for mice, and cats learn that this is where they can find their meals.

Consider the vegetation on your property. A profusion of bushes and trees can serve as hiding spots and shelters for cats seeking refuge from potential threats. With their agility and swift climbing abilities, trees become perfect sanctuaries for them to evade predators.

If you’re certain that there’s no surplus food attracting them, pay attention to where the cats predominantly congregate. The reason these strays gravitate towards your residence may very well be linked to your specific location.

Why Do Cats Run Away?

Cats venture out for a variety of reasons, but it’s rare for them to deliberately “run away.” More often, they get sidetracked or stumble into some sort of mischief.

Here are some common reasons for a cat’s wanderings:

  • Mating Instincts: If they haven’t been spayed or neutered, cats may go out in search of a mate.
  • Territorial Defense: Cats might roam to protect their territory from a neighboring feline.
  • Hunting: Your cat could have become engrossed in chasing prey, like a rodent, or discovered a trove of them near a neighbor’s chicken coop.
  • Health Concerns: If your cat wasn’t feeling well or had sustained an injury, they might have sought refuge under someone’s porch or in a barn.
  • Food Quest: Is a neighbor known for feeding outdoor cats? Your cat may have ventured to that spot. In urban areas, cats might be drawn to dumpsters or other sources of “free” food.
  • Household Disruptions: Major changes in the household, such as the introduction of new animals or people, significant home repairs, substantial alterations (from a cat’s perspective), or an unstable environment, could prompt some cats to seek out a calmer territory.

It’s entirely possible that an Animal Control officer or a Humane Society group may have come across your cat. It’s definitely worth making a few calls, as these individuals are well-placed to assist in locating your cat.

The Hungry Stray

Stray cats are a common sight in neighborhoods, and it’s not surprising that the estimated number of community cats in the United States reaches into the tens of millions.

These cats are either born in the wild or have become feral after being lost or abandoned, adapting to life in the open, such as in your neighborhood.

You might observe these feral cats (another term for strays) perched on fences, darting away at your approach, or frequently loitering near trash cans. This behavior is perfectly normal.

These feral cats will likely maintain a considerable distance from you. This indicates that they’ve become adept at surviving in the wild and have identified your home as a safe haven.

Most likely, these stray cats are on the hunt for food. If you’ve noticed the same feral cats frequenting your surroundings for an extended period, it’s likely because they’ve discovered a consistent source of sustenance or a warm, undisturbed spot.

While these cats are generally not a threat, it’s important to exercise caution when approaching any wild animal.

If you suspect a feral cat poses a danger to you or your outdoor pets, it’s best to contact your local animal shelter. They have the expertise to handle the situation properly.

However, if you have no qualms about the community cats in your vicinity, offering food from time to time could be a compassionate gesture. Feral cats are natural hunters, but during colder months, survival can become challenging as their food and shelter options dwindle.

Your Cat Made a New Friend

As previously mentioned, cats can exhibit social behavior. However, it’s possible that the attention your community cats seek isn’t directed at you. There’s a chance they’re interested in befriending a cat of your own.

However, it’s important to exercise caution. If the cats are of opposite genders and neither has been neutered, this interaction could result in unintended litters of kittens.

Even if your own feline companion is strictly indoors, the keen instincts of these cats allow them to sense the presence of a potential friend in the vicinity.

The Lost Cat

Losing a pet is a distressing experience that can happen to anyone. Sometimes, it only takes a moment for an indoor cat to dash outside if a door is accidentally left open.

Once outside, an indoor cat will likely seek shelter in a home because that environment is the most familiar to them.

If you encounter a cat trying to gain entry to your home, appears well-groomed, and is wearing a collar, it’s highly probable that the cat is lost and trying to find its way back home.

In most cases, lost cats will be wearing a collar. Take a moment to check the collar for any contact information that can help reunite the cat with its owner.

If there’s no collar, consider checking your community’s Facebook page or community bulletin boards for photos of lost cats. Additionally, get in touch with your local animal shelter as they often have information on missing pets in the area. This collaborative effort can greatly increase the chances of reuniting the cat with its worried owner.

Other Possible Reasons

If you’re inclined to believe in the popular superstitions surrounding cats, it’s entirely possible that the feline’s appearance holds significance.

Perhaps this cat has sensed a calm and harmonious atmosphere around your home. This positive energy could imply that the cat is bringing with it a sense of good fortune and luck.

As per animalwised.com, it’s often said that when a cat seeks entry to your home, it signifies that your dwelling is free from negative energies and provides the optimal environment for the cat to feel secure, fostering tranquility and good health.

Another prevailing belief is that cats possess a sixth sense. If a cat arrives at your doorstep and seems insistent on staying close, it may have a particular purpose to fulfill in your life. This mission might involve dispelling negative energies or entities, bringing a sense of purification and positivity.

The Black Cat

Is the stray cat frequenting your home black? The age-old superstition surrounding black cats and misfortune still holds sway in some circles. If the cat visiting your home is black, it might be seen as a potential harbinger of bad luck.

This belief is particularly prominent around Halloween. However, it’s essential to remember that it’s just a superstition. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to incorporate such beliefs into your life.

So, what’s the next step?

Once you’ve figured out why the cats are drawn to your home, you have various options.

If the cat’s presence doesn’t bother you and it’s not causing any disturbances, why intervene at all? Allowing the cat to explore and satisfy its curiosity is often the best course of action. It’s likely that after accomplishing its purpose, the cat will eventually move on, only to return at a later time.

On the other hand, if you have reservations about the cat being around for any reason, it’s important to take action. Whether it’s a persistent neighbor’s cat or a stray that seems potentially hazardous, reaching out to the appropriate person or authorities is the responsible choice.

Things Not to Do

It’s crucial to prioritize the well-being of the animal. If the cat, whether a stray or not, poses a threat to your own pets or yourself, contact animal control. Never attempt to harm the animal on your own. It’s important to remember that whatever the situation, it’s not the animal’s fault.

Cats facing the challenges of the wild can struggle, especially if they encounter unfavorable conditions. If they fall ill, it’s not their fault, and the situation should be handled by professionals.

Don’t rely on your own pets to resolve the issue. Allowing your cat outdoors won’t necessarily deter stray cats, and could potentially lead to territorial disputes or reproduction. It’s best to keep your own animals out of harm’s way if you perceive a potential danger from a cat.

If you don’t want the cat to return, refrain from feeding it. Offering food to stray cats will only encourage them to stick around. If you’d rather not have them frequenting your property, it’s best not to provide any incentives for their return.

In general, having cats around your home isn’t necessarily a negative situation. As mentioned earlier, it could indicate a healthy supply of rodents, a warm and inviting environment, or simply a cat-friendly neighborhood. Other superstitious beliefs may be a factor, but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide.

Always keep in mind that, whether they’re strays or not, we might be the only option a cat has for food and shelter. The next time you find a stray cat around your home, observe its behavior. Determine where it tends to linger, what might be prompting its return, and if you’re not planning to involve a shelter, consider extending a bit of hospitality to the feline.

What do I do next?

If your cat has gone missing, here are some steps you can take:

Search Your Immediate Area: Start by thoroughly searching your home, yard, and any nearby hiding spots. Cats can sometimes find hiding places in unexpected places.

Create a Safe Space: Set up a comfortable and familiar space with your cat’s bed, litter box, and some food and water. This can be a room where your cat feels secure. Leave the door slightly ajar in case your cat returns and wants to come inside.

Alert Your Neighbors: Let your neighbors know that your cat is missing. They may have seen or heard something that could be helpful. Provide a description and a recent photo if possible.

Post Flyers and Online Listings: Create posters with a clear photo of your cat, your contact information, and the area where your cat was last seen. Post these around your neighborhood, local shops, and community boards. You can also post on online platforms like social media, community forums, and local lost pet websites.

Check Shelters and Veterinarians: Contact local animal shelters, rescue organizations, and veterinary clinics. Provide them with a description and a photo of your cat. Visit shelters in person as they may not always have accurate information online.

Use Social Media: Share your cat’s information on social media platforms, local groups, and community pages. This can help spread the word quickly.

Set Up a Lure: Leave some of your cat’s favorite toys or an article of your clothing outside near your home. The familiar scent might attract them back.

Be Patient and Persistent: Keep searching and spreading the word. Cats can sometimes be elusive, and it may take time for them to return.

Consider Using a Pet Tracker: If your cat has a microchip or is wearing a GPS tracker, use these resources to help locate them.

Don’t Give Up Hope: Cats have been known to return home after being missing for extended periods of time. Keep looking and stay positive.

Why do cats hang around my house?

Cats may be drawn to your house for various reasons. They could be seeking food, shelter, or simply exploring their surroundings out of curiosity.

I have a pet cat. Could that be why other cats visit?

It’s possible. Your cat’s scent and territory markings could attract other felines to your home.

Should I be worried if a stray cat hangs around?

Not necessarily. Stray cats often seek out safe spaces, and your home may provide a comforting environment.

Can I feed a cat that visits my house?

If you’re inclined to help, providing a small amount of cat food can be a kind gesture. However, be cautious not to overfeed or create dependency.

What if the cat seems injured or sick?

If the cat appears to be in distress, it’s best to contact local animal welfare authorities or a veterinarian for guidance on how to assist.

How can I discourage cats from coming around if I don’t want them to?

You can try gently shooing them away, or use natural deterrents like citrus peels or cayenne pepper in areas you’d like to keep them out of.

Could allowing a cat to hang around be harmful to my pets?

It’s important to monitor interactions between visiting cats and your own pets. If there’s any sign of aggression or discomfort, it’s best to keep them separated.

What if I want to adopt a stray cat that frequents my home?

If you’re considering adopting a stray, consult with a local animal shelter or rescue organization for guidance on how to proceed with the process.


Having cats hang around your house, whether they are cherished pets or curious strays, is a common occurrence with various underlying reasons. It’s important to approach these situations with kindness and consideration for the well-being of the cats and your own pets.

If you choose to provide assistance to a visiting cat, do so responsibly, ensuring not to create dependency or jeopardize their health. And if you’re considering adopting a stray, seek guidance from local animal welfare organizations to ensure a smooth transition.

Michael R

Michael R

I'm a publisher and editor at Cat Guide 101. I imagine that since you’re here, you likely own a cat — or two! — so helping you better understand them is my aim. I'd like to invite you to check out our about page to learn more about the Cat Guide 101 story.

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