What Does It Mean When A Cat Shows Up At Your Door?

Are you concerned about a new cat that won’t stop meowing outside your door? Feline pets might leave their usual habitat and come over to your place for several reasons. Before you take in a new cat, it is important to find out what type of kitty it is and whether it is safe to welcome it into your home.

How To Tell What Type Of Cat It Is

How To Tell What Type Of Cat It Is

Not all cats that show up at your door will be friendly pets that have just strayed away from their owner. The three categories of cats are:

  • Stray
  • Feral
  • Free-range

Stray cat: This kitty is domesticated and it likely has an owner who lives not too far away. The cat may have an identifying tag or mark indicating that it belongs to someone. But, in some instances, the pet might have a microchip under its skin, something you can only find out by visiting a veterinarian.

Feral cat: This is a non-domesticated cat. Because this type of kitty is untrained to live with humans, it might be shy, aggressive if approached, and will not beg, meow, or make eye contact.  Even if you try to let it in, it will not adapt well to living with you.

You can identify a feral cat from a stray one by checking for an ear tip, which is usually a sign that the cat has been neutered as part of the trap-neuter-return process performed on wild cats. Stray cats usually do not spot an ear tip.

Free-range: This type of cat may be tame but is usually born in inhospitable conditions such as on the streets or is abandoned by its owner.

Reasons Why A Cat May Appear At Your Door

Reasons Why A Cat May Appear At Your Door

A cat coming to your doorstep could mean several things:

Curiosity: Besides eating and sleeping, cats love to explore their surroundings. A kitty might come over to your home if it sees something interesting in the compound such as a toy. The smells and noises on the other side of the door might also trigger a puss’s curiosity.

Convenience: Cats love food. Readily available food or water outside your home can attract feline pets. They will also hang around if they find a warm, safe, and quiet spot close to your house.

Safety:  A cat asking you to let them in is likely lost, hungry, or in need of safe refuge. A well-groomed kitty with a collar is probably trying to find its owner. Harsh weather, sickness, inadequate food, abandonment, and threats from predators could lead a puss to your door.

Superstition: According to the spiritual or superstitious, a cat showing up at your door could indicate good fortune or misfortune, if it is a black puss. This is just a myth and you may or may not choose to believe it.

Steps To Take When A Cat Shows Up At Your Door

1. Find out if it is a feral cat or a stray cat

put up posters about the missing pet

Open your door to let the cat in. Usually, a stray will not have a problem coming in. A feral cat is not used to living inside a home and may refuse to come and instead opt to hang around outside.

Try gently calling out to the cat while holding out your hand. A feral will likely not meow, look at you or respond to your calls welcoming them into the house. Do not force the cat to come in as it might scratch or bite you.

2. Check for signs of ownership

If a stray cat agrees to enter your home, first check for collars, tags, or any signs showing it belongs to someone. Keep the new cat away from your other pets to avoid exposing your pets to any diseases or pests the stray might have brought with it.

If there is no visible information identifying its owner, bring the kitty to a veterinarian to check if the pet has a microchip. If it does, the owner’s information will appear and you should be able to contact them and return their cat.

3. Find out if the cat is missing

Find out if the cat is missing

If you cannot find the owner’s identifying information, do not assume that the cat doesn’t belong to someone. Before taking it in as yours, make every effort to locate its owners. Ask around your neighborhood and/or put up posters about the missing pet.

4. Provide food and shelter

Hunger, thirst, and general distress are common reasons why a cat might show up at your door. Offer the kitty some nutritious food, water, and a warm blanket to sleep on. A feral cat will usually only eat and not sleep but will return later for more food.

5. Check for disease and schedule vaccination

Check for disease and schedule vaccination

Your final option might be to adopt the kitty if you absolutely cannot find the owner and if you have the time and resources to do so.

If you haven’t had the cat checked for disease or medical issues, do this immediately. Your veterinarian will schedule a vaccination and deworming program and recommend the necessary treatment if the cat is sick.

Ask your vet about sterilizing your new pet. Sterilization can prevent the kitty from going out to mate and in the process acquire a disease. It is also a responsible way to minimize the number of kittens born in the streets and left unattended.

Can’t adopt the puss? Take it to the nearest animal shelter.

6. Prepare your home for the new pet

In addition to keeping up with the cat’s health, you also need to make your home friendly for the new puss. If you already have other pets, minimize the risk of fights by providing the newcomer with its own toys, sleeping area, and eating equipment. With time, the pets will all learn to live together.

Cats are social, territorial explorers so it is common for them to show up at a stranger’s door and maybe even ask to be let in. Before trying to befriend a kitty that comes over to your place, take the necessary precautions to avoid aggravating it and risking an attack, especially if it is a feral or distressed stray cat.

15 thoughts on “What Does It Mean When A Cat Shows Up At Your Door?”

  1. This cat comes here eveeyday now for the past 3days. It comes around 7pm and from 12 till like 5 to 6am it meows when it comes then maybe meows another2 to 3times before it leave, it has the softest meows ever. But when it sees me it runs away.

    • Hi Ella,
      You left your post almost three weeks ago… Is the cat still visiting? Is it a kitten, or an older adult cat? Is it a ‘moggie’ (mixed) type cat? is its fur short, medium or long? or does it resemble a particular breed, like a Persian, Maine Coon, etc.? (some cat breeds can have more reserved personalities than others). Have you tried leaving some food out for him (or her) and watching from inside your house? and if so, what happens?

    • I need help with I believe is a feral kitty. Found her in my yard.i have her about 5 weeks .when I put food out for her she runs away until I go back in house. She makes eye contact .she is very frightened by people even me even though she knows I feed her.

  2. Cat recently has started-+just 5 days back coming to my home door with sweet meow and sits quitely. I offered her milk dissolved in water. She had a little of it and leaves the rest quantity as it is. Pl. Guide me what does it mean and what should I provide her to eat.

  3. “… a cat showing up at your door could indicate good fortune or misfortune, if it is a black puss. This is just a myth and you may or may not choose to believe it.”

    Nice way to discourage superstition. /s 😑 Black-furred cats have the lowest adoption rates at shelters, partly due to these type of nonsense beliefs still floating around. We have an all-black Manx female and two tuxedo (black/white) females, all adopted strays, currently in their teens; and they have been nothing but a joy to our lives, especially the Manx (although somewhat shy, she’s just as sweet and loving as she can be).

    • I agree! A huge black Maine Coon showed up at my door. I did all the expected attempts to find the owner, see if it was chipped, cross posted all over the internet and have kept it safe for about a week and half now. I found someone to adopt him. He needs LOVE not judgement! What a stupid superstition. I’d keep him 100% if I didn’t already have two other cats.

  4. So, this orange cat was seen (and heard) by my mom and I on our AC unit one day (it the one that sticks out of the window) and it jumped onto our AC unit and was just chilling up on there for a while and it eventually went away.
    Then a few days later like literally yesterday we saw the same cat again though my mom was at the store my uncle was trying to clean our sink because it had black water in it and he left the door open a few times (3 or 4 times give or take) the cat then came in and just stood there near the doorway it didn’t even meow or try to rub it’s body on anything (because my uncle said that it was rubbing its body on the walls and scratching itself a lot whenever he would look outside) either just standing there.
    I was on the couch and I saw it’s head and I was shocked, I quickly called for my uncle to get the cat out which he did and shooed the cat.
    I was really scared and I told him to spray the spot where it stood on.
    Then a few hours later my mom came in and yapped at us for not putting our shoes on to get groceries and when my mom and I went out to the car for a few times when we finally got the last batch of light groceries it was my uncle’s turn to get the heavy groceries and he was almost about to head out there when I checked the door and I kid you not I saw the cat’s white whisker near the door and I was freaked out but eventually it went away and my uncle got the groceries.
    I think this cat was a stray but didn’t like its owners at all because I went outside and overheard some kids talking about a pet and they called it Luca, but then I heard one of them ask if it was their pet’s real name but the other kid didn’t answer.
    I also saw the cat walk away when I was looking in between our backyard fence and trying to take a picture of it with my phone but it walked away.

    What do you guys think this encounter means?
    Please note that I’m not very spiritual nor religious but I did have one successful manifestation once and learned how to do makeup (I used the pillow method).
    I am very connected to two dogs (A full Yorkshire and a half Yorkshire half Chihuahua) and never encountered a literal cat coming into our apartment (though I did in the past but that was at least 5 or 6 years ago).
    I really want to know why this stray was near our house, I know I love cats but this one was a little sussy, like it wants to stay, though I would love a pet I don’t know if I can handle a cat again, I mean they’re like little humans and my shared dogs are like little cute dummies that like to run around and actually make you and them ✨exercise✨.
    Thank you for reading and have a good day or night! ^^

  5. Hi I have a kitten who keep coming into our home over night and stays on one of our grey pillows. It last such a friendly kitten we think we know where it comes from such as one of our neighbors but I have a feeling they just throw the kitten out at night which is why it comes in.
    I just don’t know what to do as the weather getting colder I worry for the kitten.

  6. Hi, so I live in a quiet neighborhood with houses built side by side and close together. There’s a short-haired kitty who drops by our back porch every once in a while. I’ve found him outside in the mornings, but also at lunch times and just this evening I was on the porch and I heard him meowing as he came around the back to greet me. I’ve tried feeding him before, but he usually takes one or two bites of freshly opened canned tuna and then ignores the rest of the food, so he’s obviously regularly fed or finds food elsewhere. He’s very friendly and affectionate, but it seems he has fleas which is why I wonder if he has an owner. I don’t know if he has a good enough life as he is right now, or if I should disrupt that by taking him to a vet. I’m just a little concerned as the weather is getting colder and he seems starved for socialization with humans. He seems to be comforted by the sound of people talking…he’s tried to let himself inside the house before, but my stepfather hates cats and won’t tolerate them inside.

    Should I send him to a vet? He seems comfortable enough, but he has fleas and seems to want a home but I just can’t be sure.

  7. Once you fed a cat, it’s yours. It will never leave. So the suggestions here are stupid. Unless you want a cat but if you don’t then I’d ignore the cat. It’s tough to do that but if you’re not willing or capable to take of a pet, don’t feel forced to.

  8. There is an outdoor cat that’s been coming around since he was an older kitten (maybe 6 months old?). He’s very social and loves to be pet, but is afraid of being indoors. Any suggestions on how to get him to be ok with being inside? He does not belong to anyone and is about a year old now.

  9. i have a cat ( who at first i thought was feral ) who appeared back in december on my porch with my feral . at first he used to come at night now for the past month he just wont leave and cries to get in my home . I let him in that frigid night only because he would not go into the cat house and slept by my window with snow falling on him. He came right in and acted like he lived here . now all he does is cry at the window / door… is he cring because hes lonely ?

  10. I have an out door cat, she has been outdoor right from day one because my mum don’t like cats, so she has to stay out, I heard her crying profusely and hitting on the door, I thought she might be hungry, I opened the door and gave her food but she did not eat the food instead she wants to come inside the house. Am curious to know what lead to this recent change of hers since she don’t feel welcome in the same house she is trying to go in. We became worried thinking if the cat is possessed or something.
    What could be the course?
    Can somebody help with this please 🙏


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