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.

4 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?

  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).


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