Guide: How to Get a Cat to Come Home at Night Easily

how to get a cat to come home at night

As a cat parent, it’s natural to worry when your feline friend doesn’t return home at night. This guide will provide helpful tips for how to get a cat to come home at night and ease your concerns. By understanding your cat’s natural behavior and using creative methods for luring a cat back home at night, you can ensure your furry friend’s safety during their nighttime outings. Follow these cat parent tips for nighttime outings and enjoy a peaceful sleep knowing your cat is safe and sound.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand your cat’s natural nighttime behavior
  • Create a safe and inviting outdoor space for your cat
  • Consistently train your cat for nighttime recall
  • Strategically use food and treats to encourage your cat’s return
  • Keep your cat’s safety at the forefront with proper identification and vaccinations
  • Remain patient and avoid panicking when your cat doesn’t immediately return home

Understanding Your Cat’s Nighttime Behavior

Cat behavior at night

As much as we all want our feline friends to be safe and sound indoors at night, it’s crucial to understand the natural instinct of cat behavior at night. Cats, being diurnal creatures, are often more active during dusk and dawn. The reasons behind their nighttime activity can broadly be attributed to their desire to explore, hunt, and maintain territorial claims.

Before delving into the reasons behind their feline nighttime habits, let’s address the prime concern every cat owner has. Although cats may face a heightened risk of accidents or fights with other neighborhood cats at night, it’s essential to note that these can be mitigated by understanding their behavior and devising strategies to bring them back home safely.

Remember, a cat that does not come home at night may not necessarily be lost. Instead, it may simply be engaging in typical nocturnal behavior, often remaining close to its home.

  1. Exploration: Cats are naturally curious creatures and love to explore their environment. This curiosity is especially heightened at night, as they feel more secure due to reduced noise and human activity.
  2. Hunting: As diurnal predators, cats have evolved to hunt at night when their prey is most active. Kitties on the prowl may not come home until they have explored all their hunting grounds.
  3. Territoriality: Cats are territorial animals and often engage in patrolling their territory to maintain dominance. This behavior may keep them away from home for more extended periods at night.

Now that you are aware of the general reasons behind your cat’s nighttime activity, you can influence their behavior by using consistent positive reinforcement and creating an enticing home environment for them.

Positive ReinforcementReward your cat with treats, affection, or playtime when it returns home. This encourages it to associate home with positive experiences and may make it more likely to return during the night.
Enticing Home EnvironmentMake your home as inviting as possible for your feline friend by providing them with comfortable sleeping spots, toys, and scratching posts. This may persuade them that their home is a preferable place to be rather than staying outdoors.

In conclusion, understanding your cat’s behavior at night is the first step to ensuring their safety and well-being. Armed with knowledge about their natural instincts, you can provide them with a loving home environment while devising targeted strategies to encourage their return at night.

Creating a Safe and Inviting Outdoor Space

Attracting cats to return home after dark can be made easier by designing an outdoor space that is safe and inviting for your feline friend. By creating a cat-friendly garden and leveraging positive reinforcement techniques, you can encourage your cat to spend more time around your home, making it easier for them to come inside when called at night.

Designing a Cat-Friendly Garden

Creating a garden that caters to your cat’s preferences can keep them within close proximity to your home, making it easier for you to call them back at night. Incorporate feline-friendly plants like valerian, catnip, or sunflowers to create an environment that your cat enjoys exploring. Additionally, providing safe shelters, such as small huts or covered ledges they can perch on, gives your cat a sense of security, so they feel more inclined to spend time in the area.

Ensuring your garden remains a stress-free cat environment, free from potential dangers such as toxic plants or busy roads, will increase the likelihood of your cat choosing to spend time there.

Consistency with Positive Reinforcement

Utilizing positive reinforcement techniques can help your cat associate returning home with positive experiences. For instance, rewarding feline behavior with treats, cuddles, or praise when they come back indoors can encourage them to return more frequently. Ensuring your cat has all its necessities like food, water, and a comfortable resting place will further reinforce their desire to come back home.

Training your cat for recall is an essential aspect of ensuring they return home when called at night. To achieve this, practice with your cat regularly by calling their name and rewarding them with treats or praise when they look or come to you.

By offering a rewarding and stress-free home environment, your cat will feel more at ease and may return more readily at night. This requires consistency in your training efforts and the creation of a safe, inviting outdoor space that encourages your cat to stay nearby when they venture outdoors.

Training Your Cat for Nighttime Recall

nighttime cat training

Nighttime cat training can be a game changer for both you and your feline companion. By implementing some key feline recall techniques, you can ensure that your cat returns home during nighttime outings and stays safe. Training feline behavior is all about patience and consistency, so let’s explore the steps necessary to help your cat form the habit of returning home after an evening of exploring their surroundings.

  1. Call your cat’s name: Start by calling your cat’s name in a calm and friendly tone. Choose a consistent way of doing this, such as pairing their name with a specific command like “come” or “let’s go home.”
  2. Use positive reinforcement: When your cat looks or comes to you in response to being called, reward them immediately with a treat, petting, or verbal praise. This reinforces the idea that responding to their name results in positive experiences.
  3. Set the stage: Practice these steps in a controlled environment, such as inside your home or within a secured outdoor area. Gradually increase the level of distraction and distance between you and your cat as they become more comfortable with the recall process.
  4. Apply training to nighttime outings: Once your cat has mastered daytime recall, you can start applying these techniques during nighttime outings. It is important to be patient and remain consistent, as your cat may be more distracted or focused on exploring during this time.

Remember, nighttime cat training is about consistency and patience. In time, your cat will form the habit of responding to their name and returning home during nighttime outings.

In conclusion, training your cat for nighttime recall can significantly improve their safety and ensure that they return home when called. By using the steps outlined above, you can establish a strong bond with your cat and reduce the risk of them wandering too far from home at night. Remember to always be patient and consistent in your training efforts, as this will ultimately lead to better results and a happier, more well-adjusted feline companion.

Strategic Feeding and Treats to Encourage Return

One of the essential tips for bringing a cat home at night is utilizing strategic feeding. By feeding your cat at particular times, like at dusk, you can leverage their natural hunger to prompt a return home. Moreover, using scent-appealing treats and items can make it much easier to lure your feline friend.

Using Food to Lure a Cat Home

When it comes to using food to entice cats, timing is crucial. If your cat is conditioned to respond to the sound of shaking a treat box, this method is effective for bringing them back home. Cats have a strong sense of smell, so you can also leverage this by using strong-smelling foods. In the table below, you can find some of the best foods that will help you in attracting cats with scent.

Food ItemMethod
SardinesPlace an open can of sardines outside to release the aroma.
TunaHeat up a bit of tuna, and the strong smell will attract your cat to its feeding location.
Cooked ChickenWarm up some cooked chicken; cats are typically drawn to the smell of cooked meat.
TreatsShake a box of your cat’s favorite treats to trigger a response.

In addition to food, you can place familiar-smelling items like the cat’s bed or blankets outside your home. This provides a comforting scent that further entices your cat to return.

Be patient and consistent in using food and scent strategies. Over time, your cat will become conditioned to associating these scents and sounds with coming home.

  1. Establish a feeding schedule: Feeding your cat at specific times each day, especially around dusk, will encourage them to return home for mealtime.
  2. Use familiar sounds: Shake a treat box or tap on a food canister to grab your cat’s attention and draw them back home.
  3. Utilize scent appeal: Take advantage of your cat’s strong sense of smell by using appetizing aromas, such as fish or cooked meat, to lure them home.
  4. Place familiar items outside: Make your outdoor area more inviting to your cat by placing familiar-smelling items, like their bed or blankets, in the vicinity.

By taking these measures, you can help ensure your cat returns home safely at night. Strategic feeding and using scent to your advantage are powerful tools that can significantly impact your success in bringing your cat home when the sun goes down.


In summary, successfully getting a cat to come home at night requires understanding their behavior, providing a safe and inviting outdoor space, consistent training, and using strategic feeding and scent to your advantage. By being aware of the techniques for getting a cat to come home at night and utilizing these methods, you can ensure your feline companion stays safe and content during their nighttime adventures.

As a responsible cat owner, keeping your feline friend safe is crucial. Be sure to take necessary precautions such as ensuring they are neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped. This not only contributes to better overall health but also benefits the community by maintaining a controlled feline population. Create a secure and comfortable outdoor space with a shelter fitted with warm blankets, which can be a go-to spot for your cat if they decide to stay out longer.

Lastly, remember that patience and remaining calm are key when trying to bring your cat home at night. It’s essential to keep in mind that cats are often close to home and will likely return on their own, especially during the quiet nighttime hours or when drawn by the familiar sounds and scents of home. By implementing these techniques and understanding your cat’s natural nocturnal habits, you can provide a more secure and enjoyable environment for both you and your feline companion.


Why is my cat more active at night?

Cats are naturally diurnal creatures, meaning they are more active at dusk and dawn. This is due to their instinctual hunting and exploring habits during these times. However, you can play with your cat during the day to tire them out and encourage them to return home at night for rest.

How can I make my outdoor space more appealing to my cat?

You can create a cat-friendly garden by including cat-safe plants such as valerian or sunflowers, and providing outdoor shelters for them to rest or hide. Ensure your garden is free from stressors, making it a safe and conducive environment for your cat to spend time in.

How do I train my cat to return home at night when called?

Consistency and patience are key when it comes to nighttime cat training. Begin by calling your cat’s name and rewarding them when they respond positively. As they start to associate responding to your call with positive reinforcement, you can gradually extend the training to nighttime practice.

Are there any strategies to encourage my cat to come home at night?

Scheduling feeding times around dusk can naturally attract your cat home due to hunger. You can also use the sound of shaking a treat box or the scent of tuna juice to appeal to their senses and lure them back. Placing familiar items and scents outside your home can also help entice your cat to return.

How can I ensure my cat’s safety while outdoors at night?

Make sure your cat is neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped to minimize potential risks during their nighttime ventures. Providing a shelter with comfortable bedding outside your home can also offer a secure place for them to rest if they decide to stay out later than usual.

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