Going home after work and encountering a stray kitty on your porch is a rather puzzling experience. What does it mean when a stray cat comes to your house? What should you even do in such a situation?
Whether you’re looking for a practical or spiritual answer to those questions, we’ve got both below.
What does it mean when a stray cat comes to your house?
An encounter with a stray cat at your home’s door can be viewed through a few lenses, but mainly from a practical and spiritual point of view. So, let’s go over both here.
The practical explanations
If a cat has suddenly appeared at your doorstep, it’s likely one of the following four:
1. A lost cat
The usual scenario is that the cat you’re seeing is the pet of someone from your neighborhood that just got lost. This is usually the case when the kitty has a collar and is seemingly well fed and taken care of.
2. An abandoned cat
Similar to a lost cat, a recently-abandoned one will usually look a bit better than a stray too – with a smoother coat and a relatively well-fed belly. An abandoned cat usually won’t have a collar and it may not look quite as nice as a lost cat as the owners that abandoned it probably didn’t care for it all that well. An abandoned cat usually meows more too as it’s often more distraught.
3. A stray
A stray is a cat that either has never had a human home or has been abandoned years ago. Such a cat not only wouldn’t have a collar but it will look significantly worse overall.
4. A feral cat
The rarest case – at least depending on where you live – is that you’ve encountered a feral cat. If there are forests or a mountain nearby, that’s not impossible and feral cats often traverse through suburbs in search of food similar to raccoons and other wild animals. A feral cat isn’t socialized, however, so be extra careful when approaching it.
The spiritual side of things
You don’t need to hold many – or any – spiritual beliefs or superstitions to see felines as incredibly mystical and symbolic animals. So – aside from the obvious explanation that the cat has simply found your house to be interesting or a potential shelter – what else does it mean when a stray cat comes to your house?
1. Good luck
The first thing many of us think of when we hear about cats and symbolism is that they are signs of good luck and prosperity. Beyond that, however, there are also lots of myths that a black cat brings evil omens and bad luck whereas only a colorful or white cat brings good fortune.
Needless to say, that’s far from true and there’s nothing “unfortunate” inherent to black cats. The simple reason why people thought that is that we often associate the color black with darkness, death, nighttime, and other such stuff simple folks are often afraid of. In reality, a black cat can bring as much affection and good fortune to your home as any other.
2. A test of your character
Looking after an animal, be it for the long term or just for a while can be challenging, especially if it’s your time. Cats, in particular, are often difficult for some people as raising and training them isn’t as intuitive to people as is the case with dogs.
With that in mind, finding a stray cat at your home’s door can be seen as a test of your character – both in whether or not you’ll accept the animal into your home and in how well you’ll manage to look after it. Cats are very special animals in that they are not as easy to socialize with as dogs and it takes a special person and a bit of effort to get a cat to like you and get along with you.
3. A call for you to embrace new responsibilities and adventures
Another huge symbolism of cats is curiosity. With that in mind, if a stray cat comes to your house, this tends to symbolize a call to adventure from the universe as well as a push toward new responsibilities. Taking care of the cat can be one such adventure but if there are other things in your life you’ve been postponing out of fear or anxiety, this furry newcomer can be an excellent hint that the time is now.
What should you do if a stray cat wanders into your home or property?
Regardless of how you choose to view the symbolism of a stray cat coming to your house, the next question is – what can and should you do about the animal itself? The answers here can vary greatly both depending on the cat and on your own circumstances but it almost never is “shoo it away and ignore it”.
1. Say hi from afar and try to determine if the cat is healthy and feels good
Everyone loves petty a cat but when it comes to stray and feral cats, it’s important to first examine the cat’s behavior from a distance to make sure it’s safe. If the cat is skittish it may run away if you approach it too quickly or it may scratch you if you make it feel threatened.
Females, in particular, can be in pretty bad spirits if they have a litter of newborns in the nearby bushes and they perceive you as a threat.
So, say hi from a distance, observe the animal, and approach with care. If the cat runs away, that’s fine too, you can entice it to come back again.
2. Offer food and water if it seems like the cat needs some
Once you’ve made the cat feel comfortable with your presence, you can offer some water or cat food in a bowl. You don’t need to put the food right under the cat’s nose, you can place it somewhere in its view and step away. If the cat has run away at the sight of you, you can still put a food and water bowl where the cat was and move back.
Of course, be aware that if you feed the cat, it will almost certainly come back for seconds the very next day. So, if you don’t want that, you may not want to feed the animal.
3. Check for identification
Once you’ve earned the cat’s trust and it allows you to pet and hold it, you can check for a collar or any noticeable marks that might help you find the cat’s owner if it’s not a stray. A collar is difficult to miss, of course, but you should always look for marks of a collar on the neck as there might have been a collar that got lost recently.
4. Consider sheltering the cat if you can and if there is a need
Whether the cat is lost, abandoned, or a stray, it’s a good idea to offer shelter until finding the next best step. Sheltering a feral cat is tricky and not necessarily recommended, of course, for obvious reasons.
But if it’s a stray or a lost or abandoned domestic feline, the right step is definitely to offer temporary shelter and take care of any immediate hygienic issues such as bathing the cat and treating any potential skin and fur pests and parasites.
5. Take the cat to the vet
Once the cat is safe, clean, and fed, it’s a good idea to get it to a veterinarian – preferably on the same or the next day. The vet can look for a microchip, examine the cat’s health, administer vaccination if needed, and neuter the animal too.
6. Your next options
Once the vet visit is done with too, there are 5 main roads you can explore:
- Find and contact owners – If the cat had a collar or a microchip, you should look for its owner instead of just keeping it. Consider printing a flyer or two, that’s also surprisingly effective if the owner is from your neighborhood.
- Adopt – adoption is a great idea if the cat doesn’t have an owner to return to. Cats are phenomenal pets for any family – even if you don’t think of yourself as “a cat person” chances are you’ll soon be one.
- Foster and rehome – if you’re certain you can’t keep the cat for the long term, the next best thing is to at least foster it for a few weeks or months until you can rehome it. Online ads and groups are very helpful when looking for someone to adopt your furry guest.
- Find shelter or rescue – consider contacting animal shelters or a rescue group if you can’t keep the cat even just for a while. Your local shelters are likely full to the brim but that’s still better than tossing the poor animal back on the street.
- Trap-neuter-release – If you absolutely have to return the animal back to the streets, at least consider sterilization first. Trap-neuter-return is a must as it will ensure that the cat won’t produce endless litters of new stray kittens that’d need rescue.
Finding a stray at your front door or in your yard is often adorable but also distressing. Why is it there, what does that mean, what should you do? Fortunately, the spiritual meaning of finding stray cats is as positive as the interactions with them. All this adorable encounter means is that you’ve been blessed with good luck as well as with an important responsibility.