How far from home do domestic cats roam?

.If you have an outdoor cat, you likely have been recognizing him wandering all around the neighborhood, kicking butts of other tomcats on the way, raiding through trash bins and singing serenades to cat ladies on balconies.

Cat roams in street away from home
Photo by Takashi Hososhima, cc

And, if you are at least tiny bit like most other human beings, you’ve probably wondered how far your cat might have walked on his journey? Was it the fish shop over the corner or the central mall miles away? Let’s find out how far do cats roam, as well as how many miles a cat walks during the day.

How far cats roam depends on several factors

Research shows that area, through which cats travel, varies greatly depending on the environment, availability of food, and mating partners. For example, the distance a cat would not be the same in New York City and bushes of Australia, right?

Male cats are reported wandering anywhere from 2.1 acres up to 1038 acres in the wild environment.

On average, the size of a territory covered by a cat is:

  • 42 acres for female cats;
  • 153 acres for male cats.

If we assume those areas circular with a cat’s home (your house, e.g.) in the center, this means male cats on average wander 500 meters (or 1500 feet) away, while female cats are less curious – they walk approximately 230 meters (or 750 feet) away from home.

However, in real life, those territories are never circular, and distances how far cats roam will still vary highly. It depends on the area, spay/neuter status of the cat, food available, the cat’s personality and other factors.

How much do cats walk during the day?

From another point of view, we also have studies that show cats typically travel from 70 to 850 meters (up to 930 yards) per day on their own feet. We can assume that most outdoor cats would cover distances somewhat in between, and not much longer than 850 meters.

Of course, we also have some extreme cases, where cats travel miles and miles from their new home, back to their old ones, or, in rare cases, in a different direction.

For example, a cat named Sugar had been reported traveling 1500 miles (2500 km). He did so after his owners moved to their new home and left the cat behind. The cat followed and found his owners more than a year later. How he did this, no one has a clue, but it calculates the cat traveled roughly 4 miles per day.

Of course, this case, happening in the 1950s, is a rarity and a story everyone raises their eyebrow for. At the same time, other stories about cats traveling several hundred miles or kilometers for a reunion with their owners are pop up in the news now and then. But we should not use these stories to form our view about how far cats typically roam.