Where Do Stray Cats Go During the Day?

Stray cats typically spend their days exploring hidden corners of the city, finding shelter in abandoned spots, and looking for food to survive until the safety of the night returns.

Jan 2, 2024By Monika Dimitrovska
where do stray cats go during the day

If your pet went missing or you’re just being a curious cat (no pun intended) and wonder where strays stay during the day, you’re in luck.

In today’s article, we’ll discuss the whereabouts of stray cats in detail. In short, typical places stray cats stay during the day include abandoned houses and wooded areas, as they prefer places with fewer human beings and noise.

That being said, let’s learn where outdoor cats go during the day. We’ll also share ways you can help stray cats, so let’s dive right in.

Where Do Cats Hide During the Day?

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Image credit: Wayne Low from Unsplash

To understand where outdoor cats hang out day and night, you should consider their needs. Stray cats and other stray animals, for that matter, look for areas with food and water and safe and warm shelter if possible.

They’re nocturnal creatures, so they’re most active between dawn and dusk, which makes it harder to find or spot them throughout the day. If you want to locate strays, it’s best to do it at night and bring a flashlight.

Now, let’s consider possible hiding spots for a mature outdoor cat.

Around Residential Houses

residential houses
Image credit: Rock Vincent Guitard from Unsplash

Although they’re hard to locate, outdoor cats usually hang near residential properties because that’s where they can usually find safe shelter, water, and food.

So, when looking for a specific stray or your missing kitten, look close to home. Check crawl spaces, your garage, gaps under your home, and anywhere else a cat could get into, and stay warm, dry, and safe.

Additionally, check if someone rummaged through your bins.

Strays always look for food, and unlike feral cats that will kill and eat prey, they’re not as experienced in hunting. So, they will search your trash cans for sure.

Consider Wooded Areas

wooded areas
Image credit: Niklas Ohlrogge from Unsplash

If you have wooded areas near your home or just areas with overgrown weeds or dense bushes, check them out; that’s where strays hide sometimes. They prefer wooded areas because they lack humans and have shade and possible food sources.

Check Abandoned Properties

abandoned properties
Image credit: Markus Waldow from Unsplash

If strays can’t find wooded areas to hide, they will frequent abandoned buildings and homes. Most owners find their missing cats in abandoned properties, including little-used buildings, outbuildings, etc.

Consider Areas With Food Sources

areas with food sources
Image credit: Bonnie Kittle from Unsplash

When looking for a missing or stray cat, think about food sources.

Unsurprisingly, food is a big motivator for cats. So, if you’re looking for stray kittens, consider areas where they would find food. Also, consider places where your neighbors leave food for strays.

Cats have a strong sense of smell; they can smell food from miles away.

How to Help Outdoor Cats?

how to help outdoor cats
Image credit: Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

Adopting feral cats and turning them into indoor kitties is almost impossible, as they lack socialization skills. They don’t know how to interact with humans. So, if you try to turn a feral kitty into a house cat, you will have a hard time.

Stray kittens, on the other hand, can be quickly turned into house pets without much hassle because they were once pets; therefore, their previous experiences can help them become house cats once again.

Unfortunately, the number of strays in the US isn’t small. On the contrary, it’s high – 70 million strays roam the streets of the US every day. Of course, you can’t adopt all stray kitties, but you can make their lives much easier, especially during bad weather.

Trust us; they could use your help when it’s cold or raining.

For instance, you can take the cats that cross your path daily to the animal shelters, where they can get spayed and neutered. That way, you will extend their lives and prevent new kittens from going through the same difficulties.

Now, let’s learn other ways to help stray cats in your neighborhood.

Make Stray Cats Feel Welcomed to Your Property

make stray cats feel welcome
Image credit: user32212 from Pixabay

You can welcome stray kitties to your property by leaving the garage window slightly open. That way, they can stay safe and warm while it’s cold or raining. However, don’t get too attached to stray cats because they will leave your property once the weather improves.

Create a Secluded Outdoor Cat Shelter

outdoor shelter
Image credit: minka2507 from Pixabay

You can create shelters for stray cats if you have old storage boxes, containers, or cabinets. Alternatively, you can craft temporary shelters with plywood, polystyrene, sheet metal, and corrugated boards.

Additionally, ensure dry resting spots for neighborhood strays. Whether DIY shelters or existing structures on your site, ensure they’re flood-proof by installing wooden pallets or placing upside-down plastic crates on the floor.

Extra tip: Cats sleep a lot, so consider adding some bedding for added comfort.

Offer Stray Cats Dry Food

dry food
Image credit: Annalisa I. from Pixabay

Stray cats need more food, especially when it’s cold and rainy; calories keep them warm, so place dry food near their temporary shelters or hiding places in winter, as wet food freezes and spoils faster.

When winter ends, you can provide wet or fresh food and keep your stray kitties well-fed and happy. And don’t forget water!

In winter, you can also install heated water bowls, as other bowls freeze quickly, leaving no time for kittens to drink and hydrate.

If you don’t reside in a harsh climate, you can fill their bowls with lukewarm water in winter so they don’t drink cold water and become sick.

The same goes for stray dogs.


Image credit: Pexels from Pixabay

The best way you can help stray cats is by adopting or fostering a pet.

Most stray cats have been pets in the past, so they can quickly transform into house cats again. So, if you have enough room in your home, consider adopting the strays that frequent your property.

If you can’t care for pets, you can temporarily adopt them during the coldest months of the year. Saving a homeless cat is one of the noblest things if you’re financially capable of caring for a pet.

Extra tip: Consider adopting a senior cat; we’ve heard they usually offer extra love!


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Image credit: Humberto Arellano from Unsplash

Living outdoors, especially when it’s rainy, stormy, or cold, can be hard and painful for stray cats and dogs, so help in any way you can.

We highly suggest adopting one if you have the space, time, and money. If not, creating temporary shelters for strays and providing dry food and water during winter is enough.

Cats hate rain and cold; hence, they will appreciate your effort.

Monika Dimitrovska
By Monika Dimitrovska

Monika is a pet enthusiast and seasoned copywriter with a tech degree. She loves writing, but her heart belongs to her two mixed dogs, Buba and Bono, a mother-son duo. Bono’s siblings found loving homes, sparking Monika’s advocacy for neutering and deepening her curiosity about animal care.

But Monika’s pet family doesn’t end there. She also has two cockatiels and two rescue cats, proving her home is a haven for creatures big and small.