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I understand that if a pokemon gets out of the ball while you are driving your gps loses it so it "poofs" away. However there are a lot of instances when I am sitting in my living room and a pokemon will show up and I'll go into the "catching" screen where after it gets out of the ball a few times they just "poof" away and are gone.

Does this happen to everyone? Is there a reason for it and can I stop it?

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    When it "poofs" away, it means it has run away. It has nothing to do with driving or gps or anything like that. It's an in game mechanic; rarer and higher CP pokemon probably have a higher chance to run away. – Aequitas Jul 23 '16 at 18:30
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I understand that if a pokemon gets out of the ball while you are driving your gps loses it so it "poofs" away

This is not the case. If you are in catching mode, the chances of it vanishing and running away after it gets out of the ball are the same whether you're driving or sitting still. When they escape out of the ball, they might stay put and let you try again or there is a chance they may run away and then they're gone.

To improve your odds of them escaping out of the ball, use a razz-berry and/or a better ball (great ball, ultra ball).

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Yes. Pokemon also walk/swim/fly around, so if you stay in one spot and take too long to respond to them, they poof. If you walk in the direction you last saw the pocket monster, it will appear again.

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