When you’re beloved cat is lost or missing acting quickly can make all the difference.
There are 2 types of lost/missing cats - indoor only or cats with access to the outdoors. Indoor only cats tend to be found much more quickly if they have actually escaped the house because they do not have the outdoor experience and are more likely to be hunkering down somewhere very close.
When indoor ONLY cats first get outside it may be exciting and new but they will quickly become disoriented and afraid and do what cats do best… hide. Once they are uncomfortable in their new environment their fight or flight survival skills will automatically kick in. Owners very often describe their sweet, loving affection house cats as feral once they are lost outside. Indoor only cats typically don’t try to retrace their steps back home until it’s the quietest time of the day and unfortunately that’s exactly when most of us are fast asleep between 4-6am. Step 1 - if you’re cat is still visible to you outside it’s best not to chase the cat but instead calmly stay several feet behind and try to watch where and in what direction they go. Then you can try to earn their trust with treats or favorite foods and lure them back inside. It’s not recommended to attempt to grab the cat outside because if they get away you run the risk of losing their trust and sending them fleeing even further. Step 2 - if your cat is no longer visible to you, then put outside any items with the cats smell and with your smell close to the door or window they escaped from and even around the property. Step 3 - report your cats microchip as lost. You can check to make sure your cats microchip is registered and with which company by looking it up on AAHA’s microchip search page. Step 4 - Flyers, Flyers, Flyers!!! Remember not everyone is on Social Media. Getting those flyers up within a 3 mile radius around your home will prove to be the most valuable. Once you have a sighting then you can set a humane animal trap rented from us, your local shelter or rescue. Flyers should be simple. Use a bright picture that show the most accurate details of your cats face and body, his/her name, description such as age, sex, color and if your pet is microchipped, the cross streets and town where the cat was lost, as well as your contact phone number. If you don’t feel comfortable posting your number registering for a Google Voice phone number is free! Step 5 - use various lost & found resource pages to post your pet as lost at Petco Love Lost, PawBoost, and My Lost Kitty, etc. Step 6 - take to posting on various lost & found Social Media pages and groups on Facebook, post on nextdoor and you may even want to start your own Facebook or Instagram page dedicated to finding your lost cat. Use the hashtag #finding”insert cats name here” Step 7 - contact your local veterinarians, rescues and municipal shelters and ask them to hang up your flyers. Search Petfinder for found pets at local shelters & rescues. Step 8 - try to find someone who you may be able to borrow an outdoor camera from and rent/buy a humane animal trap to set out once you know where your cat is hunkered down. Using a large trap like a Neighborhood Cats Tomahawk Live Trap or Fat Cat from TruCatch or their equivalent size is best. Learn how to humanely trap or rent a trap HERE. Step 9(and arguably the most important step) - you must leave the door or window open that you’re cat escaped from overnight. As we stated above scared cats often try to come back home and inside when it’s the quietest time of the day. This can be anywhere from 4-6am but not every cat is alike, some have been known to come home earlier so it’s best that the door and/or window remain wide open for them to simply walk back in at anytime you’re not awake. Windows should have something propped up outside for them to jump on and get back in easily and yes, all your other pets will need to be locked in a bedroom, bathroom or basement overnight but this is the #1 way these cats get HOME! Step 10 - rinse and repeat the next day until they are home and DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!! Front Street Animal Shelter made an incredible video depicting the most effective steps on getting your lost kitty home so check it out!
When a cat with access to the outdoors is lost this is very concerning. These can get lost if they can travelled beyond the 3 mile radius of an outdoor cat but more often then not they are trapped somewhere or worse. Step 1 - check all garages, crawl spaces or sheds on the property and then ask all your neighbors within a 3 mile radius to do so as well. Step 2 - follow the above steps 3-10 but searching beyond the 3 mile radius will also be important.
I Found A Cat - May be Someone’s Pet
When finding a friendly cat on the streets you should always #1 assume it’s someone’s’ pet and you should make every attempt to reunite pet with owner before rehoming or placing with a reputable rescue. Step 1 - contain the cat in a bathroom, bedroom or even a temperature controlled garage or shed until you can either actively search for an owner for a minimum of 2 weeks or find a rescue/shelter to do the same. If you bring to your local town shelter be sure to obtain a case number so that if the cat isn’t claimed you can reach out to local no-kill rescues like ours to pull the cat from the shelter.
Step 2 - bring the cat to any local veterinarian to scan for a microchip number. If the cat is microchipped, look it up on AAHA’s microchip search page and then contact the microchip company immediately. Step 3 - Flyers, Flyers, Flyers!!! Remember not everyone is on Social Media. Getting those flyers up within a 3 mile radius around your home will prove to be the most valuable. Flyers should be simple. Use a bright picture that show the most accurate details of the cats face and body, description such as an estimated age, sex, color and if the pet is microchipped, the cross streets and town where the cat was found, as well as your contact phone number. If you don’t feel comfortable posting your number registering for a Google Voice phone number is free! Step 4 - use various lost & found resource pages to post the found cat at Petco Love Lost & PawBoost and Petfinder. Step 5 - take to various lost & found Social Media pages and groups on Facebook, nextdoor, and Instagram. Step 6 - contact your local veterinarians, rescues and municipal shelters and ask them to hang up your found flyers. Step 7 - rinse and repeat for the next 14 days. If no owner is found after actively searching for one then it is now ok to find a no-kill rescue like ours to help you rehome the cat or rehome the cat responsibly on your own.