Suddenly you realize that your kitten has vanished. They are not under the bed or hidden behind the tv screen like usual. You start wondering if a window was left open, or perhaps if your outdoor-access cat just roamed so far away that they couldn’t find their way back. Either way, they are lost and actions must be taken immediately! Which poses the question… How to find a lost cat?
Even if it’s not the first time your tiny tiger disappears, do not lay back and wait for them to return. Every second counts if you want to have a good chance of finding your bestie.
How to find a lost cat, step by step
1. Try to keep them in your sight. If your cat just escaped in front of your eyes, go after them, but do not run, make loud noises or sudden moves that can scare them. Once your kitten notices you, squat, speak gently and approach slowly. They will likely come back if the surroundings are not too frantic. A delicious treat or wet food can be the perfect technique to lure them back to you.
2. Turn your home upside down. If you didn’t see them escape, make sure your cat is not hidden in an unusual place before looking outside. Keep in mind that cats have the ability to fit in the most surprising, unthinkable places.
3. Search your neighborhood. Before leaving, put on your oldest pair of shoes. The shoes will leave your scent on the places you pass by, making it easier for your cat to trace you back home. Grab a highly appealing treat or wet food, and off you go.
This is the most vital step of how to find a lost cat: search every conceivable and inconceivable place around your house and your neighbors’ house. Cats usually do not run far away.
4. Make sure someone stays home. Ask someone your cat is familiar with to stay at home while you’re out looking for them, just in case they return.
Expanding the search
5. Make a “lost cat” flyer. It should be appealing and include a clear photo of your kitten. Post it in busy places for everyone to see. Offering a reward might also be a good tactic.
6. Call and visit local vets. Make sure the local practices and pet stores are aware that your cat is missing and leave some flyers as well.
7. Visit local shelters and animal control centers. Do not rely on phone calls and the “lost cat” flyer alone. Pay these places a visit every two days and ask to see the found cats. Cats may look alike, so it’s important that it’s you who checks the rescued cats. Also take a picture of your kitten and all of their documentation with you.
8. Search the web. The internet can be a big help regarding how to find a lost cat. Use social networks and encourage people to share a post about your missing pet. Local lost-and-found pet groups are very useful too!
9. Advertise in the newspaper or radio. Even if it seems outdated, putting an ad in the local newspaper or even making a public announcement on the radio can be helpful.
How far can a cat go?
The chances to find your kitten and how far they might have gone, both depend on the kind of escaping cat we are talking about. We can single out 3 types, according to how accustomed they are to the outdoor environment.
- Displaced indoor cats
These are those strictly indoor cats who escape outside and find themselves in unfamiliar places. Their half-prey nature will likely make them hide and be quiet, usually not far from their escape point, so they can go unnoticed. They tend to be near their homes, like the yard or the neighborhood’s yard.
- Displaced outdoor cats
Cats who are used to going for walks can also get displaced. Either because they’re chased out of their territory by other cats, or because they are carried by someone to a new environment and accidentally escape, like a trip to the vet clinic. In these situations, the cat loses all their references and gets pretty frightened… Making it more difficult for them to return home, even though they know their ways around outdoor spaces.
- Lost outdoor cats
This is when outdoor-access cats do not return home because something happened to them. Meaning, not because they found themselves in an unfamiliar place and do not know how to return home… But because they are physically unable to return. They can be trapped up a tree or a roof, be injured, or they can even have been housed by a new family that thought they were abandoned.
Cats happen to get lost as often as dogs, but generally speaking, people are less sensitive to this matter and do not really know how to proceed. The golden rule is to look in places where you think it would be impossible for your tiny tiger to be hidden. And remember, don’t give up hope!
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