Pet ownership is on the rise around the world, as millions of people discover the joys of owning a pet that gives them love, companionship, and joy. The benefits of pet ownership are well-recognized, with studies confirming that spending time with a furry companion helps relieve stress and improve a person’s heart health.
Cats are a popular choice among people with apartments and smaller properties, as they don’t require as much space as dogs while still being affectionate and intelligent.
While cats are independent creatures by nature, they still rely on us for their basic needs and care. This means that if your cat does become lost, whether you are a seasoned cat breeder or just a regular cat owner, it’s up to you to take action to find them.
Many people consider their cats to be family members, and when a cat goes missing it can be a very stressful experience.
There are, however, a number of steps you can take to find a lost cat.
How to Find a Lost Cat
1. Check your own home and neighbourhood first
Lost cats often stay close to home and are found within a few blocks of where they live. The first step in finding a lost cat is to search your home and property thoroughly, inside and out.
Check all the nooks and crannies where your cat likes to hide, as well as any potential escape routes they may have used to get outside.
If you’re unable to find your cat within your home or yard, the next step is to alert your nearby neighbours. Let them know that your cat is missing and provide a description (and photo if you have one) so they can be on the lookout. With luck, the cat will just be visiting some of your neighbours in search of food and pets, and will be returned home soon.
2. Leave something enticing
If you suspect your lost cat is still in the vicinity, try placing food and water outside near where the cat was last seen. This may lure the cat out of hiding so you can find him or her more easily. Many cats will hang around areas that are still familiar to them, as they are wary of entering another cat’s territory.
3. Expand your search radius
Once you’ve exhausted all possible options for finding your lost cat within your immediate vicinity, it’s time to start thinking about expanding your search radius.
If you live in a rural area, this may mean driving around town or even going door-to-door to ask if anyone has seen your cat.
Place flyers in the area where your cat was last seen. Include a photo of your cat, along with your contact information. You can also post flyers at local businesses, veterinary clinics, and shelters.
In urban areas, posting flyers in prominent locations (e.g., grocery stores, pet stores, etc.) is often effective in reaching a large number of people who may have seen your lost cat.
4. Take to social media
Use social media to spread the word about your lost cat. Post on neighbourhood Facebook groups, Nextdoor, and other online platforms. Include a recent photo of your cat and detailed information about when and where the cat was last seen.
You may also include any pertinent information that may help find your cat, such as what type of food they prefer, whether they respond to their name, and any identifying marks they have.
5. Ask at local shelters and rescues
Contact local animal shelters and rescue groups. Let them know that you’re looking for your lost cat and provide them with a description and photo. Shelters are often overwhelmed, so call frequently to check if any new cats have been brought in that match your cat’s description.
6. Don’t give up hope!
If you’ve been searching for your lost cat for more than a few days without any luck, it’s important to remain hopeful and keep up the effort. Many pets are eventually reunited with their owners through perseverance and patience.
Proper Identification is Key
Your cat is more likely to be returned to you if they can be easily identified. A collar and tags with your contact information will help good samaritans get in touch with you if your cat gets lost.
Your cat should also be microchipped so that animal shelters and veterinarians will know that the cat is yours if they come across it. Ear tattoos or notches after spaying or neutering will be a reliable indicator that the cat has an owner or someone who cares for them.
Be Sceptical of Reward-Seekers
If someone does get in touch with you about your lost cat but is asking for a reward, be wary and make sure that they actually have your cat before you give them any money.
Whenever you post information about your cat, leave out one or two pertinent identifying details that can only be spotted if the cat is actually in someone’s possession.
Meetups can be done in a public place, even at your veterinarian’s office so that you can have the cat checked up immediately after you get them back.
Most honestly people will be perfectly fine with this, but scammers may baulk or insist on money first before agreeing to a meeting place. Don’t give in to false hopes, and always ask for proof that someone has your cat!