Lost Your Kitty
It is very stressful and alarming when your kitty is lost. There are approximately 10 million pets that go missing every year. It is best not to panic and try to focus on what you can do to help bring your cat home safely. While not all pets make it back home, act fast using the helpful steps below, and enlist help from friends, neighbors, and family to broaden your search network which will hopefully bring the best chance to be reunited with your kitty.
Finding Lost Kitty
You might think that your cat has gotten outside when in fact they are actually hiding somewhere inside the house. Make sure to do an extensive search inside the house by checking small hiding spots like under beds, behind closed doors, closets, cabinets, attics, and basements. Shake a bag of treats to entice your cat while looking for them.
If the cat isn’t inside the house, try to determine the escape point like a door or window cracked open or a torn screen. A panicked cat will typically slink left or slink right following the edge of the house rather than risk bolting out into the open. Following along the edge of your house (to the left and right), look for the closest hiding spots under bushes, under a deck, a shed with an opening, or an open garage. If searching at night use a flashlight to see your cats’ eyes glowing.
Cats are territorial so it is not surprising that most lost cats are found within 500 meters of their house. The most critical thing to do within the first few hours of losing a cat is to immediately start looking in the neighborhood. Get permission from your neighbors to search their yards and their garages for your missing cat. Share photos of your cat and make sure to leave your contact information with your neighbors in case they see your cat.
Put Items Outside
Many will give the advice to put your cat’s belongings including their litter box outside but this can be a double-edged sword. It will also attract other animals in the area and may prevent your cat from feeling safe to return home. It is better to put your clothing outside to entice your cat with your scent to come home. To learn why putting the cats’ litter box outside is not a good practice, check out the kitty litter myth.
If your cat is microchipped, make sure to notify your provider that your cat is lost. It is very important that your contact information is current so that if someone finds your cat, they will be able to reach you.
Use Social Media
Get the word out to find your missing cat using social media with PawBoost, Lost Cats Georgia, Petco Love Lost, Lost My Kitty, Helping Lost Pets, and My Lost Pet Alert. Make sure to use Facebook Lost & Found Pet groups which are listed by local counties and Next-Door in your area where your cat was lost.
Check with local shelters, humane societies, animal control, and veterinarian offices to alert them about the lost cat. Most county shelters have simple online forms available for filing a lost pet report. The best way to find your missing cat is to physically go to your county shelter often. A person finding an animal in Georgia must bring the animal to the county where their license is registered so it is a good practice to check with all the neighboring county shelters. Check out the No Kill Network for animal shelters and found a kitty for links to local county animal services.
Blanket your area with lost cat posters in bright, neon-colored signs that have bold, easy-to-read words along with a clear photo of your cat. Place the posters in high-traffic areas to have as many people see them as possible. Check out neon posters for information on creating a lost pet poster.
Cats are notoriously good at hiding so using a wildlife camera can help determine if your cat is still in the area. It is beneficial should your cat return home, you will know when to let them back inside. Additionally, it can help establish the best location for setting up a humane trap. If you are setting out food, it is best to use a camera or a humane trap to monitor who is eating it.
Set a humane trap in a place near your home or around your cat’s last known whereabouts. This method could result in trapping wildlife so please use some caution when setting these animals free. Check with TNR organizations on loaning humane traps and if you are looking to purchase a humane trap, we highly recommend a Tru Catch.
If you need additional help finding your missing kitty then consider hiring a pet detective. Missing Animal Response has a Pet Detective Directory to help locate a pet detective in your area.
Don′t Give Up
A lost cat is an ongoing investigation so it is important not to give up hope on finding your missing cat. The investigative question to be asked at all times is where is the cat hiding? Do you think someone has found your missing cat? Keep checking with local county shelters, vet hospitals, and your neighbors. Make sure to update your status on social media to let people know you are still looking for your missing cat. Change out your missing cat posters periodically to gain more attention.
Here are some great instructional videos and materials:
Prevention is Best
There are important actions pet parents can take to prevent a cat from going missing in the future. Taking the steps below will help prevent this stressful and alarming situation from occurring.
- Kitty sterilization. Spay or neuter your cat which is an essential part of responsible pet ownership and will deter your cat from wandering off to find a mate plus reduce the chances of your cat becoming missing.
- Identify kitty. Get your cat microchipped and register the microchip with your most current contact information. An alternative solution is to get a breakaway cat collar with ID tags that has your current contact information. There are pet tracking devices that your cat can wear on their collar to allow monitoring their current location.
- Kitty photos. Take photos of your cat which is important if your cat ever goes missing, you will have current photos to show people and share on social media. Store the photos with easy access and print a few photos to have on hand should you need them.
- Fix doors & windows. Make sure all doors and windows work properly and close securely. All it takes is a second for a cat to dart outside from a lagging door. Check for any loose latches or knobs. Be aware that some cats are able to open doors with handles. Replace any broken or torn screens and make sure the screen is made of heavy gauge steel.
- Secure kitty. If the door is kept open for prolonged periods of time, be sure to keep your cat in a secure area while you leave the door open. Additionally, if you are having any work done on your home, make sure to secure your cat in a safe, quiet place including food, water, and a litter box until the work is complete.
- Stressful events. Be mindful of any high-stress situations that could cause your cat to run away. Loud noises like fireworks, thunderstorms, or loud parties can cause anxiety and panic in some cats. It is best to keep your cat in a safe, secure quiet place including the food, water, and a litter box until the threat is over.