Most indoor cats are unlikely to wander far away whilst an adventurous outdoor cat might roam more. Nevertheless, both have the tendency to get confused and may have difficulty finding their way back home. When cats step out of their comfort zones, chances are, anything they come across with might just frighten them. So, here are a few tips to help you bring your missing cat home safely:
1. Do not panic.
Before you go and tell everyone that your cat is missing, try to do a thorough check indoors. With a torch, search every nook and cranny of your home—any place your cat might potentially squeeze itself in.
- If the weather is too cold for your cat, try inspecting warm areas such as a heating vent, behind a heating appliance, etc.
- Cats are prone to climbing roofs, high corners, and trees. Try to look for them in places where you think your cat might climb onto.
2. Communicate with your microchip company.
If your cat is microchipped, inform your microchip company about your missing cat. In case somebody sends them a lost cat, they can scan it and if it is identified as your cat, they can inform you straight away.
3. Time is gold, do not waste it.
Once you have rationally deduced that your cat is missing, get ready and head out. Prepare your trusty torch, treats, and a photo of your beloved cat. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear. Try to calm yourself and try thinking like your cat. Where would you head to if you were your cat? Start searching within your vicinity before widening the search area to include the entire neighbourhood.
4. Create flyers.
Post a picture of your cat and offer a reward if possible. Do not stuff your flyers inside mailboxes. Post them in near rescue shelters, veterinary clinics, feed stores, supermarket, etc. Roam through your neighbourhood, handing out these flyers. If there are kids present in your neighbourhood, talk to them about it. Also approach the mailman, paper boy, logistics driver, and just about anyone who walks along the streets of your neighbourhood.
In addition, take note of the areas where you placed your flyers and check them every couple of days to make sure they are intact.
5. Newspaper/radio ads.
Inform your local paper about it and get your missing cat posted. Do not forget to check the newspaper’s lost and found section daily. Call radio stations and let them know about your missing cat. Most of them will run free air spots to talk about missing pets.
6. Post on social media.
One of the benefits of using social media is that you can ask friends and strangers for help quickly, especially the ones from your area. Through shares, the post can reach a wider audience and more people can help or join the search. Do not be afraid to communicate with people.
7. Check your old home address
If you have just moved out, try checking your old home. There is a possibility that your cat went back to your old home for a visit. If you went to visit a relative or a friend together with your cat, contact them and let them know about the situation, maybe your cat found its way to your mate’s house.
8. Work outside during the weekends or when you are free.
Tend your garden, clean your front porch, or simply hang around outside your house. You can sing or talk while you do some gardening so that if your cat is nearby, it can hear you. If your cat has another pet companion like a canine friend perhaps, take the dog for a walk outside or around your neighbourhood, maybe your missing cat might just show up and join you.
9. Set up a trap.
Set up a humane trap in a safe area near your home. Some feed stores sell these traps but you can always borrow or rent one from animal shelters. Check the trap every hour. There is is a chance that it can trap another cat, a possum, or wild animal. If you catch an animal, set it free and reset the trap.
10. Call your cat outside at night.
Lost cats might be too afraid to respond to calls during the daylight, but when it is dark and no one else is around, this might just work. There is less noise and fewer distractions. Just make sure to stop and listen every after a single call.
- You can also try bringing a cat food and popping it open outside whilst walking around.
- Another option is shaking treat jars.
- Some cat owners even record the sound of opening canned cat food and playing the tape on repeat when searching for their missing cat.
What to do if your cat is gone leaving no trace
What if you return home from an exhausting day at work only to find out your cat is gone? The first thing to do is to stay calm. After searching all over your house and still finding nothing, you should try doing these steps:
- Find a shirt you do not care much for and wear it.
- Same with footwear. Look for a comfortable, worn out sneaker and put it on.
- Take your cat treat jar or a bag of dry cat food, shaking it as you stroll around your neighbourhood.
- If you still have not found your cat, keep walking until your shirt and shoes are incredibly sweaty, this is so that your scent will stick to these pieces of clothing.
- When you get back home, hang your clothes and place your shoes outside close to your entrance.
Now that you are the one who has left traces, your cat might just come looking for you and come back home.
Consider precautionary measures.
Here are some preventive methods you can take:
- Get your cat microchipped. Cat collars can be removed easily or accidentally especially if your cat is roaming the outdoors. Microchipping your cat is more secure and helpful.
- Take photos of your cat. Nobody would want their cat to get lost but just to make sure, take good full body photos of your cats regularly. You will be able to see your cat’s physical progress, height and weight. Lastly, you will never truly know when you might need it.
If you are one of the cat parents who lost a beloved cat, we sincerely hope you find your cat soon! If you want to know more about cat safe-keeping, check out our other articles here!