The heartbreak of looking for a missing beloved cat is the worst nightmare of any feline owner. Usually, those are cats that are used to indoor living conditions, where we think everything is safe and subordinated to them apart from the big, scary world.
There are cars, aggressive dogs and other cats, holes, and pipes they can get stuck and the list of dreadful things that can happen to them has no end.
Although cats are recognized as self-minded and independent, completely able to take care of themselves in almost any condition, the cat owners are in utmost fear of cats running away and getting lost. If and when that happens, of course, we’ll try our best to bring them back home where they can continue to be these self-minded and independent creatures. Let’s see what are the most effective ways to find our beauties.
Think as a Cat
When you notice your cat is missing, first and most important, do not panic. Cats have this sixth sense of feeling your stress and that something is not quite right and even if they’re hiding, in a safe, hidden space, they won’t come out. So, call their name calmly, without panicking shouting, and search their favorite, possible hideouts inside and then outside your home.
If they don’t appear, remind yourself that cats are notorious for hiding in impossible places and sometimes they don’t want to be found. If it ran outside, it might be excited with this brand new world or, more possibly, scared to death and it doesn’t want to be exposed to danger just because you’re calling. It would be smart to wait for the night to try again, when the world around you and traffic noise fall silent.
Attract With Scents
Cats are born predators and just like any, they rely upon their nose and sense of smell to catch prey, learn about each other and mark their territory. Your best chance is to take advantage of this and lure it out with its favorite food, or something really smelly (fish or cheese treats). The stinkier – the better.
Of course, in case your cat hasn’t wandered too far, the basic instinct to eat will have it start looking for food and water, eventually. Therefore, place their bowls in the garden or somewhere close you can see when it approaches.
We’ve heard so many times that if pets were wearing a collar and ID tags—or even better yet if they’re microchipped—and they end up in a shelter, the owners would have an excellent chance of being reunited. Unfortunately, not many owners like microchipping their cats but, luckily, there are other options, safe and reliable too.
Surely you have heard about pet trackers and how they’re useful little gadgets in finding lost pets, thanks to GPS technology. There are trackers of many brands, with different designs and benefits, and if you’re not quite sure which device is the best fit for you and your cat, it would be wise to do a little research first. We confirm that these not only show you your cat’s current location, but they show where they’ve been, the route they’ve strolled, and teach them a return command as well.
Helping Eyes and Ears
In your search for a missing cat:
- Employ your neighborhood too. Talk to the people who spend time around it, the kids, the paperboy or delivery drivers, the mailman…
- Extend to the local newspapers and radio stations. You can place a free lost cat ad with them, give them the picture, name, and needed contact info.
- Contact your vet and all the local vet stations and let them know your cat is gone missing and you’re looking for it.
- Contact shelters in the area too. Even though your cat doesn’t have an ID or wasn’t chipped, calling shelters regularly may increase your odds.
- Ask for neighbor’s surveillance camera footage if possible.
The Power of Social Media
When extending the search to the public, do not forget about the effect a social media post can have because many more people can see the missing ad than a flier hanged up to see from car and bus passing by. There are many Facebook groups, for example, for finding missing pets and the community is actively informing and spreading the news. Ask everyone to share.
When making a post (or a flier and ad, for that matter), you need to include the name, physical description, any special marks or collar, last seen and where, your phone, and other contact info. Make sure not to mention your name, home address, or the amount of reward, for security reasons.
The Cat Trap
One of the ways to catch your missing cat, in case you can tell it hasn’t wandered off too far away or she is generally an indoor-outdoor cat but it’s just not appearing, is to set a humane cat trap. It is a regular cage-like trap that is usually set in a safe place near home. And yes, it can happen to trap other small animals, like someone else’s pets but it might also trap your cat.
A good thing is that you can ask animal control or local cat rescues if they already have it so you can borrow and more than sometimes, they will even be willing to come to help you in person.
If it already happened that your cat escaped (a couple of times maybe) and you may believe that it would and try to, take a true look at the things and conditions in your home that can be intimidating and frightening for it.
Are there house renovations constantly happening, are there machines and utilities constantly humming, are there small children constantly dragging them around and all the different things not giving them enough peace and quiet?
The ultimate tip is to try and stay focused, without stress and fear, and with emotions at bay. Not only that all these might fog your awareness but your cat might sense any danger coming from you, and stay hidden. But statistics show that odds are usually in your favor – if you cover all the search bases, with regular return checks and letting your community know about the lost cat – you increase the probability for it to be found.