How to find a lost cat

When your precious feline goes missing, nothing can describe the heartache you feel and the questions that run through your mind. Where they could be and what is causing them not to come home, push past the panic and focus on carrying out these helpful steps to increase the chances of reuniting with your missing moggy.

Lost Cat

How Long Have They Been Missing?

While your cat may have a routine that they stick to on a daily basis, there will be times when you think they are due to arrive home but end up a few hours, days or even a week late. On the evening you notice your cat is missing, check all their favourite hiding spots or any new ones in both the home and garden they could have got themselves into.

Follow this up with a walk around the neighbourhood calling their name and armed with a handful or bag of their favourite treats, the noise of your voice or the rattling treats is a good way to attract their attention. If there is still no sign in or around your home, place an object of theirs outside to attract them back and keep an ear out or leave access for them to get back in the house.

If they still haven’t arrived home by the morning or you can’t see that they might have returned over night only to take off again in the morning, move on to asking around the neighbourhood.

Ask Neighbours to Check Hiding Spots

Cats can be sly and often nip past us before we’ve ever noticed their presence, this leads to them getting shut in garages or sheds of surrounding neighbours more often than not. Ask your neighbours to check anywhere your cat could have been shut into by accident or if they have seen it since you noticed they were missing.

Make Some Missing Posters

Put together some missing posters with as much information as possible regarding the cat’s appearance including size, colours, eye colour, breed and any specific defining features – attaching a clear photo where possible. Include your contact information clearly on the poster so anybody that does sight the cat can get in touch and let you know.

Lost Cat

Notify Local Vets/Animal Sanctuaries

After putting up your missing posters in your area and surrounding area, contact your vet and local animal charity i.e. Cats Protection, RSPCA, independent sanctuaries. This way if your cat has been picked up, they know that it is missing and can get in touch with you. Your local council keeps records of any cats unfortunately found on the road after an accident so get in touch with them in case they have any information.

Ask It to Be Shared in Local Social Groups

Social media is wonderful tool for keeping people in touch faster than ever before, ask some of your local groups, whether on Facebook, Twitter or others to put up the notice of your lost cat so people can keep an eye out. Also share your missing posters round local shops and notice boards to get as many eyes on the picture as possible.

Hopefully in the meantime your cat will have made their way home, however if not, keep looking and keep placing food and water out for them if they do come back overnight. You can also place some of their bedding outside to attract them back home.

Preventing Your Cat Going Missing

Cats can get themselves into all sorts of trouble due to their curious nature and they are particularly active at dawn and dusk. Avoid letting them out at this time of the day so to prevent them wandering off too far following their hunting instincts. As per legal requirements, your cat should be professionally microchipped with your up to date information so if they are picked up, you can be contacted promptly.

While most vets won’t recommend your cat wearing a collar, if you choose for them to wear one, unlike personalised dog collars, cat collars come in a specific snap-away design that will release if it gets caught. This protects cats from accidents or getting caught up when they are climbing or running through bushes, etc while including your contact information on the attached pet tag.

It’s a horrible feeling when your cat goes missing yet such a joyous one when they return. There have even been stories of cats returning years after going missing so if you don’t hear anything, try not to despair and keep calling for them in the evenings when they are most likely to be active and around.

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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