It can be very disconcerting and scary if you lose your cat. Every cat owner has been there. An indoor cat can get out of the house and hide for days or get lost and not know how to find his or her way home again. It is especially scary because indoor cats are not used to the outdoors and are most likely terrified.
For the cat owner, it can be a frantic time as you try to bring you cat home by running around the neighborhood, looking under every car, and hoping your cat comes home right away. For outdoor cats who hopefully (and should) have an ID collar, this could help others by identifying your cat and where he or she lives. Of course, the best situation would be if your cat is just exploring the outdoors, gets tired of it and returns home. However, not all lost cat incidents are the same and there are different ways to try and find your cat.
Here are some tips to finding your cat depending on the lifestyle your cat lives.
Indoor Only Cats:
If your indoor cat has escaped and is outside, the chances are very good that your cat is not lost at all. He or she is probably hiding very close by because of the unfamiliarity of the territory. The real challenge then is to find out where your cat is hiding and where to start looking. The first place to look would be under a deck, under the house, or somewhere where your cat can hide from the dangers he or she perceives. Your cat won’t meow because meowing will give away their hiding spot. (My sister once found her indoor cat trapped under the hood of a car right outside her house)!
I want to go back home!
One method you can use to find your indoor cat is to use a trap. Metal traps with a one way door that closes once the cat enters are available at pet stores. They are humane (think of it as a pet carrier) and you can place some of your cat’s favorite snacks or food in it. Hopefully you’ll wake up in the morning to find your cat in the contraption. You can also post flyers, let your neighbors know that your cat is hiding or lost and call your local shelter to report that you are missing a cat. Bring them a flyer and/or picture to post in case they or someone else finds your beloved feline.
It is possible that your cat is not lost if s/he’s been going outside and comes home on a regular basis. S/he may be hiding in fear because even they can become scared or chased out of their usual territory by another cat, raccoon, or a dog. Sometimes your cat might only be a block away but it’s an area that is not familiar and they could be hiding.
Even though many cats have good instincts and can find their way back, some cats may be too frightened to use it and others may not possess a strong sense of it. If your cat is lost, post flyers, use the contraption as mentioned above, and in the future, make sure your cat has a microchip that it is registered and updated with your latest phone numbers, address, and other information. A microchip is really recommended for any outdoor cat.
You can also purchase a break-away collar and put a tag on it so if your cat is found, you will be contacted. Let your neighbors know that your cat has not returned home and ask them to keep an eye open for him or her. Also, call your local shelter in case someone brought your cat there.
It is really important to be extremely proactive in the first few days when your cat does not return home. The sooner you get the information out there, the more likely you will bring your beloved feline home.
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