Cats are creatures who enjoy being outdoors. They are frequently found hidden away or underneath objects – bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that so many cats go missing! Do not panic, here are the best ways to cope and maximise your chances of getting your cat back home safely.
Firstly, make sure that cat is actually missing and isn’t hiding or sleeping somewhere unusual in your property. Place your cat’s favourite treats in the house and monitor the water and feed levels – if they are decreasing and there are no other animals in the house, the chances are, your cat is not lost! Your cat may just be making appearances at different times in the day. If you decide your cat is missing, it is best to react quickly. The longer they are gone, the further they can travel and there’s more potential for dangerous situations to present themselves.
When looking for your cat, ensure you say their name in a soothing yet loud, clear voice. Only call when you are in a place you will return to. You do not want the cat to follow your voice when you are walking around and reach your calling point when you have already left. It may therefore be best to only call when you are very close to, or heading back towards, home.
The best ways to find your cat is to alert other people, 15 pairs of eyes are always going to be better than one pair! Ask your neighbours and people in your village/local area to have a look, especially in any open outdoor spaces, for example garages, greenhouses and garden sheds. You can make people aware of your missing cat by posting on social media and best of all, by making posters. Try to find local groups on Facebook, talk to us, and try to contact your village hall/church/community centre to see if they can do an announcement or put up a poster in their facilities. You could ask for it to be posted in the local newspaper too. You should check social media for groups or pages which are specific to your area or to found pets – people will often advertise if they think they have found a lost cat!
Stick up posters in your local area, which clearly display your cat’s image to help people know what to look for. You should note any specific features the cat has and the their temperament. Additionally, you must provide a contact number. Ideally, these posters should be put in a waterproof case (a plastic wallet or lamination) to protect it from the weather. This will maximise the amount of time they are legible and therefore useful.
Ensure your house is cat friendly so that if the cat tries to return on their own, they can gain access – a cat flap is ideal. You should leave your cat’s favourite toy or favourite treats near your door, your cat may be returning to another house where they’re receiving more fuss and attention! You could leave blankets in a box or their bed outside the door which may invite the cat in, however if you do, be sure to check the box regularly as you may trap animals which will need releasing. Blankets will need replacing regularly too especially in harsh weather conditions.
You should have your cat microchipped. If they are chipped – contact the microchip company and alert them that your cat is missing. This means that anyone who finds that cat can have it scanned and your cat will be returned to you as they find your contact details. Microchips are better than collars as collars can fall off especially if the cat has been climbing through bushes or any other obstacle course they can find… Although we would recommend using both if possible! Ensure your contact details are up to date and if you rescue or rehome a cat, ensure the details are changed to your own.
Notices and posters can also be put up in any local vets or rescue centres. Ensure the local vets and rescue centres are aware of your missing cat because they can contact you if someone informs them or brings them in or if the public provide them with any information regarding the situation.