Today we are going to talk about what to do if your cat goes missing before we get started, if you are new here.
I’m guessing a lot of you have discovered this post because you are looking for what to do because your cat is currently missing and I’m sure you’re super anxious, super worried and worked up.
So as heartbroken and worried as you may feel right now, it is so important that you take a deep breath and try to relax and release that anxiety, because we are going to go through all of the steps you need to have your best chances in getting your feeling for a baby home. If you are feeling incredibly anxious, incredibly worried, and you just feel it building up in your body and you are in a panic mode. And I definitely suggest checking out E.F.T. stress management video specifically for anxiety. It’s a fast and easy technique that will help you feel some more relief in order to get things in order and go on the mission to find your cat. In December, there will be new tapping Tuesday videos, one of which is specifically for anxiety and worry if you have lost your cat. But until then, please go check out this one on general anxiety, which I’m sure will help you find some kind of relief.
Important lost cat statistics
Let’s start things off with some facts that I think might bring you some peace of mind. There was actually a study published in Australia in 2018 entitled Search Methods used to locate missing cats and Locations Where Missing Cats are found. The very first thing this study states is that at least 15 percent of cat owners lose their pet in a five year period.
And although some are never found, approximately one-third of the cats that were missing are found within seven days, with seventy-five percent of those cats being found within only 500 meters from the distance of the house from which they escaped.
Now, five hundred meters is only about a third of a mile, which, depending on how big your neighborhood is, that’s an average of about five houses away.
The median distance that a cat travels is around three hundred and fifteen meters, which is less than a fifth of a mile away, which really isn’t a far distance at all.
What you might find even more interesting is that the cats that traveled that 500 meters or farther distance tend to be male cats.
It has been shown that cats who have not been spayed or neutered are actually more likely to escape in order to fulfill the urge that they have to mate, especially male cats who haven’t been neutered because they are more likely to smell a female somewhere in the area in heat, and that makes them more likely to wander off. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to neuter or spay your cat as soon as possible when you adopt them.
Now, when it comes to cats going missing, it can happen at any time during the year, but it tends to be more likely in the summertime just because there are more loud noises, whether it’s fireworks for the Fourth of July or thunderstorms that tend to be really loud because oftentimes cats get startled and that will make them, especially if their personality is skittish, run away and hide.
They might shoot a direction that takes them outdoors to a territory that isn’t very familiar and that results in your cat being missing. Now, interestingly enough, five percent of cats that are considered to be missing have ended up simply hiding somewhere within the house. It doesn’t help that when a cat is feeling scared or panicked and they’re in hiding, they’re less likely to yell or vocalize. So in a way, calling out to them is kind of ineffective when it comes to getting an answer.
For example, if this was to be a dog and you were to call out a dog’s name, they would be more likely to respond vocally and bark. But instinctually, because a cat goes into prey mode trying to protect itself when it’s scared and hiding. If you were to call out your cat’s name they’re not likely to vocalize back or yell.
That said, always make sure to check every single nook and cranny within your house, check under sofas, behind beds, in any little corner, in closets, in cabinets. I know the puppy just likes to open up cabinets by himself and hide in them. Sometimes if you have a garage, check under your car, potentially under the hood.
How to prevent your cat from escaping
Now let’s talk about preventative measures before your cat even goes missing.
1. Use a microchip to find a cat
The number one thing is to get your cat microchips. If you are getting your cat fixed or neutered or spayed, then make sure that you request that your cat also gets microchips. Having your cat wear a breakable color as well as a custom tag could also be something that’s useful. It’s very important that that color is breakable, though, as cats jump and leap and they can get caught on certain things and it would be in their best interest if their color could easily enough break off just in case that happens.
2. Prevent your home from the escape
You also always want to make sure that any window screens or door screens, basically any kind of means for your cat to potentially get outside are secured and safe.
3. Keep in mind your cat’s temperament
It’s also important that you keep your cat’s behavior in mind. So is your cat a door dash or is your cat more adventurous? Is your cat more curious or is your cat more skittish and xenophobic?
4. Use a GPS tracker for cats
Another potential preventative tool. And this is more for indoor cats, but they sell GPS trackers for your cats, caller. I knew somebody who had this one’s for their kitty and it was kind of bulky looking, but the cat didn’t seem to mind and it was pretty cool to see because you can look upon some kind of program or app the map of where the cat went around the neighborhood. So although this might not be necessary for strictly indoor cats, if you have an indoor-outdoor cat, it might be something worth looking into, especially if you’ve had situations where your cat has disappeared for longer amounts of time.
What to do when your cat goes missing
All right. Now let’s get into the steps to take if your cat goes missing.
1. Look around your house
The first step is, like I mentioned, to look all around your house unless you physically saw your cat escape the house and runoff. Look around your house, look in all the nooks and crannies. Shaking a bag of treats typically works really well, as well as opening a can of sardines or tuna, which is super aromatic.
2. Contact a microchip company
So that will get your cat’s attention. If you are already sure your cat has escaped the house, the first thing you want to do is to contact the microchip company that you are using if your cat is microchipped, just so they can register your cat as missing, because if your cat is taken in anywhere, it will show that alert when they scan the microchip.
3. Call the vet, shelters, and humane societies
You also want to call your personal vet as well as the local shelters. So humane societies or any rescues and you can even take it upon yourself to call different vets in the area that might be near your house or in your zip code. Just so they know in case anybody brings the cat.
4. Leverage social media
The next step is to share a post on social media. Most every city, if you have a Facebook account or a Facebook page, almost every city has a group for lost and found missing pets.
So as soon as possible, put up a clear full body picture as well as a face picture, which I’m sure most all of us cat owners have an entire camera roll full of all kinds of pictures of our cats and post it publicly on your page, post it to any lost and found pet group that is in your area, your town, your city, your county. Share it to the Humane Society of your city, share it to local shelters of your town, urge your friends to share. And when you have a little bit more time, unless you’re super quick to do it in the first place, you want to put together a PDF, some kind of flyer with all of the same information. Again, a couple of good, clear pictures of your cat as well as your contact information when it went missing. Any special markings that your cat may have and share, share, share. Another great social media website that a lot of people overlook yet that I’ve noticed there’s a lot of success in people finding their pets. It’s called Next Door. This is in the United States. I’m not sure if it’s anywhere else, but it’s specifically for your neighborhood area. You can also try quickly posting on Craigslist for your area, especially if you have that flyer made. If not, it’s super easy to add photos and just copy and paste the same thing you shared on Facebook. You can even share in Facebook marketplace. I don’t know if they would flag that as irrelevant.
Same thing with let go, but basically share in any of these venues that you can quickly upload pictures and copy and paste that initial message, the next step, which you may have heard of before and want to.
5. Spread his/he litter and food around the neighborhood
It doesn’t seem to be one of the most effective ones, but it’s still worth doing, it’s super easy to do, but that is to put the kitty litter outside and to if you don’t have any other pets in the house or feel safe to do so, to keep your door kind of ajar or open or your patio door open for your cat to come inside, you can also choose to put your cat’s favorite food outside, but be aware that this might lure in other creatures or animals, especially if you tend to have other neighborhood cats within your area or raccoons or anything like that. Definitely don’t use raw food for this. You want to use something that’s more aromatic like I mentioned before. So ideally that would be sardines or something like tuna. Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell. He’s being very needy right now. What time is it? Dinnertime. But cats have a very sensitive sense of smell. So choosing that kind of food would be the most advantageous.
6. Leverage the flyers
Again, you want to put information like when your cat went missing, your contact information, which includes your phone number, your email address, you can include the area or vicinity, or if you feel comfortable putting your exact address, you can include that your cat’s temperament, your cat size, anything that you think would help somebody identify your cat.
You then want to print out as many as you can and pass them out to each neighbor within a I would say, a half-mile radius from your house. You can also put the flyer up on flagpoles and things. I just suggest maybe eliminating those because as soon as it rains, then they are more likely to just fall to the ground.
But a good idea is to also hang the flyer in any nearby cafe or a community board, places like Laundromats or basically any nearby business, if there are any if you live in an apartment community or somewhere within a perhaps or somewhere that does monthly newsletters or email blasts to all the residents, you can go to the main office and provide them with a flyer or email them the PDF of your flyer and request that they send it to all of the residents in your community.
7. Physically search for your cat
The next tip is also the number one way that cats have been found when they go missing, especially according to the study that I mentioned earlier. And that is to physically go out and search for your cat, do the footwork, and you might want to do this right away in the beginning, as soon as your cat goes missing again, keep in mind that they’re not going to vocalize back to you that especially if they are of that skittish, more xenophobic nature, they’re likely to be hiding somewhere under bushes or in a nook and cranny near your house, bring a bag of treats with you and some aromatic canned sardines and shake the treats, use the sardines for the smell factor and speak out to your cat gently as if they were just sitting on the couch next to you.
The best time to search for your lost cat.
Besides, immediately when you notice that your cat is missing is during dawn and dusk. Typically, it’s about two hours before sunset and right around when the sun is coming up, if you pay attention, if you’re up during those hours and happen to look outside and have a lot of feral cats or neighborhood cats in your area, you’ll notice that that’s when they are the most active and that’s when they are likely to be out and about.
Don’t be surprised if you get other cats’ attention, but you might want their attention, which I’m going to get to in just a second. And of course, make sure to let your neighbors know if you choose to go any time of day, but especially if it’s dark out with a flashlight. Make sure to let your neighbors know that you’ll be actively searching for your cat so that they don’t happen to see someone looking with a flashlight all around the nooks of their house in their back yard.
8. Use a humane cat trap
Now, along with the tip for doing the physical footwork to search for your cat being successful, another one that’s also closely successful is to set out a humane cat trap. You can often borrow these traps from different animal rescues or perhaps even your humane society, or you can purchase one. The best option if you want to purchase one is a trap called true catch traps, which close quietly compared to other traps. So this helps to combat any kind of panic in your cat once it shuts, especially if your cat has been seen in a certain area. It’s a good idea to set the trap up in that area.
9. “Ask” the stray cats to find your cat
This tip is to ask the stray cats around your neighborhood to help you find your cat. Yes. Speak to the animals around your neighborhood. They could be other feral cats, stray cats. They could be a raccoon, you see. But specifically, this is supposed to be if you ask cats around the neighborhood. So if a cat comes up to you when you are looking for your own cat, then you literally just want to say, if you see my cat, can you please tell him or her to come home? You can even tell them what your cat looks like, tell them how much you miss them.
There are tons and tons of people who have said that they’ve done this. And then within a few hours, if not within a day, their cat returned home. Nature is crazy and so many things are possible. So try this as a part of your search because you never know. It could potentially help your feline fur maybe come back home to its loving, loving family. Oh, and just a side tip I forgot to mention is setting up a motion sensor camera outside of your home or asking neighbors if they have motion sensor cameras, because oftentimes since they are so active at night, then this could be a possibility of seeing what area your cat may be in in order to perhaps set a trap and get them home safely. All of that being said, if your cat is missing right now, my heart goes out to you and I’m sending you all of the successful energy and hope that I can that you will get your feline for a baby home. I hope that you found the tips and insight in this post helpful. If you did, please do me a favor and click that thumbs up below, because that helps me know what you like to see.