Our Cat's Place – Living With Cats thoughts, articles, & information on cats, their behavior, and their relationships with us.
  • Finding a Lost Cat – Tips That Will Help

    Mar 18
    A cat at the Seattle Animal Shelter

    Image via Wikipedia

    As someone who once lost a cat, only days before we moved out of town, I absolutely understand the fear and even panic that can grip a cat lover when his cat is nowhere to be found. We were very lucky, our cat Eric finally returned unharmed. I would like to see every lost cat come back to his loving owner and home. Here are some tips that can help.

    1. If your cat just ran out the door and you can’t see him, leave the door open. There is a good chance he will find his way back. We also left a bowl of food just outside the door.

    2. If your cat is microchipped, report his disappearance immediately. The sooner you get the word out, the more likely your cat will be found quickly.

    3. Call your cat’s name as you wander slowly around the area. Your cat is probably very scared, and is unlikely to come out. However, he may meow or cry for help and then you would be able to tell where he is hiding.

    4. Try shaking a bag of your cat’s food (if dry), or opening a can with a can opener (if moist). If he hears the familiar sounds of food being prepared, that alone may bring him running back.

    5. Leave a cardboard box in your yard, some distance from your house. Put familiar smelling things in it, like a worn and unwashed T-shirt of yours. Your cat will be attracted to the scent and if he is close by, is likely to curl up in the box to feel safe. Check the box at night and first thing in the morning.

    6. Search around your neighborhood late at night. You should also ask your neighbors to keep an eye out for him. This was actually how we got our cat back, by enlisting willing neighbors to help. If any of your neighbors have outdoor cats that they leave food for outside, this is another excellent place to look.

    7. If there are woods around your home check there as well. Your cat may have gone there in search of small prey.

    8. If you have moved recently, go back to your old neighborhood and look around there. Cats will often return to their previous home if they have lived in the new one for less than a month.

    9. Don’t be afraid to put up posters all over the place. Hand them out to people in the area. Be sure to make small tear off tabs at the bottom with the cat’s name and description, any identifying marks, your name and your phone number. This gave us the results we needed when some people who were just out for a walk saw our poster, saw Eric, and called right away (we are still grateful to them!).

    10. If there is an animal shelter or animal control agency in the area that brings in lost cats, check with them every day. It would also be a good idea to provide them with one of your posters. You must check with them each day, because chances are they do not have enough people on staff to check in with you.

    If your cat is currently lost, don’t give up, and don’t lose hope. It took seven weeks before Eric was found. And even then, apart from a broken tooth, he was fine. My sister also found a lost cat of hers after three weeks. Keep your thoughts positive!


    P.S. If your cat is not microchipped, and he is not currently lost, do it NOW! If he is lost, do it as soon as he returns. A microchip is an identification device inserted beneath your cat’s skin. All humane societies and agencies have scanners to read the chip. I highly recommend their use.


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