One of the scariest things a cat owner can face is a missing kitty. From slipping out of an open door to a broken window screen, cats have a way of finding their way outside. Once outside, especially for indoor only cats, they may become panicked or scared making it harder for them to get home. The most important thing as an owner is to never give up hope of finding your missing friend. In this blog, we’ll go over some tips to help you get your search started and stay calm:
• Search the immediate area surrounding your house and all the houses directly around you. Most cats don’t go far and are likely hiding under a porch, in a storage shed, or might even be stuck in a neighbor’s garage.
• Place really stinky food and their regular food at your house and any location there’s been a sighting. The stinky food like sardines or tuna will draw your cat and the regular food will provide something familiar. During dawn and dusk (most active hours) be in those places. Talking in your normal calm voice – that’s the most familiar voice to them and it may draw even the most terrified cat out of a hiding place. If you aren’t able to be at the location, use a baby monitor or camera so you’ll know if your kitty comes by to eat.
• Try placing something that smells like you in these areas at dusk – like a t-shirt etc. They know your smell and it may make them hang around longer or be calmer when they hear you or another person.
• Try shaking a treat bag at these places as you call for your cat.
• Havahart traps can also be used to catch your lost cat. Especially if he or she’s been sighted in an unfamiliar place. Put food and a tshirt or familiar smelling item in the trap at dusk and either wait overnight outside near by calling her in a calm voice or check it first thing in the morning. Be prepared to catch a raccoon or other wildlife, as they will be drawn to the smell of food as well. The traps are designed to allow you to release the animal without coming into contact with them so don’t worry if you catch something other than your cat! You can also use a baby monitor near the area so if you hear meows, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
• You can also just try putting a cardboard box upside down with a hole cut in the side and some food inside in any of the locations she’s been seen. She may be drawn to the safety of a hiding place and stay put when she finds food. The baby monitor is helpful in this situation too. Put it against a structure like a house or shed for extra support.
• Call the local shelters and list your cat’s description.
• Call any vet in the area and leave a poster in their office – it helps get the word out and the staff will be on the lookout for any stray new cat coming in for an appointment that might match the description of your cat. Most people bring a cat to the vet before they do anything when they pick up a stray.
• Professional pet trackers – yes this is totally a thing and it does work. It’s not necessarily cheap but it does work. Using trained dogs, pet trackers are able to find what path your cat took which may help you narrow down your search area.
• Leave your garage door cracked at night. If she makes her way back over to your area, she’ll quickly scoot in and find a safe place.
• Go door to door in your neighborhood and the surrounding areas with a photo and your contact information in case there’s a sighting. You can also ask permission to search their property – sheds, porches, etc.
• If you have friends or family help you search, have them wear something of yours so they smell familiar and use Feliway spray to help naturally calm your cat.
We hope you never have to use any of these tips, but if you do remember to stay calm and never give up hope. Your cat wants to find you as much as you want to find them!