My Cat is Missing! What do I do?

You suddenly realize you can’t locate your cat. You search the house, favorite hiding places, closets and then you head out side, “just in case.” You realize your cat is truly missing and the panic starts. All the most awful possibilities come to mind and you ask yourself, what should I do?

The first step is to take a deep breath and remember that there are lots of things you can do to get your cat (or dog or any other pet) back home to you. They all rely on acting fast when you realize your cat is missing and getting the word out to as many people in your neighborhood as you can.

Do a thorough search of your house and ask everyone who lives there with you if they’ve seen your cat. Check the house from top to bottom looking in closets, under beds, behind appliances and any other dark places. Try shaking a dish of your cat’s food or treat jar to see if he comes out. Do the same thing outside in your yard while checking under any bushes, the porch, garage and under your car.

When you’re certain he’s not in your house or yard, grab a good photo of your cat and visit your neighbors. Ask them if they’ve seen your cat and have them check their garages, under bushes in the yard, porches and sheds. (Curious cats can easily be shut in a neighbor’s garage or shed.)

If your cat isn’t found in the immediate neighborhood, call and visit your local animal control agency, shelters, veterinarians and rescue groups. Let them know that your cat is missing and share with them a color photo and information. It’s possible your cat might already be with one of them. Most animal control agencies and shelters are very good about updating and sharing online the animals in their care. You may need to visit the shelters a few times while you’re looking for your cat. As a last resort you can also contact your local police.

Email a color photo of your pet to your friends and neighbors and ask them to share it and keep an eye out for your cat. Use social media! Facebook and other sites have local Lost and Found pets groups and specific neighborhood groups that you can add a post of your cat to right away. For any online posting, be sure to list your location and your phone number so when that post is shared people can reach you directly. Online groups can widely share your missing pet’s information and have a good return success record, too. Websites such as PawBoost also offer free online tools for getting the message out about your lost pet.

If you post your missing cat in social media groups, people will often offer suggestions they’ve used to help bring their own pets home. They offer ideas like putting your cat’s litter box outside so they will detect the familiar smell and come home, and suggest unusual places they’ve located pets that might help you find yours.

To be sure that local people know you’re looking for your cat, you can create a Lost Pet flyer. You’ve probably seen them in your vet’s office. Make sure your flyer has a big photo of your pet and MISSING or LOST in really big letters so people can see it from a distance. Include details about your pet and make sure your contact info is there along with a second number to call if you can’t be reached at certain times. Put the flyers up everywhere you think your pet might be – all over your neighborhood – in parks, pets stores, grocery stores, vet’s offices, and any place that sees a lot of people go by. Be sure to include schools if you can since kids can be better at spotting animals than adults! Put the flyers at “kid-eye-level” so they can get a good look!

Finally, be persistent and never give up. One recent story on Facebook involved a Boston Terrier named Fisher who got out of his family’s Maryland vacation beach house yard on the 4th of July 2020. His owners created flyers, took out ads, hired professional trackers and even bought a floating Lost Pet billboard at the beach where he was lost. They also leveraged social media and even set up a special “Find Fisher” page that had 8,000 followers. After being missing for 290 days, it was a microchip that brought Fisher home. He was found walking in a Baltimore city street by a man who had him scanned for a microchip and called his owners in New York City. No one knows exactly where Fisher was during that time, but he had a very happy reunion with his family. To help others, they’ve established a Find Fisher’s Friends group on Facebook dedicated to locating lost pets and getting them back to their families.

**If you’d like to see a short video of Fisher’s joyful reunion with his mom, CLICK HERE.**

As Fisher’s story proves, it’s extremely important that your cat has a microchip with up-to-date information or is wearing a collar or tag with your contact information on it. Anyone who finds your pet will be able to contact you easily. Make sure your microchip information is current, especially after you move.

These articles offer additional information and tips on finding lost pets!

CLICK HERE for suggestions from the ASPCA.

CLICK HERE for ideas from the Asheville Humane Society.

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