What to do When You've Lost or Found a Cat
When a cat or dog becomes lost, it can be a scary and heartbreaking situation and trying to determine how to locate a lost pet can be just as frightening. We are here to offer counseling and resources to assist you, contact us at 773-784-5488 ext. 0 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggestions for Finding a Lost Pet
If your pet becomes lost, act fast and don’t give up. How quickly and carefully you search, and how persistent and resourceful you are, can determine whether or not your pet will be found.
Please don’t give up after only a day or two, we recommend that you keep looking for your pet for as long as six months, if necessary.
Pets have been known to hide in the most remote places, such as closets, empty boxes, and under furniture. If you live in an apartment, be sure to check the hallways, stairwells, basement, storage closets, laundry rooms, and any vacant apartments that may have had a door ajar. Also, check with neighbors as they may have either seen or taken in your pet.
Most lost cats who have lived indoors, and even dogs who are used to being inside, will not go far from home. Many are discovered hiding just a few doors away or even a few feet from the front door. Start by looking under nearby porches, in basements and garages, in bushes, and even under cars. Once lost, your pet can become wary or frightened of any human voice and may not recognize you or come immediately when you call. Don’t be discouraged if he doesn’t respond. Call to your pet with the kind of voice that you normally use to greet him. Call your pet’s name often and listen for a reply.
Be a detectiveAsk everyone you meet if they've seen your pet, and children who play in an area are particularly good sources of information.
Post signs as soon as possible to alert the neighborhood. Use color copies and include a detailed description of color, size, and demeanor as well as a photo of your pet and make sure to offer a reward. Detail where and when your pet was lost and a telephone number and email address where you can be reached. Pleace flyers throughout a one to two block radius as well as hand out, then expand your search.
If your pet has been microchipped, include the microchip identification number (also, alert the microchip company that your pet is lost).
Set up a temporary outdoor feeding stationLeave fresh food and water outside on a porch or in a sheltered area close to your home along with a large, sturdy box lined with an old towel, shirt, or other items that smell familiar to your pet or have your scent. If your pet should return while you are asleep or away from home, food, and shelter may save his life.
When to lookThe best time to look for a lost pet is when it’s dark and streets are quiet as they may be too fearful to come out during the day when there is more activity from people and traffic. Take a flashlight with you and search under parked cars, in yards, under bushes, and in alleys. Take food and treats to attract your pet.
Notify humane agencies
Call all the animal shelters and veterinary hospitals in your area, beginning with the municipal animal control agency. Be sure to provide a good description of the lost cat and ask them to post your sign or take down specific information on your cat, should he be brought there later. Consider delivering a photo of your cat or sending a picture via email—so many cats look alike, it's hard to provide a comprehensive description over the phone. Be sure to continually and frequently check with shelters as unclaimed animals often are at risk of being euthanized.
Place ads in newspapers and on websites
Be sure to post a lost ad in the Lost and Found classified section of all local newspapers or on websites such as craigslist.com, petfinder.com, pets911.com, lost-pet.org, and lostpetsos.org. Beware of people answering your ad but asking for reward money before they return the pet—this almost always is a scam. You also should read the Found ads or entries in all the local papers or the aforementioned websites, just in case a caring person found your cat and is trying to find you.
Once your pet is home
A visit to a veterinarian would be a good idea to check your pet for possible bite wounds or cuts or scrapes which may require attention. Initially, keep him separated from other pets in the household until you have determined that he is healthy and reacclimated to his environment. Additionally, your veterinarian can check for infectious disease and parasites. Be sure to have your veterinarian insert a registered microchip if the pet does not already have one.