How To Find a Lost Cat?

Updated May 21, 2023

The first thing that comes to mind when you think about how to find a lost cat is to walk around shouting “kitty, kitty.”

However, this method rarely works. Lost cats are typically stressed and unwilling to collaborate.

The good news is that the odds of finding a missing cat are pretty high if you know where and how to search, are proactive, and seek help.

Be creative when thinking about where to look for a lost cat. Local vets, shelters, and social media can be of great help.

If you’re a realist, you may be wondering when to stop looking for a lost cat. The answer is to never give up searching for your four-legged friend – the cat is unlikely to be gone anywhere far.

Start in The House

The first thought of most cat owners when they can’t see their pet is that it has gone missing. However, cats can skillfully hide even at home. Before you head outside shouting the cat’s name, ensure your pet isn’t anywhere inside your home.

A cat can be stuck in the chimney, in a narrow space between the kitchen counter and fridge, or sleep calmly in a box in your basement. Some suggest that cats are fluid and can become invisible, and frankly, this sounds plausible.

Take your wildest guesses when searching for the cat. Do you think that your cat couldn’t fit under the sofa? Check anyways. Are you sure you always close the basement door? Perhaps, someone from the family forgot to do it this time.

If the cat is nowhere to be found, search outside the house – under porches and decks, behind plant pots, and in bushes.

House cats who were never outside rarely go far from the owner’s house. Even if they manage to get out and are excited at first, they quickly become anxious and return home.

However, if your cat is used to the outdoors, expand your search distance. Some cats were found over 300 meters away from home – that’s an equivalent of about three football fields.

Be Active

Losing a cat is undoubtedly distressing, and each pet owner reacts to the loss of their furry friend differently. Some people run around the neighborhood in panic, whereas others may be unable to act entirely due to stress.

However, the only way to find a missing cat is to be proactive. Don’t lose hope – take action, and you’ll likely find your pet.

Sometimes, kind neighbors may find the cat and bring it to the owner’s house before they even notice the loss, but such cases are rare.

Furthermore, if someone else finds your pet, it may be unwilling to go to anyone but you. The situation is even more terrifying for the cat than for the owner, especially if the animal was never outdoors.

The earlier you start searching for the cat, the better. Indoor cats aren’t used to life outdoors and may not be able to find food or water if they stay out of home for long.

Stray cats, dogs, and other animals also pose a threat to a missing house cat. Now that you know the risks take a deep breath and head outside.

Ask Neighbors

Assuming your cat isn’t inside the house or anywhere around it, ask your neighbors to help. However, don’t just ask whether they’ve seen the cat.

Ask them to participate in the search if possible. The cat may be sleeping in your neighbors’ garden or get inside their home.

However, don’t expect your neighbors to care much about your missing cat. If they say that they have no time or refuse for a different reason, ask whether you could search around the neighbors’ house yourself.

Don’t take refusals personally, and don’t lose hope if your neighbors really value their privacy. Your cat is unlikely to remain in the same spot for too long anyway, and your neighbors certainly won’t miss it if it hides in their shed.

Embrace Social Media

Thanks to technological development, finding a missing cat has never been so simple. Post any relevant information and your cat’s picture in local groups to reach more potential helpers.

Even if no one decides to help you proactively, the chances are that many people will remember how your cat looks and contact you if they see it. Remember to mention your cat’s unique traits and pick a picture where the cat’s face is visible.

Leaving your phone number online can be risky. However, consider doing it to facilitate quick communication. Alternatively, turn on your social media notifications to avoid missing a message because your participation in catching the cat is vital.

Your cat may not let anyone close due to stress, so catching it can be challenging. Even if someone manages to do that, the cat’s founder may be unable to keep your pet in their home because they have other animals or children.

Print Posters

Although social media is helpful, good old posters remain one of the most effective ways to find a missing cat. After all, not all neighborhoods have groups on social media, and not everyone checks on there frequently.

On the other hand, your neighbors won’t miss your poster when they go for an evening run or walk with their dogs. Print a large picture of your cat with all the essential information. Don’t hesitate to use a large font.

There’s no need to walk around the neighborhood handing out fliers to every homeowner. Stapling a couple of posters on telephone poles is usually sufficient. Place the signs in the most crowded places to reach more people.

If your neighborhood has a popular store, bar, or another public place, you may ask the managers to hang your poster on the door or corkboard.

Don’t Stop Searching Early

One of the most common mistakes in searching for a lost cat is giving up too early. Search for as long as you can, don’t lose hope. There are cases when owners find their cats after weeks.

Of course, most people have routine obligations and can’t dedicate their entire time to the cat’s search. Still, keep posting on social media and walking around the neighborhood in the evenings for as long as possible.

Re-Check The Same Spots

Cats are living creatures who are unlikely to sit in the same spot for days. Some cats do precisely that, fearing going anywhere due to stress. However, most cats will walk around trying to find a way home or something to eat.

Therefore, check the same spots multiple times even if you’re sure the cat wasn’t there. Ask your neighbors to also keep on searching around their homes.

Visit Local Shelters & Vets

There’s always a possibility that someone will find your cat before you. If the founder doesn’t see your social media post or flyers, they will most likely bring your cat to a shelter, vet, or home.

In the latter case, the cat’s founder may decide to leave the cat, but most people would first post about their find on social media and try to find the real owner. Check local groups with adverts or lost and found animals for your cat.

If your cat has a microchip and its founder brings it to the vet, you have high odds of reunion. The vet will be able to scan the microchip and identify the owner. Perhaps, they will even call you themselves.

However, don’t sit and wait for a call. Be proactive and call local clinics yourself. Contact also local animal shelters, regardless of whether your cat has a microchip. Explain to the shelter workers how your cat looks and ask whether they’ve seen it.

Even if your cat isn’t in the shelter, you can ask the workers to pay attention to incoming animals. Maybe someone will find your pet and bring it to the shelter later.

How To Lure Out a Cat

Now, suppose you’ve found the missing cat. What’s next? How to lure out a lost cat that’s extremely unnerved? Some animals may be afraid to come even to the owners, and others may behave aggressively.

Luring out a lost cat can be challenging, so be patient. Respect your cat’s wish to stay in its hiding spot, and don’t be too pushy. Otherwise, you may scare the pet, and it may run away.

One of the best ways to lure out a lost cat is using food. If the cat is hiding outdoors, bring a cat carrier bag and place food inside it. Then, move away from the carrier bag and wait.

Ideally, you should be close enough to the bag, but the cat shouldn’t see you. Once the cat senses the food and comes inside the bag, close the door and bring it home.

Problems may arise if the cat is hiding in a secluded, hard-to-reach spot. You can wait until the cat comes outside, but it may take days. A better option is to set a humane cat trap.

You can buy a box trap with a pressure plate closing the door once the cat steps in. However, not all pet stores have them, and the trap may catch a different animal.

Alternatively, tie a sturdy thread to a cat treat and toss the treat to your cat’s hiding spot. Then, move the treat slowly towards you, luring the cat out. You may need to try it multiple times until the cat decides to follow the treat.

Image credit: Pexels

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