It’s every cat owner’s nightmare: your feline friend escapes your home and is loose somewhere in the neighborhood. If your cat is indoor-only, you may be particularly worried about them becoming lost; if they are an indoor-outdoor cat, they may go missing for several days and prompt concern as well.
No matter the situation, if your cat is lost, it’s time to start looking for them. Read through the list of steps below to help you figure out the best way of tackling this concerning issue.
Steps to Take
Listed below are the 6 steps you should take to find your lost cat:
1. Start in Your Immediate Area
Before leaving your home, make sure you can’t find your cat indoors anywhere—unless you saw them run out the door. There is a chance your cat is just hidden somewhere in your home and is being stubborn about letting you find them.
If you confirm that your cat is not inside, branch out to your front and back yard and to your neighbors’ yards as well. Work slowly, moving out in wider circles the longer it takes you to find your cat. Most lost cats are found relatively close to home, so it pays to start in your immediate area for this reason.
2. Shake Food or Treat Bags
Many cats are conditioned to come running when they hear a noise that reminds them of food or treats. For example, if you regularly give your cat canned food, they may associate the sound of a can opener or a pop top lid with mealtime. On the other hand, the sound of their favorite treats shaking in their bag may encourage your cat to approach, instead.
Options like this are typically the best way to find your lost cat. If they are within earshot of you and isn’t injured, they are likely to come running—especially if it’s been a while since their last meal.
3. Reach Out to Social Media
Social media can work wonders when it comes to tracking down lost pets. Post several photos of your cat and plenty of identifying information to make them easier to spot. If anyone sees your pet, even if they can’t catch them, they can let you know which areas your pet is in.
There are a lot of good-hearted people on social media platforms that spend much of their free time helping pet owners track down lost pets. You may want to join these types of groups to share your post, or you might want to look for local community groups instead.
4. Use a Humane Cat Trap
Humane cat traps are a great way to find your lost cat. Set up one of these traps with food, water, and a blanket inside. When your cat enters to eat their food, the trap will spring shut. This may startle them, but it won’t harm your cat, and you can collect them from the trap right away.
Keep in mind, however, that humane cat traps may also attract other types of animals. Many people end up accidentally catching squirrels, possums, and raccoons in these traps instead of cats, so they are not the perfect solution.
5. Use a Wildlife Camera
Place your cat’s items outside, somewhere near your home. Ideally, try to keep them on your porch or within your yard to deter wild animals from using them instead. If your cat returns to your home, they will find their favorite items set out for them, and they may linger in the area for longer.
Along with this setup, install and use a wildlife camera to catch any movement on a recording. Point the camera at the area where you have positioned your cat’s favorite items. If they stops by, you may see them on the recording, and you can use this information to try to catch them in the coming days.
6. Use Your Pet’s Microchip
Finally, make sure your pet’s microchip information is always kept up to date. Microchips cannot be used to track your pet if they go missing, but they can provide information about you and your pet both when scanned by a veterinarian.
If someone finds your lost cat and takes them to a vet or shelter, the vet or shelter will scan your pet to search for a microchip. When found, the microchip will provide your contact information and make it easier for the vet or shelter to reunite your cat with you.
Finding a Lost Cat Takes Effort and Patience
With the help of this guide, you should have some idea of where to begin when looking for your lost cat. With enough time, effort, and patience, you may be able to find your pet, especially if you try several of the options on the list above.
Most lost cats want to come home eventually, so it’s important to do what you can to help your cat find their way back to you. If you have any further questions or concerns, talk to your veterinarian by calling Orlando Vets or booking an appointment online. We care about your pet and love them as our own, so we will be there every step of the way.
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We are a group of veterinary hospitals located in the greater Orlando area. Our purpose is to enrich the quality of lives of pets and their families through personalized partnerships with their veterinarian.