I Lost My Cat! What Should I Do?
Thousands of pets get lost every day. This is why 49% of all cats are kept indoors. You can triple their life span and have a better bond with them by keeping them indoors. I know they are natural hunters, but that was in the beginning when we did not live in cities where danger triples at every turn. This is why I advocate that you keep your cats indoors.
Make sure your pet has a collar and tag. Put the words Reward, I’m lost, Indoor only, call my human on the tag along with the phone number. This way if anyone finds him they will know how to contact you.
Calm down! Stop assigning blame and take a deep breath. You are going to need all your wits about you to follow the steps to be reunited with your companion.
Check your house from top to bottom. Attics, crawl spaces, cupboards, closets, garages, drawers, and basements. I have had hundreds of calls from panicked humans who can’t find their beloved Fluffy only to discover that he struts out of the back of the kitchen cupboard the next day. Be methodical and calm.
Remember, animals can pick up on your energy. If you are frantic he will be frightened to come out because of all the commotion. If he is the only pet put down bowls of food in the middle of each room and sees if they get eaten. This is a definite sign that your fur angel is still somewhere inside your house.
If your baby is outside it’s time to start the search. Sweat as much as possible and grab a blanket or towel that has your smell on it. When you walk around the neighborhood with an open can of tuna you should be an olfactory beacon for your cat. The sweat on your clothing, the blanket or towel, and the tuna is an irresistible combination.
When you walk around to make sure to call the kitty in a soft, loving, normal tone. Use a nickname if he has one. If you see him and he does not come to you, sit on the ground and put the tuna in front of you to coax him.
Keep calling him, be patient. After a cat has been out of his environment for a while he can go feral (survival mode) and may have trouble recognizing his human. Once he gets close enough, reach out slowly and wrap him in the blanket and towel and take him home. Remember, the tone of your voice should be sweet and enticing.
Call the Humane Society and inform them about your lost pet. Rent a humane trap and place it by the door where your pet got out. Cover the trap with clothing that has a familiar scent and put his favorite food in it. You might catch some other babies, so know how to release them from the trap.
Getting the word out is very important! This is why I encourage everyone to keep current pictures of their pets. Descriptions can be vague, but a picture speaks a thousand words.
READ ALSO: Finding the Best Home for a Cat
A reward poster is an essential tool in pet recovery. Unfortunately, humans are motivated by money and if they see an amount they will take extra steps to look for your missing pet. The reward poster should have the amount on the very top in BIG BOLD LETTERS that can be seen from a distance. The next thing should be a picture of your pet. The next section should read: Lost in the vicinity of (give the name of the street only) last seen on (state the date).
Give any special characteristics such as extra toes, scar, crooked tail, very shy and a clear description of the coat and breed of your companion animal. Do not put down your address, just your phone number. If the pet has a specific medical problem, list it on the flyer. If not put down “has special needs.” This is a great motivation if someone is keeping your pet. They will think to themselves that there will be vet expenses involved and will be driven to return the pet as soon as possible.
Always go to pick up the pet with someone else and do not carry cash with you. Add that the reward will be given upon the recovery of the pet.
Distribute the poster, or what I like to call “FLOODING.” It is a proven fact that the more posters you put out the better the results. People will always take some of them down, but if you have “flooded” the area some will always be left for people to see.
Copy your flyer and put it in the local paper. If your pet is on medication, is ill, and is a companion to an elderly person or a child the TV News and Radio will see this as a “Special Interest” human story. Explore this area. I have compiled a list of places to put up the posters. If you come across any other good ones please e-mail me so that we can share them with others.
Apartment Complex (in the lobby by the mailboxes)
Cable Company (You can fax this~installers go out)
Check Cashing Places
Clinics (emergency care and government clinics)
Doctors (you can fax these, look in your yellow pages)
Dentists (you can fax these, look in your yellow pages)
Door to Door (in their mailboxes)
Electric Company (fax to the main office, they go out for repairs)
Emergency Medical (both human and animal)
Food Delivery (look in yellow pages for Pizza, Chinese, Chicken, etc.,
they go out to deliver all the time! In person delivery of the poster is better,
but you can fax them)
Gas Company (fax)
Grocery Stores (see if they let you put it in the pet food section
of the store)
Home Improvement Stores
Hospitals (cafeteria and rec rooms for Drs and Nurses)
Ice Cream Parlors
K Mart, WALMART, Sears
Mail Carriers (give it to them)
UPS Delivery (if you see a truck put it on the windshield)
Meeting Halls (Elks, Moose, and other organizations)
Movie Rentals Places
New Construction Building
PO BOX Rentals
Phone Company (this one can be faxed too)!
Photo Copy Places
Photo Developing Places
Street Corner (by traffic lights and stop signs)
Vets (within a 5-mile radius~you can fax these)!
Hope this help!
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