Lost Cat? 10 Tips to a Safe Return

We rounded up tips to get lost cats safely home.

By Anastasia Thrift | Posted: July 21, 2014, 12 p.m. EDT

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Lost Pet Prevention Month
July is Lost Pet Prevention Month, so we checked in with the latest advice on finding lost cats. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, nearly one out of five pets go missing after loud noises scare them away.

Paul Mann heads up Fetch! Pet Care, a professional pet sitting, dog walking and pet fitness/exercise services franchise. Mann says surveys show that 93% of dogs and 75% of cats reported lost are returned safely to their homes.

He offers the following tips:

1. Contact shelters. File a lost pet report with every shelter or animal control office within a 60-mile radius of your home and visit the nearest shelters daily, if possible.

2. Tell all vets. Sometimes people pick up a stray and drive it to a distant clinic. Contact veterinary offices in your area.

3.  Search your neighborhood. Walk or drive through your neighborhood several times each day. Get friends, family and others to help you. Ask neighbors, letter carriers, and delivery people if they have seen your pet. Hand out a recent photograph of your pet and information on how you can be reached if your pet is found.

4. Talk to neighbors. The more people know you have lost a pet, and that you are upset, worried and desperately trying to find your pet, the more people will call you if they see an animal in the woods or on the road, or in their back yard.

5. Put up flyers. Post notices at grocery stores, community centers, veterinary offices, traffic intersections, at pet supply stores, and other locations. Also, place advertisements in newspapers and with radio stations. Include your pet's sex, age, weight, breed, color, and any special markings. To avoid scams, when describing your pet, leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds your pet to describe it.

6. Post to websites. Sites like Craigslist.org, TheCenterForLostPets.com and FidoFinder.com allow you to broadcast your missing pet info quickly. National pet care providers can be hired to assist you in your search for your lost pet.

7. Consider recovery services. There are now numerous lost pet alert services, such as FindToto.com, that will contact homes, veterinarians, shelters and animal control organizations for a reasonable fee.

8. Offer food and water. Your pet may eventually return to your home when they get hungry or thirsty. Consider placing the food in a rented or purchased humane pet trap to capture them.

9. Spread the word.
The more people you alert about your missing pet, the greater the chance someone will recollect seeing your pet in their area.

10.  Stay on it. Keep up your search, solicit help and put out the word right away. Don’t wait a few hours to see if she’ll come home on her own; you need those early hours to put up posters and start your search.

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Lost Cat? 10 Tips to a Safe Return

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Reader Comments

Jeff McAllister    Manchester, MD

2/18/2015 9:20:04 AM

Much of this information is identical to the article I write for CatFancy. I'm a freelance writer and wrote a feature article called Lost and found (A practical guide to finding your lost cat)Much of this article feels lifted from my original article from August 2005.

Cindy    Slippery Rock, PA

2/10/2015 2:56:50 PM

Excellent advice and hopefully it will help. Sometimes it seems that people who loose cats just assume they will come home and they do not go looking or searching for them. Also the micro chipping is taken for granted. The micro chip is only good if someone takes the cat to a vet and has them checked for a micro chip. Most people do not do that when they find a cat.

Jennifer    Rock Hill, SC

8/11/2014 4:38:53 AM

Remember to get your pet micro chipped!!! All the shelters, Vet Offices, And Other Animal locations have the equipment to scan for a microchip and that info is Priceless!!!

Kathy    International

7/30/2014 1:30:54 AM

Your article is excellent. I am a pet sitter & this just happened to one of my clients. She did pretty much everything in this article. And after 5 weeks of living out doors Smokey was found because she had her flier up in a grocery store. Some students saw the cat in a near by shed, called the owner & the two were reunited. Smokey was in remarkably good shape & had only lost 2 or 3 lbs.

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