What to Do if Your Cat Goes Missing

When your beloved cat goes missing, it is naturally a very anxious time for all your family, as you ask yourself ‘will my cat come back?’ The not knowing is extremely unsettling and it can be easy to panic and think the worst. However, the best thing you can do initially is to breath, remain optimistic and make a plan to take appropriate action.

According to Cats Protection 2016 statistics, 72% of cats reported missing, were successfully reunited with their owners, so try to focus on a positive outcome, rather than the worst-case scenario.

Can I Avoid Losing My Cat?

Aside from locking your cat in the house, there are some measures you can take to lessen the chances of your cat doing a disappearing act.

The riskiest time for your kitty to go missing is when you introduce your cat to a new home. It’s extremely important for them to gradually become acclimatised, first to their internal surroundings and then to the outside environment. The best way to do this is to, over a period of a few weeks, supervise their time in the garden for short periods, increasing the time slightly each day. When you feel confident that they are coming in when you call them, they will likely be safe to come and go as they please. It is so often the case that missing cats have escaped out of open windows after moving to a new house, so be sure to secure any potential exits.

There is one important thing you can do to prepare for this possible situation, and that is to ensure your cat is microchipped and that the information stored on the microchip is kept up to date. Although this won’t avoid you losing your cat, it will vastly increase your chances of being reunited if your cat does go missing.

How to Find a Missing Cat

Before you frantically search and call for your cat, it is useful to take a breath, sit down and make a rough plan of action.  Here are some practical actions steps to follow, the moment you realise your cat may be missing:

  1. Inside Search

The first step is to thoroughly check your whole house, open up cupboards and wardrobes in each room, anywhere your cat may potentially find a cosy place to sleep.

  1. Check Outside

Rattle the cat biscuit tin a few times in case your cat is simply out exploring. Check any outdoor building – sheds, garages, greenhouses etc.

  1. Speak to Neighbours

Visit each neighbour which surround your house, i.e. including any in another street which back onto your garden. Ask if they have seen your cat today and with their permission, check their garden and outdoor buildings.

  1. Contact Local Vets

When stray cats are found, they are often taken to the nearest veterinary practice. If your cat has been missing for more than a day, it might be a good next step to contact all of your local practices, not just the one your pet is registered with. Most practices have a standard process for this and will take your details and description of your pet.  They will check to see if your cat meets the description of any cats already handed in and if not they will contact you if a possible match is found.

If a stray cat is handed into a veterinary practice, the first thing they will do it check it for a microchip. If a microchip can’t be found, they will usually promote it on their social media and liaise with cat rescue centers or veterinary practices.

  1. Contact Rescue Centers

Like veterinary practices, these can be the first place a found cat might be taken to. Contact local centers and give as much detail as possible. They will also likely promote this on their social media platforms.

  1. Utilise Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, often have specific groups for posting about lost and found pets and there will also be local community or for sale groups which can be used. Add yourself to these groups and post in them. For best results, post a clear photo of your kitty,  full description and ask other’s in the group to share your post.

  1. Use Flyers and Posters

Make some adverts with a picture of your kitty, description, where they were last seen and your contact details. You could put these up around your local area or post them directly to surrounding homes.

  1. Lost and Found Adverts

Check online and in your local paper, in the lost and found section.

  1. Online Databases

There are a few online resources you can use to help reunite you with your missing cat; Animal Search UK, The National Pet Register and CatAware.

  1. Don’t Give Up

In many cases, cats can go missing for a number of days or even weeks and still return home. There are some cases where cats have been shut in a neighbours garage while the owners were away on holiday and other’s where families have been reunited after a year or more! In these cases, it is usually due to the cat being found and not reported until the cat requires veterinary treatment.

Keep the faith and exhaust all the possibilities.

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