Have you ever lost or missed your cat for hours? If so, you know how terrified, helpless, and worried this can make you feel. You want to find your lost cat immediately. You don’t know if he is just hiding in the garden, has gone to explore the surroundings, or if he has encountered a predator.
Often the first reaction is to search for your cat without a certain action plan. We walk around the neighborhood calling out the name of our furry friend, we spend many hours searching and using methods that most likely will not work.
There are also those who decide to wait a few days to see if their cat returns home. This is perhaps the worst decision you can make. The longer it has been since the cat disappeared, the more it could wander away and the more danger it will be exposed to.
In this article I will give you a series of tips on how to find a lost cat, they are not infallible but in many cases they have worked.
Two measures for your cat to be identified
Before tackling the loss of a cat, you need to take into account some preventive measures that you should take before this happens.
That your cat has a microchip . It is a safe and inexpensive way to protect your cat. Your cat will be identified through the scanner’s identification code. Your cat may have a collar, but these can be easily removed and the ID cards they carry. But the microchips, which are about the size and shape of a grain of rice, remain safe under your cat’s skin.
Keep a current photograph of your cat handy . Make it full-bodied so that the cat can be identified with the help of this photo if the need arises.
What not to do when your cat is lost
Scare you when the lost cat does not return
First, don’t be negative, think that your cat may be sleeping in a room, hiding at home in a closet or exploring in the neighbor’s yard. However, if many hours pass and your cat has not come to eat, we must think that something strange is happening.
From now on, taking positive steps to find your cat will improve your chances of finding him, but it will also channel your energies and focus his thoughts, freeing you from panic. In the case of your stray cat, you will be the first responsible, probably, and the main emergency manager. Following the steps outlined here, as best you can, will help you minimize or avoid that paralyzing feeling of panic.
Don’t wait too long to start looking
Not everyone agrees on this. When you start looking, you may find someone who will advise you that you should wait. People will tell you stories of lost cats that came home after a few days, weeks, and even years . It is true that some return home alone after an unexplained absence. But, looking through years of case records of hundreds of missing cats, only about twenty percent of missing cats return.
Another five percent of the cats are hiding in the house, they have never left. You must exclude this possibility before dedicating time and effort to its search.
Once the possibility of his being at home is ruled out, act immediately, as when there are missing persons, the first 24 hours are paramount.
Don’t believe everything people tell you
When you start talking to your neighbors, it is very common for them to tell you that a predator killed your cat. This is unlikely, even if it does happen from time to time. Of the more than 1,000 carefully documented cases of missing cats, less than three percent were found to have been killed by predators. When distraught people hear stories of pets being killed by predators and believe there is no hope, they stop searching. Death by a predator can become a self-fulfilling prophecy when the cat owner stops searching and leaves the cat exposed to predation much longer than necessary.
Another source of information that I cannot recommend is that which can be provided by pet psychics or animal communicators and pet detectives. This is common in countries like the United States, fortunately in Spain it is not.
Don’t call your lost cat by name
It’s probably too late with this advice. By the time you read this, you’ve probably already called your cat. Sometimes it works. However, if it doesn’t work, calling the cat by its name could make the situation worse.
The reason you shouldn’t call your cat by name is related to predator / prey relationships. When your cat is displaced from its territory by some traumatic event, such as a cat fight, being hit by a car, or being chased by a dog, it will probably act like a prey animal, trying to avoid the attention of predators.
We have all seen our cats act as predators when they chase a laser pointer or bring us the remains of a mouse. Cats instinctively know that they can become prey too. When your cat is hiding silently, avoiding real or imagined predators, the last thing he wants is for you to focus your attention on him.
When you speak its name, it may instinctively consider that you are pointing it out to any predator in the area. Although he wants to be with you, his fear of predators will outweigh his urge to go home, in most cases.
Instead of calling your cat by name, try talking to yourself in a casual tone of voice. You should sound calm, so your cat can be relaxed. Our pets sense our state of mind. Some people want to express to their cats how desperate they are to have them at home, but this should not be the message your cat receives.
Other things you can do is make a noise with his food bowl, make it ring once or twice a minute. You can also wrinkle and make noise with the treats you use as a treat. This will create a familiar sound that your cat could associate with mealtime or treats.
Don’t give up on the search
If the cat does not appear on those days when we are trying everything imaginable, it is very likely that we will not continue the search. Perhaps we are too busy, or it can be too stressful to always be in crisis mode while searching for a lost cat. In at least 15 percent of lost cat cases it took more than three weeks to finally find the cat. Those cats were found because the owners kept searching. The rate of cats returning to their owners could increase dramatically if cat owners could have the patience and resolve to continue the search in a sensible way. Due to the way cats behave when frightened or lost, it is not at all unlikely that a stray cat will be found weeks or months later.
Tips to follow in the search for your lost cat
There are more than a dozen typical ways for a cat to return home. You want your cat to have the best chance of being found. The actions listed below are best followed in the order I indicate. You can skip a step or rearrange the order if the details of your case justify a different approach.
However, I advise you not to skip a step if you simply do not like the suggestion or if you think it would not be useful. Many people are skeptical of some of these methods until they witness their effectiveness in person. Also, keep in mind that each particular step, by itself, is unlikely to be the key to getting your cat home. Following all or as many of the steps as possible will greatly increase your chances of finding your cat. These steps are guaranteed not to work if you don’t try them.
Top 10 Tips for Finding Stray Cats
1) Not all cats when we can’t find them are lost. Cats are known to hide in impossible places. Before assuming the cat is missing, do a thorough search indoors, around the porch, garage, and patios with a flashlight and the treats that it loves best. If a cat is injured, trapped, or very stressed, it may not respond to your calls, but it improves the chances of finding it.
2) Don’t waste time. If you know for sure that your cat is missing, take your phone with the photo of your cat, flashlight, sweets and go looking for it. Wear comfortable clothing and comfortable soft-soled shoes. Breathe, try to stay calm, and think like a cat. If you were a cat, where would you go? It starts around your house and the immediate neighbors. Where does your cat normally go? What is the most likely escape route? What are your favorite shrubs or hiding places? Could something have happened recently to scare them?
3) As you search, ask pedestrians, knock on neighbors’ doors and show the photo. Ask if they can check your garage, sheds, under the porch. To save time, multitask during the search: leave a sign at the vet, in shelters.
4) When you return home, leave food and water outside near the door or where it usually enters the house. Fearful cats often sneak out after dark. You can leave a baby monitor near food, perhaps you can detect weak meows. You can also place a cage trap, the kind that do not cause any danger to the animal. Be prepared, you can catch a bird or another cat. Try to get some rest. Leaving no stone unturned to find your cat, you need energy.
5) Make posters with the picture of the cat. It doesn’t have to be perfect with a great design, but make sure the words “Lost Cat Wanted” are large enough to be visible from a passing vehicle or pedestrian. Luckily, most of us have a million photos of our cats. Choose a large close-up that shows details of the face and another photo that shows the whole body, ideally standing. Color photos are preferable, especially if your cat has a unique color or markings. Copies printed on neon glowing paper look best. Includes: cat’s name, its description, any special identification marks or collar, your phone and email,
6) Get help from family and friends to put up the posters and spread the word. The best places to post are street intersection posts, bulletin boards in grocery stores, libraries.
7) Use social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Ask everyone to share.
8) Visit all the local shelters.
9) If you recently moved, extend your search to your old neighborhood.
10) Persevere! The cats have returned weeks and months later. Keep asking the neighbors if they noticed anything. Keep signs up to date with the headline “Missing Cat Still Missing.
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