Are you trying to find your lost cat and wondering what to do? Many cat owners have been there, and they understand how it feels to lose a cat and reuniting with it.
Even though it’s important to take steps to raise local awareness of your lost cat, regardless of the species, hitting the road to search for your lost cat involves a different formula from that of the dog. It all narrows down to behavior. A lost cat acts differently from a lost dog.
Here is a list of actionable tips that will help recover your lost kitty. Other cat owners have attributed to these tips as the methods that helped bring their furry friends back home. They are worth giving a shot!
1st Tip: Focus your Efforts on the Last Known Location of your Lost Cat
A lost cat usually stays within a 3-5 mile radius from your home, especially if it’s an indoor cat that got one chance to go out. However, both indoor and outdoor cats typically stay close to their owners’ homes.
When out in an unknown territory, which is the outside of your home, an indoor cat tends to remain quiet and fearful and stays in its hiding place. They don’t get out even after the owner calls them.
Do a thorough check on any hiding places within your home. Under the furniture, in drawers, closets, on top of cabinets, etc. are some of the places a cat can hide. If you don’t find your cat in any of those places, proceed to yours and immediate neighbors’ yards. Check in the bushes and trees, high walled courtyards, crawlspaces under the houses, and the decks.
Also, check the nearby sheds, garages, and abandoned buildings. You should be aware that your cat may have been trapped somewhere and unable to free itself, so check any nearby enclosed space you can think of.
2nd Tip: Search for your Missing Cat when Everyone is Asleep
A scared or shy cat is likely to reveal itself when the environment is quiet. This might be late at night, at 2:30pm or later, or early in the morning before 6:30.
Armed with a few cans of your cat’s favorite food, and a flashlight, stand out in the open and open them. The smellier the food, the better. You can also shake the cat’s treat jar to attract her.
Calling out the kitty’s name has worked for some owners, while others recommend using your normal voice when calling. Regardless of your desired option, keep calm and don’t use a frantic tone as it’s likely to scare the cat even more.
If you have a feeding routine, your cat may be aware of it, and you should repeat it while searching in your area. For instance, if your cat is used to eating a can of food every night, grab it, and a spoon. Move around the area tapping the can with the spoon while calling the cat.
Searching for your cat when the environment is dark and quiet has one more advantage. Calling out the kitty’s name while shaking the jar will be more audible to your cat at that time of the night. You’ll be the luckiest person when your cat comes running to quench its hunger. She misses you too!
3rd Tip: Use the Power of Scent
This works for both dogs and cats. A cat’s nose, though, is stronger than the dog’s and human’s. That’s why scent can be a powerful tool to help recover your lost cat.
Put out her beddings and toys in your backyard. You can also leave a piece of your unwashed clothing. You can also place a plate of smelly cat food.
You can also sprinkle the cat’s poop in and around your yard to emit a strong scent that can attract the cat. Ignore the smell if you want your cat to come back home. If you feel this is gross, leave the whole litter box in the yard. The scent might fill the air, but it’s for the right course.
A cat has a high sense of smell, and familiar smells can guide it back home. If you are fortunate enough, your cat will meow at your doorstep before you sleep.
4th Tip: Put some Food and Water at your Backyard
Every animal needs water and food for survival. After roaming in its little world, your kitty will start looking for food and water. The latter can easily be found in pools and water drainages. Cats are known to survive days without a drop of water and last weeks without a single bite.
When preparing the food, consider using the stinkiest foods like tuna, sardines, or other foods with outstanding aromas.
Consider setting up a wildlife camera facing your yard where you put the food and water. The camera might capture your cat’s image and other cats too, which can be a strong clue that the cat is probably hiding somewhere not far away.
5th Tip: Build and All-Weather Outdoor Shelter
There are many all-weather materials that you can use to build an outdoor shelter for your cat. Some of the easily accessible materials are plastic storage containers or Styrofoam coolers. You can cut an entrance hole for your cat. This will attract it and serve as a safe hiding place.
Ensure the shelter is secured to prevent predators and snakes from accessing your kitty’s favorite chill spot. Place it on a porch or under the deck of your house. If you own a garage, leave the door crack open and place the shelter inside.
Fill the shelter with clean straw or shredded paper whenever it's cold. Don’t use blankets since they might retain moisture and cause your cat to suffer from hypothermia. During warm weather, lay down a cardboard box as the beddings.
6th Tip: Use a Humane Cat Trap
Humane cat traps are better options for catching extremely shy or skittish cats. You can borrow or rent them from animal control or cat rescues. If possible, contact a local animal control expert, a TNR program, or cat rescue. Sometimes they may be willing to offer more than the advice you were looking for and help you set up the humane cat traps, probably at a small fee or charging nothing at all.
7th Tip: Giving Up? Don’t Even Think of It!
Many times, pet owners give up on their lost cats because they assume a predator has killed them, and they give up searching. Contrary to popular belief, cats are survivors, and it's rare for them to get harmed, thus the narrative, “a cat with its nine lives!”
It’s very likely that your cat is terrified and is hiding near your home. We’ve witnessed cases of cats going missing for weeks or months and were found hiding a short distance from home.
So keep searching and don’t hang your boots yet. If you feel discouraged, read stories from people who lost their cats only to reunite with them after some months. Their stories will make your heart melt, encourage, and give you hope! Never give up! Keep on looking despite the discouragement from other people who mean a lot to you.
Wrapping it Up!
Now that you have read the seven tips to help you find your lost cat, perhaps you should consider tagging your cat with a Lost Paw NFC pet ID tag. This tag is usually attached to your cat’s collar, and in case it goes missing, a rescuer can scan the tag, get your details, and send you a message notification. You no longer have to worry about losing your cat. If you have any questions, kindly shoot us an email.