If your cat has managed to sneak out and is lost, here are some tips for how best to search for them.
- Make a flyer. Make sure you have a good, color picture of your pet for posters. Pictures of the cat in black-and-white, or in a group of other animals, or from far away will not help strangers identify the pet. The picture should be up close, show the cat’s full body, and show off any unusual color patterns on the cat. If the cat has any unusual physical traits, make sure to list them! Even if they show up in your photo, call attention to them in writing. Cat has a bobtail? Crooked paw? Ear tip? Let people know what to look for so they can tell your cat from someone else’s.
- Post your flyers liberally! Cats roam far, so the more flyers you put out in visible areas, the better your chances are of putting them in the right places.
- Call local shelters. Let them know your cat is missing, and drop off flyers with them. If your cat has a microchip, make sure to let the shelter know the ID number.
- Don’t just call the shelters, visit them. Shelters are often too overwhelmed to remember that you came in the week or month before and told them about your missing cat – you’ll have to do the footwork. Visit your shelter as often as you’re able to see if your pet has been turned in.
- Check with neighbors. Cats can get stuck in neighbor’s garages or sheds, or may even have found themselves a “new home” with someone down the street. Knock on doors, meet new neighbors, and give them a flyer so they can help you look.
- Let the microchip company know. If your cat has a chip, call the company that the chip is registered to and let them know your cat is missing. Make sure all your contact information is up-to-date, so they can reach you if somebody reports your cat.
- List your cat on social media sites – and have your friends and local shelters do the same. Let people know the date the cat went missing, and the area the cat was last seen in.
- Finally, when you find your cat, tell everyone! Take down your flyers and let the shelters and friends you contacted know the cat has been found, so they can stop looking.
Remember, the best chance you have to find a lost pet is to microchip them! A microchip will keep them safe at a municipal shelter, and will help the cat find their way back to you.