Lost cat: What if your beloved pet runs away?

11 December 2020

Do you know what are the first things to do in order to find your missing cat when disaster strikes?

lost cat reasons and solutions

How often do we hear stories about a missing cat? If your cat ever runs away, you might not be calm enough to devise the best strategy to search for it and find it. Luckily, we did that for you and with our tips and a little luck, your cat will be back home in no time.

It is a feeling every owner of outdoor-loving cats know: It’s getting late, the sun is starting to set and still no sign of kitty. Is everything alright? Normally, we think cats have a really good sense of direction. But in this case, you can’t help but wondering: Is kitty coming back?

Usually, a few moments before you start to panic, your feline friend comes strolling around the corner and everything is just fine. But sometimes it doesn’t – and then what?

Why do cats go missing? 4 most common reasons

Cats are curious by nature and it’s pretty common that they are often left outside. When they’re busy exploring, they roam wherever their paws take them. Usually, their excellent sense of smell takes them right back home when they want to go back. So why do cats still go missing sometimes?

A new exciting smell, a mouse, a leaf, another cat. Some things make your cat forget everything around it and just wander off. Sometimes, this curiosity can take it outside of its usual territory and despite its sensitive nose, kitty just can’t find its way back.
Unforeseen obstacles:
If your cat is not the shy type, it might go exploring through open windows or cellar doors. And these paths will sometimes unexpectedly close, leaving your cat without a clear way back home.
Panic reaction:
Sometimes an unfamiliar noise or uncommon excitement can cause kitty to get scared and simply run. A panicked cat will only stop running when it is at a safe distance to whatever caused its fear and after it has calmed down a little. Suddenly, it might find itself in unfamiliar surroundings not knowing which way it came.
By far the least common reason for cats to go missing is that they don’t like it there, at home. This usually only happens after some grave change has taken place. Examples can include a new family member, renovation work, your teenager’s new loud hobby or even moving to a new home. All these things, that exemplify far-fetching changes in a cat’s everyday life might be causes of feline unhappiness. In most of these cases, cats will come back after a few days to check if things are back to normal.

When should I start searching?

Every cat has different outdoor habits. As its owner, you will probably know best at what point to start searching. It’s very important to try and stay calm. Here’s an overview of cause and consequence action that can help you make a smart decision.

Here are a few questions that help you avoid panic

Ask yourself this:Do this:
Does your cat often stay out at night?Then try not to worry until morning.
Does your cat usually only stay out for a couple of hours at a time?Add an extra two hours to its usual time and then start searching.
Has your cat never missed its punctually served dinner?Call a search party ten minutes past dinner time.

missing cat tips and solutions

4 easy steps on how to find your missing cat

Again, depending on your feline’s individual habits, the best way to search for your missing cat can vary. We have some general tips which are helpful for everyone looking for their cat.

1. Search carefully

A scared cat won’t come out of its hiding place even if it hears you calling for it. As long as it’s still frightened, simple background noise or the sound of passing cars might keep your cat frozen in place.

Therefore, the best time to search is during the early hours of the morning when it is still quiet outside.

Take your cat’s favourite rustling treats with you and roam the neighbourhood, calling his or her name.

Good to know: Walk slowly and take frequent breaks from calling out, so that kitty has a chance to call back.

2. Put up posters

If there is still no sight of your cat after your first nocturnal search, put up posters. An effective poster should include:

  • a high-resolution photo of your cat
  • a physical description with the gender, hair length, patterns of the cat, breed
  • when and where your cat was last seen
  • a phone number to report any clues

When putting up the posters, remember: Cats go farther than we sometimes think. Also include nearby stops of public transport to make sure as many people as possible see your poster.

3. Contact local veterinarians

In case your cat got injured and someone took care of it, it would be a good idea to check at the local vets as well. Call veterinarians and ask if they are currently treating a cat matching your description. Even if they aren’t, this way, they will be aware of your missing cat for the future.

4. Use social media

Post your cat’s picture and description on various social networks and ask your friends to keep an eye out. On most social media platforms, there are specific groups or lists for lost/found animals in specific regions. Also check animal shelters in your area, since very often they also post their newest foundlings online.

More tips for searching for your cat

The following video illustrates more tips and tricks on how to search successfully for your cat. Enjoy!

The best prevention to avoid losing your cat

Here is some final advice, to prevent your cat from running away out of fear or curiosity.

You can:

  • Cat-proof your garden to make sure it stays within the confines of your fence.
  • Make small changes where possible. If your cat keeps running away out of discontent, try to find out what upsets it so much.
  • You can also help an unhappy feline by using an electrical pheromone plug in your home.
  • Treating it with stress-reducing remedies can be another option. Your veterinarian or local pharmacist can help you choose what’s right for your cat.
  • Keep an eye on your cat in real-time with Tractive CAT Tracker: easy to use, light and conveniently set directly on your smartphone.

Don’t forget: should your cat go missing, the most important thing is not to give up. Most of the time, you will be reunited with your favorite feline in no time!

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