When discussing whether or not to keep a cat exclusively indoors versus letting a cat roam freely, people usually find themselves firmly divided on the issue. Those that keep their cats indoors believe that is the best way to protect their cats, especially if surrounded by a hostile environment. However, those that believe in letting their cats roam outdoors freely believe that cats need to enjoy their lives, no matter how short.
Regardless, cats that have the option of going outside do not travel far. Cats are territorial animals who enjoy being near their safe space as well as having access to their own food and water. Some cats, not all, seem to have an innate homing instinct that can guide them back home if they venture too far away. However, a scared cat will not trust this inner guide and will get confused and ultimately get lost. Being frightened by menacing humans, barking dogs, and traffic noise, can only make matters worse.
Statistics show that cat owners are less likely than dog owners to find their pets. Based on a survey by the ASPCA, only about 74% of cats are found versus 93% of dogs. For this reason, it’s even more important to act quickly.
If you think your cat has roamed too far, or if your indoor cat has somehow escaped your house, here are 10 ways to find a lost cat.
First, remember that not all cats want to be found. Cats often hide themselves in places you would not even think of looking. However, you need to make a thorough search of your indoors, around your porch, patio and garden. It may help to call the cat’s name as you do so.
- Don’t waste time. If your cat is missing, immediately post photos as well as a description of your cat and its last known location on social media. The more people who are aware, the more likely your cat might be spotted.
- Think like a cat, or better yet, know your cat. Where does your cat usually like to go? Begin inside the house and work outward. Does your cat have a favorite place to hide? While searching, don’t hesitate to ask people about your cat. Make sure you have a photo available to show.
- Let local vets know that your cat is missing, as well as any shelters and rescue groups.
- Leave food and water outside. Your cat may appear again after dark when it feels safer. Searching late at night might be helpful too.
- Leave your cat’s litter box outside. Cats have a keen sense of smell, and if they are disoriented, they might be able to catch the familiar scent of their box which could lead him/her home.
- Ask family and friends to post flyers and spread the word.
- Don’t give up! Cats have returned weeks, months and even years later.
- Get your cat micro-chipped.
- Make sure your cat has your contact information on its quick release collar.