Here are a few tips to help you find a missing cat and bring him home safely:
- Take a large cardboard box and flip it over. Cut a cat sized hole in the side and place it outdoors with some soft bedding inside. Weight the bottom down and make this a safe place your cat can return to. Place food and water and litter pan nearby.
- The best time to search for a lost cat is when the world is asleep. The best time-frame is around 2:00 a.m. Go out with a flashlight and food. You can take a few cans of cat food with you, stand out in the open and pop the cans, or shake a treat jar. You will be surprised how the sound can travel in the quiet of the morning, and oftentimes your cat will appear within minutes of the first can being opened. Enterprising cat owners have also recorded the sound of their can openers opening a tin of food, and played the tape over and over while looking for their lost cat.
- Make up fliers. Include a picture of your cat and offer a reward as incentive. Post these fliers in grocery stores, at vet offices, feed stores, anywhere you can. Post them at eye level. DO NOT stuff them in mailboxes. You can get into trouble for doing this. Walk your neighborhood with these fliers, put them on telephone poles, and talk to the kids of the neighborhood, the paper boy the UPS driver, the mailman anyone who walks your neighborhood.
- Call the local papers and place a lost cat ad. Call the local radio stations, many of them will run free air spots for lost critters. Call your vet and let the staff know your cat is missing. Tack up a flier at all the vets in your area, and take one over to any rescue shelters nearby. If you have recently moved and brought the cat with you, check out your old address as well.
- Locate a Hav-A-Heart trap and set it in a safe place near your home. You may trap another cat, or perhaps a possum or even a skunk (depending on where you live) but you might also trap your cat.
- If you see a dead animal on the road near your home, remove it with a shovel and take it to the weeds off the road. There have been instances where domestic cats will become curious about road kill and go out to investigate, only to become fatalities themselves.
- Keep a list of everything you do to find your missing cat. Get on cat boards and ask for ideas if nothing seems to be working. There are businesses such as Pet-Detective.com and Sherlockbones.com have great tips on their websites and are available for hire or advice.
- Check your newspaper for the lost and found ads daily.
- Weekends work outside. Putter in your garden, or just sit out near your home, talk in a soft voice, sing, or chatter so if your cat is close she will hear you. If she has a canine friend, bring the dog outside, or take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood to see if the cat will come out and join you.
- Check the trees on your property; if you live near the woods, then the soiled litter is the best attractant for your cat. She will scent her scent over the wild critters and come to the comfort zone she is used to.
- Make a map of where you place your posters and or fliers. Check every 3 days to be sure they are still there. Keep tape, pushpins or thumbtacks, black felt markers and white poster board in your car, so you can make up any that might go missing.
- Go door-to-door with a photo of your cat. Talk to all the inhabitants of the house, kids especially. Past experience has shown that little girls make the best finders of lost cats.
- Keep the hope alive. There are countless stories of people who have lost cats for long periods of time, only to have the animal show up at their door one day.