Most people are heart broken when they lose their pet. The good news is that most of the time, your cat is not lost at all, but hiding in a top secret hiding spot and waiting it out.
Your cat has probably been spooked by something in the environment, OR your inside cat has gotten out, become overwhelmed, and found themselves a nice & dark hiding spot where they feel safe.
The mistake that 98% of people make when they lose their cat is that they wait to see if their cat will come back.
Please do not delay, do not waste time, and DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR CAT. She/he is waiting for you to come and find them.
Most importantly is your cats microchip up to date? Have you moved or changed your phone number since adopting or buying your cat?
I suggest creating an online profile at (instructions how located Resources > Microchip tab)
The Lost and Found Registry function allows members of the public to advise a pet owner they have found their pet via a secure message. By registering your pet’s microchip number, creating a profile and agreeing to be contacted, you can allow anyone who finds your cat or dog to send you a message asking you to contact them.
There are the usual things that you can do to find kitty, like call all the shelters, use social media, look around your yard, etc.
This is my advice:
- The moment your kitty is out, the MOMENT you realise, you MUST get out there and start looking for your cat. Look around the immediate surroundings. Look inside your house. Look in your yard, in your neighbour's yard. Your cat is very probably either in your yard somewhere, or your neighbour’s. It is unlikely that it will wander far in those first critical moments. Get a torch and look at night. Ask your neighbours to keep an eye out, show them the picture of your cat.
- Leave food out for your cat at the exit point. Do this every night, no matter where you think your kitty is.
- Print posters of your cat. Do this immediately. Find a clear picture of your cat, with a large font saying “LOST CAT”
- something that someone that is walking past, or a passing car, can notice. State description of cat and last sighting, and your details. Now this is the most critical point
- PRINT 100 COPIES OF THIS POSTER AND SATURATE YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD WITH IT. Put it on every pole within a 200 metre radius of your house. The posters need to be up straight away, ie, the day that you lose your cat. Put them at the local supermarket, vets, bus stops, major intersections, schools, crossings, train stations…
- Get a humane cat trap. These can be bought for $30-$40 online, or you can hire one from Kennards. Watch some youtube clips on how to set it, practice setting it – then set it in your yard. Do this every night, and keep an eye on it. Apologise to any other cats you accidently trap.
- Do the usual stuff as well – calling shelters, vets. Call them every few days to see if they have picked up your cat. Don’t just call once. Keep calling them.
These things are essential for you to know:
- Your kitty might be able to hear you, but probably will not respond if it is scared. They are surprisingly silent when out in the unknown.
- Most cats break cover at the two week mark because of hunger and thirst, and will start to become more visible. This is when most sightings happen, and when you will start to get calls. You will not get calls if you have not put posters up in your neighbourhood.
- If you are not looking for your cat, and not leaving food out for it – it will start to wander further and further away from the exit point to look for a food source. This is why it is so important to start this process immediately.
- IF the reason for escape is a new pet, like a dog – you must contain that pet, or keep it under close supervision until your old cat is back.
- If you have moved house, or if your inside cat has escaped, it is probably still very close to the exit point. Do not be fooled by its silence and reluctance to respond to you.
- Do not give up on your cat. I have found cats 2 months after they have gone missing. It takes an average of 2-4 weeks to find them, and it all depends on your persistence. If you do nothing, the chances of you finding your cat are about 5%. They usually do not just walk back in the door themselves. Your cat is waiting for you to find them.
- People will tear down your posters. Cat haters, council workers, other posters, etc. Go for walks every few days, and replace your posters. Do this over and over.
You will get news from someone, somewhere.
- Keep going, keep calling, keep putting those posters up… sometimes it takes months. Hopefully it will not, for you.